When you walk into your office, do you feel calm and relaxed or do you instantly tense up?
Ideally, your office should promote a sense of peace and well-being. After all, a large portion of your life is spent at work.
If your office is cluttered, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. On the other hand, if it is bland and boring, it can leave you feeling uninspired.
The way your office looks is only one part of the equation, however. It is also important to take into account the feeling that the space evokes. If you want to create a relaxing office space that promotes creativity and productivity, try using these 10 easy tips:
1. Keep your desk as clear as possible.
When papers, folders, or other items pile up on your desk, it can interfere with your focus, distracting you from the things that need to get done.
One way to counteract this problem is by making sure that the only items that are on your desk are the ones that you are currently using. Keep everything else tucked away out of sight. By doing so, you can increase your ability to focus and concentrate.
Although it can be challenging, identify the project that is your top priority. Then, put everything else away besides the materials related to that project. You may be surprised by how much easier having a clear desk makes it to stay on task and get things done.
2. Get rid of anything you don’t need.
Being surrounded by clutter can add extra stress to your day. Even if you don’t consciously look at or interact with the clutter, it can still make your space feel disorganized and crowded.
To clean up your space, start by clearing off the top of your desk. Set aside an afternoon to organize your office space. Then, spend the time filing papers and clearing out clutter.
To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by current projects, use stacking trays to sort your paperwork based on how urgent it is. Any papers that need to be filed should be placed in a tray of their own.
When organizing your accessories, think about how often you use each item, making sure that the most-used tools are easily accessible.
Starting out the day with an organized space can help get your workday off on the right foot. Usually, when your morning starts smoothly, you are less likely to run into problems later in the day.
3. Make comfort a priority.
It goes without saying that your office space should be ergonomically designed. There is a reason why so many companies are focused on ergonomics for their employees. They understand that repetitive strain injuries and other types of pain or problems caused by poor ergonomics can affect productivity and morale.
When setting up your space, make sure that your office chair is the right height so that both of your feet can sit flat on the floor. Sit upright, avoiding slouching. Position your keyboard at the right height. Your elbows should be bent at a 90° angle. If your chair has arms, make sure they are also adjusted to the right height to provide support.
If you need to reference documents while typing, make sure that they are positioned directly in front of you so that you don’t have to turn your head. Keep your wrists as straight as possible while typing. Avoid using a tight grip on your mouse, relaxing your hand instead.
Avoid positioning your monitor in front of a brightly lit window to minimize eyestrain. Additionally, make sure that the brightness and contrast setting on your monitor is adjusted correctly for the amount of light in the room.
Periodically rest your eyes throughout the day. Finally, to prevent eyestrain, make sure to set the font size on your screen at a large enough size that you don’t have to strain to read it.
4. Use music to relax.
Listening to the right type of music in the workplace can help you get more done. In most cases, this is a matter of personal preference. Experiment with several different types of music until you find one that helps you work more productively.
Check out iTunes for a lot of great radio stations that you can listen to for free. You may find that different types of music work better for different tasks. Again, the only way to find out is by experimenting with different artists and musical genres until you find one that works.
If you have an outdoor office garden, that can be a great place to spend your breaks and to gather yourself. Site beside the large outdoor fountain to get the most of your time.
5. Add personal touches to your space.
Bringing touches of your personal life into your work area can be a good reminder that there is more to life than work. For instance, placing a photo of your loved ones on your desk can give you the motivation you need to keep working toward your dreams.
It is important to design your office in a way that appeals to you. Consider, for a moment, that you spend close to a third of your life at work. Why wouldn’t you want your space to be as attractive and stimulating as possible?
Check out photos of office designs online and bookmark any that catch your eye. What features do your favorite spaces have in common?
You may find that adding live plants or fresh flowers to your space makes it more inviting. Photos, candles, and other decorative accessories can also go a long way toward creating a welcoming space.
6. Focus on one task at a time.
There is a common misconception that the best way to get more done is by multitasking. In fact, however, researchers have found that people perform best when they focus on one task at a time.
Even if you have excellent multitasking skills, you most likely can benefit from eliminating distractions and staying focused on the task at hand. Turn off your email notifications and put your smartphone away while you work so that you don’t get interrupted.
Every time a disruption draws you away from your work, it takes a long time for your brain to get back on track. It is also a lot easier to make mistakes when your attention is divided between multiple tasks.
A good way to plan out your day is by tackling your most important task first. Make a list of the top three things that you want to accomplish for the day. Then, decide which of those items is the most important. Start your day with that task, moving on to the others later in the day. Chances are, you will be far less stressed and will be able to get a lot more done than if you try to do everything at once.
7. Set aside time when you won’t be interrupted.
Designate a period of time each day that is completely free from disruptions.
For me, the early morning hours are usually my most productive time. Because of that, I try to stay extremely focused during those hours, dedicating myself to one task. Don’t allow things like incoming email messages or phone calls to derail you. Instead, block out distractions and maintain your focus until the block of time is up.
Depending on how busy your schedule is, you may not have a lot of time that you can devote to this type of uninterrupted work. That’s okay. Just set aside as much time as you can. Even if you only have half an hour, you can accomplish a lot when you are not being interrupted or distracted. Typically, it is best to keep this block of time shorter than two hours so that it doesn’t become too overwhelming.
8. Don’t allow your mind to wander.
Of all of the tips in this article, this one may be the hardest to stick to. Keeping your attention focused on the task at hand is a lot easier said than done. If you are like most people, your brain most likely wanders throughout the day, thinking about things that happened in the past or things that are going to happen in the future. If you can bring your attention to the present moment and focus only on what you are doing, you can get far more done.
Even more importantly, you can also eliminate a lot of the stress that you feel about your job. When you stay focused, you can complete tasks more quickly. Additionally, the likelihood of making any errors drops significantly. You may even catch problems with your work that you would have accidentally overlooked if your mind was wandering. Being mindful and keeping your focus on the present moment is something that takes practice. It is well worth the effort, however, since it can help you be a lot happier and more productive at work.
9. Treat yourself to mini spa treatments during your breaks.
Instead of just staring off into space during your break, try treating yourself to a mini spa treatment. Experiment with some of these relaxing ideas:
* Use steam and aromatherapy to relax. Fill a cup with steaming hot water and add a few drops of a relaxing essential oil such as lavender oil or peppermint oil to the cup. Next, place your elbows on the table and lean your head over the cup, doing your best to trap as much steam as you can near your face. Breathe deeply to allow the aroma of the essential oil and the warmth of the steam to relax your body and your mind.
* Take advantage of the relaxing benefits of acupressure. This ancient Chinese practice involves applying pressure to trigger points that are located throughout your body. One great acupressure technique that you can try is to firmly press your middle fingers on your temples. Begin slowly moving them in circles over your temple area. Next, move your fingers to the sides of your nose directly between your eyes. Gently move your fingers in an up-and-down motion to release tension.
* Go for a stroll. Taking a quick walk outside can do wonders to reinvigorate your mind and your body.
10. Listen to your needs.
Ultimately, when creating a zen workspace, you need to listen to your own needs. What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. Focus on finding strategies that you can use to make your space feel calmer and more relaxing, even if those strategies are a bit out of the mainstream.