shape your environment


Your professional environment includes more than just where you sit and who you interact with; your mental space is an equally important part of who you are as a creative and where you’re headed. You are constantly influenced by everything around you on a subconscious level, so taking an active role in shaping both environments is critical to channeling your growth in the right direction.

It requires a lot of discipline and introspection to effectively structure your surroundings. You need to discover what works best for you and what you need to accomplish your tasks. The best way to begin starts with transforming your physical space into a deliberately-filtered venue for working, identifying and managing your distractions, and making each day count towards your overall professional journey.

make a desk your nest

A perfectly clean desk space might look presentable, but physical reminders of your goals can help keep you focused on achieving them. This isn’t about dressing up your workspace with trinkets or platitudes on creativity, but seeking out meaningful motivators that are selected to drive you forward. It might be a music playlist, framed photos, or quotes that speak directly to your circumstances. Populate your work area with evocative prompts that energize you, and change them up occasionally to stay fresh.
Along with an organizational focus on your future, you also need to ensure your physical space supports what you need to accomplish in your current role. Employ all the resources you require to excel in your daily responsibilities, purging your space of anything that doesn’t contribute to that end. There needs to be a balance between your big picture ambition and in-the-moment focus.

know your distractions

We all have weaknesses that we let chip away at our productivity, and it’s natural to dismiss them as insignificant. However, these minor distractions have the cumulative power to wear down the speed of our professional growth. It takes time and stubborn determination to rewire how susceptible we are to our favorite distractions, but it’s definitely possible and absolutely worth it.

Track how you spend your time — not just what you’re working on, but what you’re focusing on. Where is your attention going at each hour of the work day? Chances are that you’ll find numerous gaps in each day. Those aren’t failures, though; they’re opportunities to improve your mental rigorousness. Once you’ve observed how you’re distracted, look for the easiest areas to manage first, such as social media. Then you can move onto issues like spending too much time on tasks that don’t directly relate to your goals. This a subtle process and it doesn’t have to involve sudden, strict changes to your routine.

each day matters

Since we’re typically focused on more immediate challenges, the best way to remind ourselves of the value of taking an active hand in shaping our environment (both mental and physical) is to look at previous successes. Break down the moments of success and failure that resulted in your most meaningful accomplishments. The better you keep track of them, the more your own history can offer lessons on how to stay on the right path.
It’s easy to overlook the fact that each hour, day, and week of your professional life adds up to a much larger picture. You’re constantly making choices to devote your creative energy to a cause, whatever it may be. When you log into your computer to work or take up the tools of your craft, you’re voting for the kind of future you want for yourself. Dedicated effort over time will always add up to progress, and it’s up to you to choose how you want to shape those efforts to meet your goals.

[via E.C.R. | 4ormat]

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Tom Foerstel : Founder & President

Tom Foerstel

Founder & President

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.


He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.


An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.


One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.