You need to find out what your primary sensory preference is: visual, auditory or kinaesthetic.
We alternate between these functions and even combine them at times. But knowing some basics about each one will help you begin to identify appropriate strategies and tools to get organised and boost your productivity.
Let’s break it down.
Visual: “I see what you mean.”
Operating chiefly in a visual sensory preference, colour, design and beauty are important to you. You learn by seeing how things are done and easily remember faces and physical surrounds. But don’t buy into the myth that you need to have every single piece of paper out on your desk in order to remember it! There are other ways to organise for the visually oriented.
Although it is important for you to see a large part of your workload, it still needs to be grouped and containerised. See-through trays and containers will complement your style.
Keeping photos and mementos close by, without creating clutter will help you work comfortably. Being able to see the people and things you love creates a relaxing work atmosphere for you and enables you to be more productive.
A colour scheme and furnishings you love are vital for a work space conducive to organised, relaxed productivity. Use open shelves to store folders and stationery. Avoid cupboard doors or filing cabinets. Open storage areas, even for small items, work best for you. For example hooks by the door for keys. Or even a beautiful bowl kept by the door to toss your keys, wallet & mobile in as soon as you enter the room.
TIP: Adequate lighting is essential for everyone, but perhaps more so for visually oriented individuals. Poor, obscured, uneven or flickering lighting may cause not only eye-strain and fatigue but also low moods and poor morale for visuals. Maintain quality lighting for best productivity results.
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Auditory: “I hear you.”
Sound stimulates your learning, behaviour and productivity. You prefer verbal explanations, love listening to a good story and feel more comfortable using the phone, over email. The sound, pitch and tone of someone’s voice is just as important to you as the message they are conveying.
Working to music may increase productivity and is especially good for you when doing tasks you consider boring, like sorting the filing cabinet. Naturally it must be music of your choosing and for a time you are happy with. You are discerning in your listening tastes and if the ‘wrong’ music is on it will adversely affect your productivity.
Also very important for you to have phone ring tones, alarms and email alerts that are pleasing to your ear. A digital voice recorder will also help you stay organised. Record your thoughts, ideas and ‘to-dos’. Hearing when you record and when you play back is twice as powerful for you.
TIP: When you need to concentrate, turn off all phones, as interruption of sudden noise will disturb you more than other sensory preferences and severely hamper productivity.
Kinaesthetic: “Ooh, I felt that!”
You learn experientially and through movement. You are tactile and how things feel is very important to you. You would never put up with wearing a scratchy garment. You may not remember what pieces of furniture were in the office you visited yesterday but you will recall the feel of the place and the mood of each staff member you spoke with.
Comfort is important to you and this needs to be incorporated into your organising set up to maximise productivity. Select comfortable, ergonomic chairs and furniture with fabric and finishes you love.
You need trays, containers and storage items you can comfortably pick up and easily move.
Opt for stationery items that appeal to your sense of touch: felt folders, leather diary, fluffy covered notebooks and anything else with a depth of touch to it.
TIP: Ensure all your office trays and containers are easy to reach, pick up and move around. You need ease of access and freedom of mobility. Furniture on wheels and particularly mobile filing units work well for you.
Remember there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to get organised and your preferences may even change over time. Review regularly what works for you and use the tools that maximise your productivity.