One book, four white walls and a plant. What else does one need? Minimalism, a lifestyle surrounded by misunderstandings. No wonder, since there are at least as many different ways to go about it. What they do all share is a mindset: wanting to be free. Free of stress, worries and being overwhelmed. The idea is to declutter your physical space in order to declutter your mental space. What better place to start implementing this than in your office? Some ideas on how to create a minimalist workspace.
The minimalist mindset
You don’t have to toss out every earthly possession to start decluttering your office. The goal is not to own nothing, the goal is to not be owned by things. Be conscious that stuff is stuff and things can be replaced. The “you never know”-attitude can make you pile up belongings rapidly. Look around, what do you really use? What have you kept around just in case? What do you store because you just don’t know what else to do with it? Time to get a garbage bag out.
One trend that is making minimalism attainable is the sharing economy. Thanks to numerous online platforms, Facebook groups and businesses we don’t have to own big things anymore because we can just rent/borrow them from a neighbor or a business. We use it as long as we need it and are rid of it the moment we don’t anymore. Great if you don’t need a car or a saw everyday, just every now and then. Coworking spaces are the best way of sharing in business. They’ll often have meeting rooms, whiteboards, printers etc. that you could borrow/rent. No need to buy anything anymore.
Speaking of printers. Do you really need one anyway? I have not printed a single page in over a year. Reducing or completely eradicating paper from your office is a great step towards a decluttered workspace and mind. A few weeks ago we published this article on paperless offices. In short: remove the technology to print and use other tools to replace paper. Of course, the first tool you want to start using is SignRequest’s electronic signature solution. No more printing and scanning of documents needed. Just sign everything online and store it in one online folder. Good for you and good for the environment.
Look at your desk. Is it full of papers, 12 pens, paper clips, post its, thumb tags, notebooks and coffee cups? Time to clear it out. What do you really use? When you have a laptop, you really don’t need much else. What would be worth dragging around if you had a different workplace every day? That can stay.
Optimize your digital space
It is not only about the physical space. Your use of digital tools can highly affect your level of order or chaos. Is your desktop covered in single files? Is there logic in your folders? Do you have 25 tabs open at any given time? See where you can do better. Create an archive for things you have to store but don’t use. Come up with clear categories for your different folders and have subfolders in each. Find tools that help you have more overview and waste less time. Read this article about 6 online tools that make your life easier.
As with everything, it is about finding the right balance. You might be happiest with nothing but a laptop on your desk. Or you don’t want to give up quite as much but feel like you want to take a few steps towards a minimalist office. It is your workspace and should, therefore, work for you. Go for the bare minimum or just take mini steps.