By Jennifer Outcelt, Account Specialist
It’s been about 6 months since the Coronavirus hit our radar. Since then, our work lives (awe, let’s face it, our WHOLE lives) have been turned upside down. Our time is now spent pivoting our goals, engineering endless workarounds, avoiding people (while desperately wanting to be near them), and frankly, doing a ton of emotional parkour. So, I bet you’re probably nearing the end of some type of rope by now. While I can’t lobotomize the part of your brain that is FREAKING THE HECK OUT, I can help you control one of the few things left that you still have control over: Your immediate workspace. I’d like to introduce you to the concept of Knolling. I use this method to control my physical and digital workspaces and it helps me create a more Zen work environment. Yeah, you know you could use some Zen.
Ahh, the art of Knolling. No known knowledge of Knolling? No worries. Here’s a helpful link to explain who, what, when, where, how and why. Knolling helps you control your physical space by grouping, and aligning like objects (both tangible and digital) into clear workable units. It provides an aesthetically pleasing overview of everything you are about to work with. Think of it as laying things out to give you a bird’s eye view of all your materials, all at once. While the result of Knolling aids you in working through a project, the act of Knolling is quite peaceful and calming.
Chances are you already do this in some aspects of your life, though you may never have thought much about it. Ever try to assemble Ikea furniture? Maybe you first took all screws and laid them out to count if you had enough. Then, maybe you found all the bolts and made a pile of those too. Perhaps then, you gathered the washers and created an array next to the bolts. Did you group all the draw fronts together and nest all the drawer handles next to them? Congrats! You know how to Knoll! If you have ever employed this method to put together an Ikea dresser, then I bet it went a whole lot smoother than you expected, AND you are still happily married to your Ikea construction partner!
“But Jennifer, I’m not a professional Ikea furniture assembler! I work at a desk (that I didn’t assemble) on a computer with windows and apps! You said this would help me!” That’s right, I did. Way to listen! I use the knolling concepts on my desk and in my digital work as well. Each morning, before starting my day, I clean off my desk getting rid of anything I won’t be using that day. Then, I arrange all the things that are left at 90-degree angles. This keeps my physical space LEAN, clean, and mean(ingful). No visual clutter equals a Zen work mind.
When it comes to the digital world, you have to get a bit more creative. I’ve created a perpetual Knolling environment on my computer screen. It ebbs, it flows, but it maintains a Knoll like structure. For example; I always keep my email window in the top right corner of my desktop screen and I always keep my folder window in the bottom left corner on my desktop screen. These windows shall not be moved! If I open a new folder window, it goes parallel to the existing one. If I open a new email window, it goes parallel to the main one. I can’t begin to explain the stress involved with tracking down windows when you have 20 open at once. If I know that an email will always appear in the upper right corner of my screen, I can train my eyes to always go to that spot. If I always know where to look when accessing a certain type of window, then my digital landscape becomes very organized. I can move quickly from window to window and avoid the searching for that one lost browser window. Because I know it’s always in the bottom right corner on my screen with the rest of them.
So how do you feel about this Knolling process? If you’re unsure, just meditate on the extreme Zen like feelings of satisfaction you get when looking at these pictures. Don’t you wish you felt that way at your desk too?