Make Your Workspace Work for You
I’m a “messy desk” person.
My flat-surface work area—complete with drawers, shelves, and push pins—has no organization. It’s smattered with items to spark my creativity, set a tone, and bring out my best for each project. All these things, though great as inspiration, can also hinder my ability to relax and focus on my day-to-day tasks.
As Albert Einstein so profoundly pointed out, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” I find solace in this insight as I start each workday. Reminders, small notes, and work-related images are always close at hand. For me, the chaos is freeing. I do better work when I’m not obsessing over neatness.
But not everyone works well in chaos, and even I can get overwhelmed by disorder. When desk distractions block my focus, I know it’s time to reset my personal workspace to recreate an environment for productivity.
What is Productivity, Anyway?
Work hours are rife with interruptions: emails, meetings, software updates. We all face different struggles to stay on task. And although improving productivity may not be a concern for some, work habits, systems, and current office arrangements affect everyone’s productivity. Studies show the physical office environment directly influences work performance.
An expert at creating habits, James Clear addresses the assumption that productivity means accomplishing more each day. To him, “productivity is getting important things done consistently.” Instead of racing to complete assignments, focus on maintaining speed, motivation, and attention to your work.
Inspire Your Workspace
Mindset and emotion are accelerators of productivity. If not handled with care, your work may reflect a lack of balance and clarity.
To give your uninspired workspace a lift, consider the Danish sensation of hygge. It’s all about creating an atmosphere of home to incite feelings of relaxation and joy, finding pleasure in the ordinary. Experiencing beauty and ease—whatever that means to you—can powerfully restore productivity.
While hygge may bring to mind cups of tea, neutral colors, and cozy sweaters, it can also apply to your workspace. Whether you work in an office, cubicle, or your favorite corner at home, make it your own personal, charming space.
Hygge For You
What makes you feel good in your workspace? It’s likely your idea of the perfect work atmosphere is very different than your colleagues’. Being mindful of your needs in your environment and focusing on key daily practices can work wonders for your productivity.
Here are a few suggestions:
Bring the Outdoors In
Lush greenery in the workplace can help to reduce stress and promote a calm relaxation.
If your workspace lacks the right conditions for a plant to thrive, stick with the color green. According to color psychology, green produces a calming effect. Add a splash of green with a fun, decorative accent. Throw some mint-inspired paint on a wall, or encourage your management team to use greenery around the office.
Create a System to Remove Distraction
Phones and devices lead the charge when it comes to distraction, both at work and at home. Technology enhances our communication and experiences, yet, it frequently takes us away from the task at hand.
Airplane mode or “do not disturb,” settings can help stop the inflow of calls and texts, or find an app with a productivity timer. End the urge to pick up your phone. Instead, use this time to tune in, prioritize, and clear your mind.
Tune In and Tune Out
Music sets a tone for your environment. Use it to motivate, energize, or keep you company as you aim to work at an even pace. It reflects how you feel in the moment. If you control your office tunes, create a mindful, uplifting environment.
Nurture Work Connections
Hygge is about connecting to what’s important. Get in touch with what makes you feel good in your space and in the workplace—and remember, your colleagues and teammates are part of your environment, too. Foster authentic relationships to build trust and a level of collaboration that extends far beyond your cubicle.
Surround Yourself with Your “Why”
Life is so much more than work. Reconnect with your inner self to discover what’s really important. Stay motivated by surrounding yourself with reminders that reward your hard work—personalized calendars with photos of your loved ones or an image of an upcoming trip.
Change Up Your Environment
Most of our workday is spent at a desk or in a conference room. Why not find alternative areas to work? Use the office couch to do research or take your computer outside to enjoy some sun while you crank through emails. Breaking out of the norm shifts your perspective and can give you a boost of creative energy.
Be mindful of how you design your workday. From the way you prioritize your work tasks to your physical surroundings, a thoughtful approach is your first step to enhance your productivity.
What makes you feel motivated in your workspace? Comment below to share your favorite hygge-inspired practices for a more mindful workday.