Does your work space work?

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure,
not this thing nor that, but simply growth.
– W.B. Yeats

RubberDuckysKeyboardWhen was the last time you audited your environment?

Never mind all those articles you’ve read about creating an effective creative space. We’re writers; one size never fits all. It’s part of our charm; we’re quirky.

To figure out whether or not you need to update your workspace, you only need to ask yourself how well do your surroundings bring out the best in you?

Are you surrounded with items that inspire you or help you produce?

Or are you just used to having them there?

As I’ve made room for wedding gifts and honeymoon souvenirs, it’s occurred to me that I have a lot of stuff that doesn’t bring me joy anymore; it’s just there. I don’t even think about them anymore. Sound familiar?

On one shelf, there’s a birthday gift I’ve kept for over 20 years out of obligation to the one who gave it to me. Tucked away in a drawer is a collection of Happy Meal action figures of characters whose lines one inspired me but no longer resonate. Post cards of far-off locations that no longer make me wish I was there.

These things don’t have purpose anymore, I’ve just gotten used to them.

Now, I’m constantly trying to clean out my office and reclaim my writer’s space. But my previous efforts never fixed the fundamental problems because I didn’t know what it was: ignoring stuff because I was used to it.

My office has not kept up with my personal and professional growth. Therefore, it no longer makes me happy or inspires me to create.

I can see this trend as I look around my entire home, and over the past few weeks, I’ve systematically been purging these types of items. Kinda like mowing the foothills before tackling Mt. Everest. And with every box I take to Goodwill, I physically feel lighter and more inspired.

I even cleaned out my rubber ducky collection; I’m down to 20.

In the fast pace of life, with its constant distractions and endless To Do lists, it’s too easy to collect and ignore things that no longer serve a purpose. It’s easy to ignore these things. Work around them. Get along and figure we’ll deal with them later, “when I have time.”

There’s always something else that take priority.

This weekend, I take on my office. It’s my priority.

No distractions. No excuses. I have the boxes. I have the time. I have a Sweetie who’s willing to help me make some hard decisions, which I’ll have to make when it comes to cleaning out my books (I’m out of room). And I know I still have two piles of books that I keep losing and refinding.

Items that are no longer relevant, useful, joyful or inspirational will be donated. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What about you? Is it time to audit your work space? How do you keep it inspirational (or at least functional)? Share your tips in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Does your work space work?”

  1. Hi Erica,
    Wow, books and duckies? You are serious. I hope you find a good home for the ducks, Goodwill is no place for a duck. It is true that physical clutter can equate to mental clutter and getting rid of some of it can spark new creativity (and joy).

    1. Hi Peter,

      There’s clutter and then there’s stuff you don’t even see anymore because it’s almost become part of your office’s architecture. 😉

  2. Auditing my work and life space brings a sense of freedom, but I don’t do either as often as I should. In my office, I stand back and ask “what does this space look like to a visitor?” In my life space, I try to get rid of things that, like you said, don’t bring me joy anymore, or things I haven’t used in a certain amount of time. Good post!

    1. Thanks! I’d be surprised if anyone does this as often as they should. It’s so much easier to do other things that we consider higher priority.

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