Does your Work Space Define You?

The invisible fence that surrounds a person’s work space should not be crossed, unless you wish to risk the menacing growl of the person that owns it.


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Our work space is sacred. Whether it is spotless or resembles a scene from the movie Twister, it is our space and is not to be judge.


Wouldn’t that be a lovely idea?


The truth is, we are always judged on our work space. Whether it is your adult space being judged by a boss, or parents judging their teen’s work space, the perception is that the sparseness of your work space correlates with productivity.  The only people that aren’t critical of other people’s work spaces are teens.


Our work space is an extension of our organizational style, and a critique of our work space is critique of ourselves.


When we judge a person’s space, we are thinking, why can’t they be more like us? The reason is- BECAUSE THEY AREN’T US!


As we discussed last week, the definition of organization is not universal and it is NOT thorough. Once this definition is developed, we can start to explore what makes us our most effective selves.


Sorry parents, this means your teens work space won’t always be an empty desk!

How do we create a truly effective work space? If you didn’t fill out last week’s worksheet, go here and do it now.

Then, I want you (adult) to look at your current work space. How does it make you feel? Do you think it enhances your productivity? Why or why not?

If you can’t function in your current space, you aren’t going to be able to be productive. However, this is completely easy to fix!


Don’t get overwhelmed. First, find one thing that works well in your work space.  Is it color coded files? Are things labeled? Is it dead quiet? How do these things help you be productive?

The second thing to look at is what DOES NOT work for you. Is your workspace in the center of the family hub? Is your office constantly being barged in on by co-workers? Are there never any pens to be found? What is one thing that does not work and how can you change it?

There is ALWAYS something in your control. Even the nosey co-worker that keeps plopping in your chair for a gossip fest can be changed. You might need a cute sign for the door that says GO AWAY! Ok, maybe that is too harsh, but you get what I am saying.


Some people say you can’t judge a book by its cover while simultaneously saying dress for the job you want.   If your child struggles with organization- does it define who they are?  ADHD and struggles with executive functions make it difficult to keep on top of cleanliness and organization, but does that make a child less awesome?  Read on!  Marni Pasch, MA Counselor Ed. ACC Team Pasch Academic Coaching

Your desk is your desk, and your teen’s space is their space. It does not need to look perfect, but it does have to be functional and productive. Your child needs to set those standards for themselves, and you need to accept them (even if it seems strange to you).


There are two caveats:


1)      If your teen’s space creeps into shared spaces, you may need to place boundaries on their system.


2)      If your teen is still missing assignments, their system is not productive and needs to be reassessed using the steps above.


Work spaces, like the definition of organization is determined by the individual. As an Academic Life Coach , I work with students across the country, and I see EVERYTHING! We create functioning, organizational systems. My students are able to test their ideas in a non-judgmental space and re-tweak it as needed. That is one of the benefits of the coaching relationship.


If you and your teen have had this fight before, and you are ready to tap out, consider contacting me for a free strategy session.  In this session, I help teens identify what is currently working for them and the areas that need shifting.  They will walk away with a clear picture of how their current situation is a benefit or a detriment to their goals.