Your Physical Workspace: How to be Organized, Efficient, and Comfortable

The space we inhabit affects us more than we might imagine. It is the place where our best ideas and work come to fruition. It is also the place where we spend most of our waking hours. If we don’t feel comfortable, we may not be as productive as we would otherwise be. At the very least, we owe it to ourselves to work in an environment that brings out the best in us and in which we are at ease.

This space may not just be in your office– it can also be at home. Both at home and in the office, you can make that space work for you and practical for the work you want to accomplish. At the office, you may have less control over the matter, since you’ve probably been assigned a specific location. Although its physical location might not be your choice, you can always make your work area yours by taking some simple actions.

[Photo: Gabriel Breaudry/Unsplash]

[Photo: Gabriel Breaudry/Unsplash]

At home, it’s much easier. You can even select the best spot for your office. Do you have a special place where you have noticed you do your most brilliant work? Set it up so you can enjoy your surroundings as much as the work you do.


Make it your space: what represents you? Your desk is not your home, and especially at the office, it does have to look professional, but you can always make it your own. Some things that might make you feel more at home and show what matters to you are:

  • Pictures of your family and friends

  • Books you like to read

  • Objects that represent your hobbies, such as sports or artwork

  • Volunteer activities that you participate in

  • Awards you have received in the past

  • Mementos from your travels

You can use your office as a showcase, setting it up in a way that when someone comes to see you, they know who you are and what you are about.

[Photo: Plush Design Studio/Unsplash]

[Photo: Plush Design Studio/Unsplash]

Make it Work for You

It’s important for your space to be as functional as possible. Given the desk/office space that you have, find out the best possible configuration for you.

  • Proximity: Make sure you have the items you use the most close by (e.g., pens, paper, charger.)

  • Storage: Think about what should be kept in your drawers and if you need filing cabinets.

  • Office supplies: Pens and pencils can be stored in a drawer, in a pencil holder, or both. Take into consideration other supplies, such as staplers, dry-erase markers, and paper clips. What is your favorite type of pen? Do you need pens for your visitors? Have those readily available. If you like having a notebook around or loose paper for notes, consider those as well. Find out how you can best organize all your necessary office supplies.

  • Computer: Determine the best location for your computer monitor. Also, find the best setup for your computer: some people like to work with a laptop and a separate screen, while others are fine with just a laptop. My preference is a desktop with two screens for better efficiency and viewability.

  • Telephone: If you have an office phone, what is the best place for it? Consider the same question for your cell phone.

  • Lighting: Do you need better lighting? Some people like having a lamp in their workspace for more individualized lighting, while some benefit from the overhead lighting alone.

  • Business cards: Where are your business cards best kept? Some people prefer keeping a display on their desk, while others carry a stack with them at all times—it all depends on your business and the amount of time you spend on the road.

[Photo: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash]

[Photo: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash]

Keep it Tidy

Everybody has a system for how organized they like their space to be. I prefer my office to be tidy, while others don’t mind it a bit messier. Even for those with a different preference, having nothing but what is necessary is important because at the very least you don’t waste time looking through files and objects that are no longer useful.

It’s often surprising how quickly time flies, and suddenly in the space of a year, some of the documents and supplies we keep in our desks may no longer be relevant. Look at your desk for:

  • Office supplies that no longer work or you no longer need

  • Old business cards (yours or others’)

  • Technology that needs to be upgraded

  • Outdated documents that no longer serve a purpose

Also, find those tasks you have been meaning to do around your desk and haven’t gotten around to completing. Maybe there are a couple of diplomas or paintings you haven’t yet hung, or perhaps you haven’t bought a frame for your children’s pictures (I’m writing this from experience). There may be documents or objects that you haven’t found a place for and are just piling up. Make the time to get these tasks done.

Finally, to make sure this is not a one-time event, set a reminder or task on your project management app that will show up every year, reminding you to clean up once a year. Keeping your workspace area updated will happen if you make the space for it. You will feel proud and comfortable in your space for the coming year.


Pamela Ayuso is an author and the co-founder and CEO of Celaque. She is a real estate entrepreneur and developer who has executive leadership experience in two of the most successful real estate developers in Honduras — managing operations at Alianza and leading Celaque. Celaque develops office and residential buildings and manages a broad portfolio of properties. Pamela’s focus is on growing Celaque into a model for the 21st-century company.

In addition to her role as CEO at Celaque, Pamela is the author of Amazon best-selling book, Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century. She offers practical business and personal development insights for other entrepreneurs and business leaders on her blog and LinkedIn. Her husband and her three wonderful daughters inspired the story of her first children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural.       

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