By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
As I gaze about my office, I am amused at its absurdity. It contains an eclectic array of form and function. Although my computer technology is first rate, the room’s remaining accouterments are a varied collection emanating from different decades, with diverging appearance and disparate degrees of utility. In short, nothing matches. Of the six filing cabinets, three are metal and the rest, wood. With different finishes, colors, and styles, there are only two that match. The four shelving units are likewise dissimilar: early American dark oak, maple-adorned particleboard, light oak veneer, and modular plastic. It’s not much to look at, but it all works – effectively and efficiently – to my complete satisfaction and utter joy.
My office, however, is not just about function, as it also contains a collection of sentimental artifacts: gifts from family and friends, trinkets from significant events, and a near gallery of wall hangings – the most elegant of which is a tastefully matted and smartly framed cover of my first issue of Connections Magazine. Next to it is an evocative gift from my eleventh birthday, a reprint, bordered with a simple homemade frame. Then there is a framed 3-D art rendering – the kind that you need to go slightly crossed-eyed before the hidden image emerges. On the far wall is an avant-garde depiction of a Monopoly game in progress. The remaining item is a black-and-white photo, housed in an inexpensive but seemingly ornate and likely antique frame. It is an aerial photo of my grandfather’s chicken farm, DeHaan Poultry, circa 1960.
The preceding description was written in 2007, but it remained fully accurate until a few months ago. For over a decade, my office configuration and contents had served me well. During that time, it had undergone minimal change; even at the end, it lacked little in terms of functionality and efficiency, despite its visually diverse array of appurtenances.
So why did I want to ruin a good thing? Quite simply, I wanted to make things better.
Now having a colleague (see “Candy DeHaan Joins Connections Magazine” – October 2011), it was impractical to have our respective offices on different floors, so I moved my office to be next to my bride’s.
Although the upheaval of my comfortable office was borderline traumatic, the ending result has been worth it. An efficiency expert would deem my new configuration to be even better, and a time-motion maven would grant me high marks as well.
Moving also afforded the opportunity to simplify. Several things were discarded, while others items were elevated in status; files were scrutinized, workflow was streamlined, and computer configurations were reworked. A new desk was acquired and a more practical printer connected.
Moving my office required an investment of time and money. It also took a while before I felt comfortable and effective in my new environment, but I’m better off having made the change. What I had before was good; what I have now is better.
What change have you been putting off in your office? Act now and enjoy the results.
[From Connection Magazine – Jan/Feb 2012]