Join Suzanna Kaye for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding your organizing style, part of Organizing Your Office for Maximum Efficiency.
- When considering efficiency in an office it helps to understand your style. Knowing what types of systems and environments keep you focused, motivated and successful help make work less stressful and help you get more done. The concepts I talk about in this movie are based on the book, Organizing for Your Brain Type by Lanna Nakone. I encourage you to check out the book for the Brain Type Quiz as well as a more in-depth understanding of your own personality. According to Lanna there are four different brain types, maintaining, harmonizing, innovating, and prioritizing.
Every type has its own unique characteristics and organizational styles they work best with. Let's take a quick look at each. The Maintainer. If you're a Maintainer, you enjoy structure and routine. You're precise and like accuracy in being organized. In an office you're most likely the person who's best at maintaining information and you enjoy being able to retrieve data quickly. You dislike change and disruptions and you may lean toward keeping too much just in case.
You'll probably work best in an office without too many decorations or frills. Supplies are probably chosen more for function than looks. Filing alphabetically works well for you, and a to-do list that includes a lot routine tasks and systems gives you comfort. When making your workload more efficient, use checklists, create systems, and put maintenance tasks into your calendar at the same time each day, week or month. Adding time into your schedule for the unexpected will relieve stress and keep interruptions from derailing your perfectly laid out calendar.
The Harmonizer. People are your thing. You love to communicate and help others. You lay somewhere between playful and precise and enjoy an office that feels welcoming, comfortable and happy. However you can easily get distracted from your tasks and you're most likely driven by your mood. You probably enjoy an office with natural light, wide open spaces, and items that have emotional meaning. Attractive office supplies, photos, and color will motivate you. Your space may accumulate too much decoration though.
You have a hard time letting go of sentimental items and you keep a lot of things you don't use because they may be useful to someone someday. When organizing, rigid systems and details are probably not the best choice for you. Use broad categories and color coding for filing and storage. And keep only what you use all the time close at hand. Your overstock can be kept in a storage cabinet or donated to someone who can use it more. The Innovator. If you're an Innovator like me, your mind is constantly coming up with new ideas and solving problems in creative ways.
You love to multitask and you're spontaneous and imaginative. You're usually the most easily distracted and high energy of the personality types. Though you can be a lot of fun you tend to have the hardest time staying organized. Your office environment should probably have a lot of color, natural light, and plants. Office supplies can be whimsical or interesting. You'll probably use them more if they are. Since you aren't good with routine and detail, you get bored very easily with the mundane. Traditional filing systems are not for you.
Skip the hanging files for everything except archives and use baskets, magazine holders and trays instead. The action file is perfect for you. It can quickly catch all your incoming papers safely until you're in a more focused frame of mind. Create systems with an unusual or creative structure. Turning it into a game works well for you. The Prioritizer. You're the leader of the pack. Your rational, goal-oriented, and focused thinking helps you get things done faster and better than the competition.
You're brief and to the point, looking at the world through a logical, rather than emotional, lens. Your need for instant access to information makes paperless a great choice for you. Finding what you need quickly improves your efficiency. When you file, grouping by category will work much better for you than an alphabetical system. Your fast-paced brain is very mission oriented so setting up and maintaining a system are probably not high on your to-do list. It will probably help you to create a simple, minimal system and delegate the maintenance to someone who enjoys that type of detail.
You probably enjoy a clean, uncluttered office with minimal but tasteful decoration. With office supplies, function is more important to you but showing you have taste with high-quality supplies may motivate you. Whether it's papers, decorations or supplies, a less-is-more attitude probably comes naturally to you. No matter which personality type you identify with working with the way you naturally think will make your workspace more efficient and productive with a lot less stress.
Highlight your personality's strengths in your office setup. Maintainers, create strong systems and routines. Harmonizers, work with other people whenever you can. Innovators, make efficiency into a game of creativity. And Prioritizers, create goals around being organized and focused. By knowing and working with your personality type, you'll be more motivated, focused and satisfied at work. Therefore your productivity and efficiency will skyrocket.