Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 12, 2004
Office Help Mates
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 12, 2004 – Whether you have an office at home or at another location, you probably bear some responsibility for its upkeep. Okay, perhaps not washing the windows or getting out the old Hoover – but what about the state of your desk, book shelves, credenza and filing cabinets?
I have worked from a home office for many years and I recently moved my office to a smaller room in the house. I have less space in my new quarters, but it’s now extremely well organized. In my old office I tended to accumulate clutter on a side table. ‘Stuff’ I didn’t really need. I would look at that pile and vow to get at it the very next day!
When I made the decision to move my office, I knew it would mean a paring down of furniture, excess papers , articles, books, collectibles and pictures. With a burst of enthusiasm I attacked the task. I put down new broadloom and bought a lovely area rug with tones of blue, cream and taupe. The rug actually ended up being the centrepiece from which I picked the new paint colours.
My office is at the back of the house so I decided not to have curtains or blinds on the west facing window. I get wonderful natural light and have a view of the garden and trees outside. I hung two glass witch traps in the window. These are exquisite, hand blown clear glass balls with bubbles and veins inside. The thinking in England in the 1800’s was that evil spirits and witches would be drawn to the beauty of the glass ornaments, try to pass through the window and be caught in the intricate veins and bubbles inside the ball. These add a welcome touch of whimsey to my work space.
My next order of business was to paint my work table blue to match my filing cabinet and rug. That done, I added two wall-mounted steel mesh shelves, a side table and my computer to the room. Voila – an exceptional work area. I can sit on my office swivel chair and reach anything I need. How very excellent is that? I hung beautiful pictures on the walls, then added a few of my favourite nick-knacks – an office lamp and of course photos of my beautiful pets! The finishing touch was a CD player. I always have classical music playing in the background when I write or work.
Now the fun part was actually getting organized. Tossing out the old to make way for a new era. I was ruthless! Things that had served no purpose for a year – gone. Papers that I thought I might need someday – gone. Old books and outdated telephone books, pens, papers, business cards and binders – gone.
In their place – I introduced coloured file folders and holders, colour-coded client binders and wonderful wicker baskets that fit under my work table to store office supplies. I am eternally grateful to whoever invented coloured file folders, liquid gel pens, post-it notes, staplers and staple removers, 3 hole punches, 3 ring binders, pop up paper clip holders, clip-on lamps, manila envelopes, fax machines, home computers and printers and cell phones. Then the coup de gras for me – “E-Mail”. Whatever did I do without it?
So get out your favourite mug – make yourself a great cup of coffee or tea (perhaps a belt of good Scotch if the task of office mending seems insurmountable) and take a moment to survey your domain. Think about the space and how you can streamline or improve it. Once you have re-organized, your efficiency and attitude about work can’t help but improve.
If you’re at all like me you’ll be eternally thankful that you took the time to de-junk your work space, and appreciative of all the office help-mates that are available to make your tasks easier and more enjoyable. It’s also a terrific way to start the new year – and guaranteed – you will be more productive – no matter what you are working on!