We had friends around at the weekend and at one point the conversation turned to his office and how he was frustrated with it.
That frustration was initially expressed as a lack of daylight (he works with his back to the window).
We pulled up Abobe Ideas on the iPad and sketched out his currently layout, identified a much larger list of issues and then made the following change suggestions:
His desk was modelled on the traditional idea of facing the door. Which is great, except that it put his primary work surface (and a chunk of wood)between him and his guests in room.
Personally I prefer not to do this, when I meet people I turn around and we work face to face with nothing between us.
Removing that requirement meant that he could change his layout and have the desk facing out the window. Making sure that the glare from the sun would not cause an issue with his monitor. Working Files That also produced a bonus - his working files are on shelves high up (good) but currently not reachable by him when working (bad).
The new layout means he can reach up while sitting and get what he needs. That is much better as it allows him to move all working files off his desk.
Next was the meeting table, currently a dumping ground. As well as that his extensive shelves also enable him to function as another area for medium term file storage. However the presence of numerous files relating to non-current projects inhibits him from clearing the room.
Decisions On What Stuff Is
He now has a task to work through each file, wherever it is, and do 2 things.
Firstly make a decision on what it is:
- Current actionable project belonging to him
- Current actionable project belonging to someone else
- Project for the future
- Reference material to be either stored or read.
Next get rid of all the stuff that belongs to someone else, is a future project (making a note of it) or is reference material.
Finally be clear on everything that remains of what the next action is - in Getting Things Done (GTD) terms each action needs to contain a verb and so can be immediately done if required.
We did not go anywhere near an actual system for recording all of his projects and actions. The above chunk of work will take him a chunk of time to implement and in itself will give him an enormous mental boost.
Once that has happened I will introduce the next stage of GTD implementation to him ;)