Although it was a beautiful sunny spring day outside, there was a dark cloud hanging over attorney Steve and his office reflected it. Steve was the managing partner of a multiple-city law firm spread across the state.
He complained about how unfocused, distracted and disorganized he felt. He was worried that the firm wasn’t going to grow and make money on his watch.
Steve was also concerned that he was not as efficient and productive as he should be which left him feeling ineffective as the firm leader. He knew one of the keys to building the firm and increasing business had to do with relationships – they needed to improve relationships to expand existing business and create new relationships to get new business. He complained, “It’s as if things are standing in my way preventing me from accomplishing my goals and challenging my abilities.”
Remove Energy Drainers to Fuel Focus: A cursory glance around Steve’s office easily shed light on the things standing in his way. Displayed on the lengthy window sill of his corner office were at least two dozen framed photographs of family members, kids, fishing buddies with the “big” catch, clients, and more. That’s a lot of eyes watching him perform and events distracting him. But that was just the beginning.
- Stacks of files were on the desk, credenza and floor.
- His CPU was placed in the corner of the L-shaped desk so he would bump into it every time he moved from his computer screen to another area of his desk where he would write and take notes.
- He had poor hearing in his left ear but his phone was still placed on that side so every time he answered it he had to reach across his body and the computer screen and keyboard.
- A book shelf was filled with books he hadn’t used in years that could easily reside in the firm’s library.
- Several pieces of art gifted from key clients leaned up against a wall because he was unsure of where to hang them.
Each was a significant energy drainer and disrupted his focus. It was no wonder he felt unproductive, couldn’t focus and was always distracted. Either he couldn’t find it; it wasn’t arranged for efficiency or was distracting so his flow of focus was always broken.
Harness Focus to Ignite Productivity: Fortunately Steve’s office had one thing going for it: the placement of his desk and chair. It was on the far side of the room facing the door, which is the most powerful and effective location. Therefore, when sitting in his chair, no matter which area of his desk he was working on, he always had a complete view of the door, and was always aware of people coming and going. His subconscious mind was never distracted and operating in the flight or fight mode.
With his desk and chair already placed for maximum leadership power, focus and productivity, it was easier to bring the remainder of his office into alignment with his objectives using these corrections:
- All but three of the personal pictures on the windowsill were eliminated leaving one with his family, one with his best friends and one with a major client – this removed a lot of the distractions and energized what was important in his life.
- Energy-drainers, clutter and files were either organized in upright files on his desk for current cases or on the credenza for longer term cases – other items were filed, tossed if possible or moved to the firm’s archives. This lack of organization consumed a lot of his time –time he could spent cultivating new clients or nurturing existing clients.
- Misplaced equipment like the CPU and his phone were relocated to improve efficiency and increase productivity.
- The bookshelf was totally removed from his office and replaced with a small table and chairs for a more casual meeting area with clients and improved client rapport – and adding a live plant provided living energy in the room.
- The pictures were appropriately hung throughout the office; the ones behind the desk of his largest client’s wetlands artwork placed emphasis on existing clients. The artist rendering of Steve arguing a case in front of the Federal Court was placed on the wall facing him to remind him of past successes and encourage future wins.
The Result: Changing the room dynamics provided Steve an environment where he became more focused improving his concentration. He found he had more time to connect with not only the other partners in the firm but existing and new clients making him more efficient and effective.
At the firm’s annual retreat four months later, Steve was recognized for outstanding achievement and honored by the other partners because of his leadership and the fact that he personally brought in more business in those four months than the entire previous year.
By applying the same principles to your office, you too, can dramatically improve your flow of focus fueling efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.