Principles for a Productive Environment

By: Lila Norden

A productive environment is a setting in which everything around you supports your goals and who you want to be. Logically, a productive environment must be one that is well-organized.

Every increase in your ability to organize increases your success potential. This is true for several reasons, including the fact that being organized involves the same principles necessary for success: having clear intentions, making a workable plan, and following through by taking specific action.

Let's start with clear intentions. A cluttered environment is less productive that an orderly one, and reflects a general absence of deliberate thoughts and actions. To enjoy the benefits of working and living in a productive environment that is well-organized, you must first have a clear intentions.

To arrive at clear intentions, start thinking broadly about how you want your life to be. It's amazing how many people just blunder forward without deliberating such a basic question as, "How do I want to live my life?" Do you want to experience affluence, adventure, creativity? What are your highest values?

Take some time to get clear; when you have a vision for your life in place, it is easier to see the value of being organized, of having an intentional environment.

Next, make a plan for creating your productive environment. The biggest organizational problem for most people is paper. Here's a tip: there are only three possible choices with respect to papers: file them, act on them, or toss them. Clutter is postponed decisions.

With papers, make one of the three choices (with a heavy emphasis on tossing them out). With other areas needing organization, evaluate the following: what are the obstacles, what are my resources, what is a specific plan I could I develop?

For example: a desk in your office is acting as a shelf instead of workspace because it is covered with electronics, catalogues, workshop notes, and a proto-type of your latest idea for a widget.
* Obstacles? Some possibilities: making the time to sort; forming decisions about what to keep; arranging a space to store the what gets kept.
* Resources? Some possibilities: hire an organizer; buy some stackable storage bins for the electronics or shelves for the notebooks.
* Plan? Some possibilities: mark out a morning on your calendar to deal with it, and then stick to it as if your appointment were with a client; take one element at a time, and clear the desk gradually, but daily.

What you do on a daily basis separates success from failure - in any area of your life.

The final principle for a productive environment is follow-through: implement your organizational plan, which should include a system for maintenance, so that your environment remains productive over time.

Part of implementing the plan is selecting the right organizational tool, for example your calendar or scheduler. There are myriad choices, from electronics to paper. There is no perfect calendar for everyone, so you have to decide what you need your calendar to do for you, and select one that fits your needs.

For any organizational issue - time, space, or other - decide the job needing done, plan a system for maintenance, then select the most appropriate tool.

Another part of implementing the plan is identifying consequences for whether you follow through or not. Define positive consequences (rewards or celebrations) and negative consequences (the price).

Successful people follow-through, which brings us round to this initial remark: Every increase in your ability to organize increases your success potential. Give yourself the gift of working toward your goals from an environment that supports you - a productive environment.

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Lila Norden combines 14 years experience in education and consulting to offer valuable information, helping you make decisions about your education and career. Visit the web site FB Career for additional articles and resources.

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