If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that the life of a career adviser, coach, or counselor (pick your fancy) requires a great deal of organization, balance, and efficiency. Particularly when we, as higher-ed administrators, are called to do and be more with student needs, ideas, and skill gaps—with the same amount of time to use each day. I consider myself a fairly good manager of my time—I am a list queen, of course. As an introvert, I tend to plan my attack on the day long before I get into the office, and I am at my best when I am organized.
However, I am always on a quest for more balance and clarity. For me, that often begins with the physical space around me. How can I maximize my productivity and create a warm and welcoming environment for students who visit my office? How can I create a space that encourages my own creativity and idea generation, but that is still professional and organized? Transitioning into a new role this year gave me the opportunity to try something new with my work space, though it is always evolving.
Here are a few pictures of my work space, and the items that make my home-away-from-home a comfortable space to coach, create, and conquer. Enjoy! I hope it inspires you to create a warm, comfortable work space of your own!
Fun globe light: Most days I work in my office without the use of an overhead light. Overhead lights can be rough on the eyes, contribute to headaches, and even make you feel a little blah. It’s not easy to turn off the overhead light when the weather is gloomy, but using lights like these instead help brighten up the room without being too jarring.
Hand sanitizer, tissues, and an hourglass: Hand sanitizer and tissues? Sometimes students and visitors bring flu and cold germs along, so I always recommend having some of both available within arm’s reach. The hourglass was a fun find. I don’t actually use it to time sessions. Ha!
Wall art: Prints courtesy of a Google search. I love to add a splash of color in an otherwise neutral space, because it’s unexpected, vibrant, and allows me to add a bit of my own flavor while still being professional. The quotes are also two of my all-time favorites.
Workstation organizer: When I arrived, the organizer was already in my office—and I find that it comes in handy to store folders of commonly used teaching tools and handouts (like career assessment access instructions!). This also minimizes the amount of clutter floating around the office space, leaving the tabletop free for project work or program prep.
Sound machine: A must have. It helps calm the space, muffles outside noise, and (I think) helps minimize noise that travels from my office into the larger office. Also helpful when I’m writing, because it provides just the right amount of white noise.
Desk Mantra: Speaks for itself. This is double-sided and serves as a reminder for me …and all of the students and staff who visit. We can definitely do anything. But not everything.
Thanks for reading! Please share in the comments below how you jazz up your office space and create a warm, inviting space to counsel and coach clients. I would love to hear from you.