Wherever I go I try to have the same basic layout in my home office. Motorized Geek Desk against the longest wall; printer and scanner to one side, file cabinet to the other; bookshelves directly behind; office supplies and active files on the desk in their eternally preordained locations, etc.
The one thing that tends to float around more than anything else from location to location is my cork board. Different rooms just have a different logical location for it. It needs to be both visible and easily accessible, ideally on the same wall the desk butts up against so I can easily glance at it when needed.
Now, why do I need to glance at it? Well, a quick review of my newly repopulated board, pictured here, will reveal a mix of wisdom, humour and philosophy, as well as assorted trinkets of questionable value. These provide the following benefits:
- Like any wall hanging, this board and its slowly changing inhabitants provides an immediate sense of familiarity in a new office and helps me feel at home. We have noticed in our many moves that one of the things that changes a new house/condo into a home is the presence of OUR pictures on the walls. This board contains several dozen of my personal selections and turns any new office into MY office.
- I have often been blessed with very scenic office views. When this is the case, my first choice for thinking, taking a break or regrouping my thoughts in the midst of a project is to look out the window. However the view rarely changes and, as is the case in my current home office, sometimes leaves much to be desired. Enter the cork board, with its variety of stimulating words and objects. It provides both a mini-escape as well as an of-task stimulus that often triggers some relevant and even profound content related to what I am working on at that moment.
- Since the board contains many of the most concise summaries of wisdom that have caught my eyes over the year, including several that tap my deepest beliefs and passions, a glance at the board quickly reminds me what is important and ultimately why I am doing what I am doing or, in some cases, how I ought to be doing it. For example “Don’t trade what you want most for what you want today.” This often calls me back from low value, short term tasks to high value actions that may not pay off immediately, but whose payoff is more important to me than any short term reward. Another example: On the lower left area of the board is a postcard with two sketched figures, one holding their arms up and one holding them wide. I think the original intent of it was to address the need to be aware of both our vertical relationship with our Creator, and our horizontal relationships with people. However, due to other content at the conference in Chicago where I received it, it is for me a reminder of “head and heart”, the idea that to communicate effectively we must address both the head- logical issues, information, facts- and the heart- emotions, passions, core beliefs.
In a time when we could probably find all the distractions and stimulation and escape we need on the screen in front of us, I find it very helpful to step away from the desk, stretch my legs if only a little, and look at some non-digital content to renew my heart and mind.
What about you? Do you have a cork board? What do you do to take a mini-break in your office? I’d love to hear from you below.