Recently, I moved work spaces. I’ve already written about minimalism and moving (our living space) in previous blog posts, but I realized that I never wrote about how moving my work space helped me to minimize and focus my work. Moving to a different work space and unpacking everything forced me to evaluate how each thing I unpacked fit into my work environment (or didn’t!).
Minimalism is about focusing on the things in life that are most important, and getting rid of anything that doesn’t fall into that category. This applies to all aspects of our lives, including our work place!
So without further ado, here are the 5 things I learned about setting up a workspace that is minimal, simple, and effective:
1) Ask yourself– What would my perfect work space look like?
If you could set up your perfect space for working, what would be in it? What wouldn’t be in it? How could your space help you to focus and work better? What kind of space would make you want to work in it?
Realistically, you may not be able to make your work space match your perfect image due to space constraints, resource constraints, etc. But dreaming about your perfect work space will help you to recognize what you value in a work space– and then you can take significant steps to improve and simplify the space in which you work.
2) Be intentional about what you bring into your work space.
The goal is to have everything that is brought into your office/work space either help you effectively do your job or add value to your life.
In a minimalist lifestyle, the goal is to have everything around you help you focus on the aspects of life that are most important. And I think it’s fair to assume that while you are in your workspace, your work is most important. So it follows that (almost) everything you bring into your workspace should help you focus on your work.
Secondarily, other things in the work space that remind you of the other important things in life are great, too– photos of loved ones, a momento from an important time in your life, etc. The trick is to not have these things overpower the things that help you get your work done in your work space. Because work.
3) Get rid of anything that doesn’t help you work more effectively or add value to your life.
Leftover things from the previous occupant? Trinkets gifted to you by others that no longer have value for you? Piles of paper from previous projects no longer needed?
Let them go. Holding onto things you don’t need anymore only clutters up your physical space AND your mind.
4) Your best work space may not be someone else’s best work space.
Your best and most effective minimalist workspace will not be the same as someone else’s. God created us all differently, which means we all work differently. There is no “right” way to be a minimalist. It is a lifestyle that can be shaped and changed for one’s specific situation.
Your co-worker may work more effectively with 15 photos of their loved ones surrounding them on all sides of their desk, whereas you may work better with just one photo in a corner. It’s less about specific rules on what’s allowed, and more about what works best for you.
5) Remember your vocation in the Lord.
God has given YOU, personally, gifts and skills to serve God and serve others effectively. Your gifts and skills are not your neighbor’s gifts and skills. You may be an arm in the Body of Christ, and your co-worker may be a foot (see 1 Corinthians 12). We are all created to build up the Kingdom of God, and to work together to do that– but how we each do it will look very different.
With that said, we are all called to love God and love others, no matter how we spend our day. You may feel called by God to do your daily work, you may not. But whatever your work day looks like, remember that your work can always give glory to God. Above all, “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)