Spring into action

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The clocks have gone forward, the temperature is rising and we’ve seen the sun for more than two days in a row which can only mean spring is finally here.

But while we can’t get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather with our loved ones like we would normally, we can still use this time indoors to get started on that refreshing spring clean.

Eight weeks into lockdown and it’s clear we’re here to stay for the foreseeable future, so we’ve compiled some tips for attacking the headache in the corner that is your working from home setup. So, whether you’ve got 30 minutes or just the one, we’ve pulled together the best ways for you to clear the clutter and keep it that way.

One minute

Clear the decks – The only work-related things that should live on your desk or table are the absolute essentials, in other words what you use and need every day. Try and find a home for all of these things and take a minute to put everything away at the end of the day.

Paper trail – Make sure that you don’t leave piles of papers on your desk at the end of the day. Try and file them away as soon as you’re finished with them, but if you’re not sure where to put them, or you haven’t finished working with them, use an in-tray or a specific folder close by.

Picture perfect – Take a photo of your workspace. Sometimes we’re so used to an environment, we stop seeing all the individual elements properly. Taking a photograph will help you to see it from a new perspective and may help you to optimise your space.

15 minutes

Breath of fresh air – Make sure that your work space is a nice place to be. Does the lighting and temperature suits any others that share the space with you? Take advantage of the warmer weather and think about opening the window for at least 15 minutes a day to let the air circulate.

Race against the clock – If you’re really struggling to make a start on cleaning or decluttering your desk or hard drive, separate it all into smaller chunks. Set a timer for 15 minutes and aim to finish each chunk in that time.

Cut to the chase – Take time at the end or beginning of each week to go through your in-tray or email folder and make sure you’re aware of everything in there. Try not to leave anything outstanding unless you absolutely have to. This goes for electronic documents too – try not to leave things saved on your desktop without a home.

30+ minutes

Come clean – Take everything out of your space. This will help you to see exactly what you have and you can be honest with yourself about whether you really need it. It will also help you to think about how best to organise your drawers and immediate storage areas.

Be honest – For most of us, switching to working from home was a fast change at a time when lots of other things were going on. It’s likely that your working from home setup might not be as comfortable as it could be as you had to adjust to a new working routine. Take some time to look around your home – is there another space that might work better for you? Somewhere closer to a window? Or a spot that’s a bit less obtrusive? You could move into a spare room, or if not, can you create a screen? Even moving a plant could work. Give yourself time to reorganise, making sure you have room to switch off from your workspace.

Don’t forget to read our guide to setting up your desk when working from home too.

Make a plan – There are loads of tips and tricks out there to help you tackle your Spring clean. Take some time to sit and write down everything you want to achieve. Seeing it all on paper will help you to get organised and see how to tackle your tasks, whether that’s getting started straight away, or doing some research online.

Have you started your Spring cleaning yet? How are you staying motivated at work? Let us know in the comments below or email bulletin@ed.ac.uk