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Minimalism in the office: more focused work


Too many objects, too many clothes, too much paperwork, too many tasks: With the following tips, we show you how you can achieve great things with minimalism not only in your private life but also at work.


  • What does minimalism mean?

  • Minimalism at the workplace: more concentrated and less stressful

  • Networking and social media: Too many digital contacts?

  • Ways of working: Live and work minimally

  • Minimalism for more productivity and efficiency


Less is more - this has been known for a long time. Minimalism has become a trendy lifestyle that is finding more and more followers both privately and professionally. However, conscious renunciation does not mean giving up one's favourite things, as in Lent, but questioning: What do I really need? What can I part with? And what sustainable alternatives are there?

Minimalists are convinced that our abundance, i.e. too many possessions, constricts and burdens us.

This is not just about old clothes or mobile phones. Furniture, piles of books and papers, acquaintances and workplace structure can also stress us out, distract us and make us lose focus.

Minimalism means making a conscious decision. What is left? The essentials and plenty of breathing space.


Do you get in a bad mood in the morning at the office when you see your desk, desktop and email inbox? Don't continue to overlook the chaos and the flood of e-mails, but take time to clear the clutter piece by piece. This frees you up, you feel better and you can concentrate better in the future.

Desk: Between chaos and clean desk policy

If you don't have a clean desk policy in your office, papers, books and magazines will pile up on and around your desk, as will cups, office plants and numerous pens.

How to bring order into your chaos:

  • Take 10 minutes a day to tidy up and clear out a section of your filing cabinet, drawer or bookshelf.

  • Set a tidying slot in your daily schedule, for example using the ALPEN method.

  • Define a place where you can spontaneously park papers, magazines or odds and ends until your tidying slot arrives. Then everything won't be spread out on your desk.

  • Force yourself to tidy up your desk just before you leave work so that you can start the day cheerfully the next morning.

  • Free yourself from paperwork and digitise your office: notepads, calendars and document filing can also be done online. A pinboard on the wall or flipchart can keep the most important bullet points, appointments or sketches in front of your eyes.

  • 1 pen, 1 highlighter and 1 notepad are enough - give the rest away.

  • Sustainability at work is also part of minimalist living if you try to avoid unnecessary waste. Look for sustainable office supplies if you need to buy something.

Once you've tidied up your desk, look at your digital desk. The more streamlined it is, the less you'll be searching for documents and the quicker and more productive you'll be able to get on with the really important tasks of the day.

Desktop and Mailbox: Digital Minimalism

One document follows the next on your desktop, the overview has long since disappeared and your mailbox is overflowing? Go about these areas as efficiently and effectively as possible so as not to waste valuable time. Your goal must be to gain more time in the long run.

  • Only put shortcuts on your desktop to really important folders that you need to access every day. This saves time and when you need a free desktop, the shortcuts are quickly deleted. You can pin the most frequently used programmes to the taskbar.

  • Do you use the desktop as a cache to store pictures, logos or documents for printing or forwarding? Put the documents in the right place - whether in the cloud, project folder or drive. Then you won't clutter up your laptop with duplicate files. For joint projects, online document storage is best so that colleagues can access the files directly.

  • Search function versus too many subfolders: The project is so complex that you could create numerous subfolders and structures? Question: Do you really need so many and isn't the quick search function sufficient in some places?

  • Do you receive too many newsletters? Stop the flood of emails, unsubscribe from unnecessary and unread newsletters and organise your mail handling.


  • Your professional network is growing fast, contacts are multiplying on Xing or LinkedIn and you could attend a different lunch or coffee meeting every day? Choose consciously here too: Which appointments are really important, which give you energy and which are just time wasters without any real benefit?

  • Networking is a give-and-take: Delete contacts you haven't had anything to do with for years or who you don't really know because they only sent you a contact request a long time ago.

  • Continue to take care to stay away from people with toxic behaviour: Constant complainers, pessimists or people who constantly talk down your goals and dreams without any arguments drain your energy and slow you down.

  • Do you actually only open Facebook or Xing to make your daily social media post, but the many posts from your busy contacts distract you? Either you are very disciplined in overlooking them or you sort them out: What do I display? Which contacts should stay in my network and which news portals do I let appear? The rest is deleted.

  • It's always about media use skills: learn to filter information so as not to be swamped by the flood of postings, direct messages, etc.


Checking the first job emails in bed in the morning, eating breakfast while walking to the underground and quickly scanning the news at your desk before the tasks, colleague requests and phone calls just pour in? With a clear order and a focus on the essentials, you can get through your working day more relaxed and efficient.

  • Establish and consolidate a healthy morning routine with a healthy breakfast, exercise and plenty of fresh air.

  • Create a daily plan, for example with the ALPEN method, and focus on the important tasks.

  • Write down and sort the to-dos according to importance and urgency using the Eisenhower principle or the ABC method.

  • Eat that frog: If possible, start with the most unpleasant task first, then with the second most unpleasant, etc. This way, more and more ease comes into your life. This will bring more and more lightness into your day.

  • Look daily at the company's goals and the key results that need to be achieved. The OKR model helps here. In this way, you work continuously on the small and large goals of the company.

  • Clear your head of ballast and unnecessary tasks by writing a not-to-do list and throwing all unimportant tasks and mails into the waste paper basket.

  • You should also get rid of the ballast in your offline life by clearing out: At least once a quarter, all old, useless printed matter should be thrown out of your office: advertising letters, magazines, flyers, correspondence that is no longer relevant, etc. But be careful: Don't make a general clean sweep; in terms of the retention obligation, business documents must be kept for between 6 and 10 years, depending on the type.

  • Eliminate time wasters: Time management apps like Forest, Rescuetime or Selfcontrol will help you.

  • If possible, force yourself to make immediate decisions: Yes or no, open and edit or delete mail, is the task important or unimportant to the company's goal, etc.

  • Divide tasks into time slots and work on them one after the other in a highly concentrated manner, for example in 25-minute intervals with the Pomodoro technique or in 52-minute intervals with the 52-17 work rhythm. You can use the breaks for chatting with colleagues, meditating or sorting out.

By clearly structuring your day, completing the most important tasks one after the other and taking regular breaks, you will notice that you suddenly achieve the goals you set with much less stress.


When you live a minimalist lifestyle, you have more space and, most importantly, fewer things to worry about. You will notice how much air and time is left over, the essential things will be done faster and the ballast will be strictly sorted out.

If you don't know where to start with your big mountain, external organisational talents can help.

Of course, the big challenge is to remain a minimalist. To do this, keep track of things, items, physical and digital filing cabinets and your communication channels. As soon as something becomes too much for you again, start at this point and reduce.

Be mindful and focused in everyday life

Living minimally means living more consciously. And here's how you can do it throughout your day:

  • It's the simple measures of voluntary renunciation that add up to the greatest successes: less consumption, less sugar, fewer contracts, fewer purchases, fewer lift rides, less smartphone use, etc.

  • Consciously choose what you want to focus on.

  • Question where it is worthwhile to use resources.

  • Solve main tasks without getting distracted by unimportant things - one at a time, so avoid multitasking.

  • Enjoy break time without the distraction of unanswered emails, push messages and long to-do lists.

  • Cook recipes with colleagues during lunch break and consciously save on disposable packaging material by fetching food.

  • If you do pick up food from restaurants and snack bars, you can do so with compostable takeaway boxes or a reusable bowl.

  • Shop at non-packaging shops near you.

  • Do some exercise to stay fit at the office.

  • You can take a breath, meditate or just have a coffee in peace.

  • Pursue things that positively influence your life, your goals, wishes and dreams, but also shared experiences with family, friends and your partner.

In this way, you will gain more freedom bit by bit.


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