So, we've looked at your internal environment, and then we moved out to the next port of call - your kitchen (which feeds your internal environment), so the next stop, I think, should be where you probably spend the majority of your daily life - at work, most likely in an office.
Until a month ago I worked from just one office, and that was in my home. It's a great space generally, not least because I love my home and its location, but also I have a great view out of my office window across the fens and all the way to Ely Catchedral. Since I moved here at the end of July 2005 my office has continued to evolve as I have and more recently I got it well and truly serving me to a level previously unknown.
Every inch of the office was tidy, had a purpose, looked great and everything visible focussed me on the job in hand and supported my overall 'mission'. The result? A feeling of peace, clarity and being 'sorted' which was completely inspiring.
More recently, when I moved into another larger office (more later) I was called to create a little piece of heaven all over again.
So with all that I have learned, and in a bid to have you feeling as mentally nourished as physically, here's my top tips for how to create an office space that serves and delights you...
1) Start by deciding what your office needs to be for you. Yes, it needs to be functional, after all you are there to do a job, but what else do you as a human being need to have in place to feel as if you want to go to work, love being in that space, and furthermore (we're going for a 10 remember!) genuinely inspires and motivates you to give it your all and love doing so? (My own examples follow later).
2) As we did in the kitchen, you now have to work from the ground up, so create the following piles: Need to keep as vital to getting the job done; Love to keep as makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside; File away for 6 months just in case I need it; Donate or Ditch.
3) When you have filed, ditched or donated accordingly, what you'll be left with is the beautiful and the useful. Ideally your useful will also be beautiful to you (I don't know about you but I do have a thing for stationery and folders!!). If this is not the case, then make a list of the useful things that are not beautiful but that can be replaced with the more beautiful as and when time and budget permit. (For male readers you may not be that fussed about the beautiful, so just make sure that what's left is at least not offensive!).
4) Again, as with the kitchen, you need to now clean the slate and clear your office space completely. This means hoovering, washing, scrubbing, maybe even painting. When this step is done you will feel great and inspired to refurbish with glee!
5) Move your beautiful and useful things back into place, and then, again as with the kitchen, it will become apparent to you what's missing. For me an absolute pre-requisite is a huge pin board above my desk. On here I post the useful and the beautiful (typically they are one and the same) and this includes inspiring quotes, pictures, reminders, productivity hints and tips, lists of goals, personal projects, coaching homework, thank you cards and photos of my son. I also love to have a vase of fresh flowers near to my desk, a small stereo within easy reach together with some suitably work-enhancing CDs, and another large pin board behind me to showcase my current project (in my case all the pages of my new web site are pinned up so I can see at a glance what has already been accomplished and what still needs to be done).
In my former life when I worked in London but was aspiring to a new and altogether more magical life, I kept blu-tacked above my desk a beautiful mystical-looking postcard with the famous Goethe quote on it: "What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." Just looking at this every day inspired me to stay in love with my dream and to go after it. And I did!
These are the key steps to creating an office that delights and inspires you, and really nothing less should do. For a start you will feel a lot happier and much more at home in your work space, and second, for those of you who work for a boss, he or she will no doubt be impressed by your efforts (to the point where they may follow suit) and chances are that they'll start to see your work starting to take on some of the new magic too!
As a final aside, which proves my point, even to myself (!) on 3rd April I moved out of my home office into the Fresh Network one so that Emma, my new PA, and I, could work together and form a strong team with Pete at the Fresh HQ. And while the offices are nice and spacious, they have also needed some work doing, as the unit we are in had been sorely neglected by its previous occupants who vacated last summer.
At the start of the year when we moved in, we set to work revamping the unit as a whole, which was no mean feat. Down came the cobwebs (yuck!), the floors got swept, the walls repainted, the floor repainted, the shelves put up, the partitions insulated, re-boarded and painted, the carpets hoovered, the shelves filled and reorganised, the furniture moved in, phone lines put in and so on. Pete's office also got put to rights, with all the relevant equipment, desks and filing cabinets installed, but the third part of the unit, the second office, remained neglected and was used as a store room for all sorts of stuff without a home. It was this space that was to become mine and Emma's office!
However, piece by piece we set to work. We emptied the space. We hoovered the floor to sparkliness. We washed the walls and wiped the skirting boards. We ordered new desks and stationery. New phones and phone lines were installed, we even got networked! Emma had a new computer. I put up white boards and calendars. In came my rainbow-coloured filing trays and my beloved purple folders (!). Pete ordered us a heater. And when all the essentials were in place, the day before Emma started I nipped off to Homebase and invested in the pretty finishing touches - 2 square pink pin boards to go above our desks, white pencil pots, a vase of purple tulips and a welcome card for Emma. And when they were up, well, suddenly the new office seemed even more attractive than my home one, which I really didn't think could be possible!
Since then, within just 2 weeks, the office has evolved further still. We now have a large white board which we write on every time something exciting or major happens (which is usually every day), we have a Vita-Mix blender in place so that we can make green smoothies once a day, and next week in comes a big fridge and a fresh load of food so that we can make lunch on the premises, taking it in turns to create raw food lunches that make us thrilled to be raw, and all chipping in financially to make it happen.
And as a way of bringing our own environment out to the world at large, we even started The Fresh Network Blog in the past week - a joint effort which brings to you office gossip, raw food news, recipes, announcements, new product info, inspiration and much more. Check it out! (Russell's Raw Easter Egg recipe just posted!)
No doubt as time goes by more and more refining and reshaping will occur, but for now we love our new office and I have to admit, I can't believe that so much transformation has occurred so quickly and what a difference it has made to us all.
Now that is what creating a supportive environment is about! Own your space, create the vision, make it happen. Now over to you!