Whether you work in an office, at home, from a share space, or elsewhere, creating a productive environment involves more than just a quiet space. Bringing a bit of Zen to your workspace can make you happier, healthier, and more focused.
- Make your workspace welcoming. Perhaps a small plant or succulent would brighten up your home desk. Or, move your desk to face a window so that you can see outside when you look up from your screens. Add a comfortable chair or couch to your space in a color you enjoy. Pictures of pets, family, or friends may offer a touch of warmth. But…
- Declutter your space. Extra objects, papers, old files, etc., cause distractions and stress. At the end of the day, take 3 minutes and tidy up your work space – close your computer, pile any loose papers which cannot be thrown away, organize sticky notes in a clear way. Small changes like those can make it more welcoming especially come Monday morning.
- Reduce noise distractions. If you work at home but find yourself distracted by the garbage pickup, honking cars, or noisy neighbors, consider using a white noise app to reduce outside noises. A small bubbling water feature could serve the same function. Earplugs or noise reducing headphones or earbuds make shared spaces and busy offices less distracting as well.
- A few times a day, get up from your desk. If you have a scheduled phone call, consider taking it outside if there is a private space where reception and noise do not interfere. If you work at home, sit in a different chair for a bit to change up the routine. Go for a mid-day walk over your lunch break if the weather is nice. If you have the option for earbuds or a headset, use them on longer calls so you can walk for a moment around the office or stand and stretch your back while talking for lengthy periods of time. Taking small moments like those inevitably lead to increased focus once you return to your work space.
- Obtain artwork or photos you enjoy for your space. Taking a few minutes to enjoy art or a photo of a place you vacationed to (or would like to vacation to) can give you a few moments of Zen. You do not need to spend a lot to accomplish this as there are numerous online sites to find reprints or other attractive pieces to frame for your office if you want to keep costs down.
- Block off your calendar and focus on one task at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed and distracted with calls, emails and staff constantly engaging with you throughout the day. Help yourself stay on track by blocking off time to simply catch up in the office and work on larger projects each week. Coordinate when you make phone calls or address emails during the day to try to group these tasks into a block of time, freeing up other blocks of time in the day to focus and concentrate. Schedule meetings with staff so they know that they will touch base with you on any outstanding questions at a certain time of the day so it minimizes more frequent interruptions or questions.
- Add light to your office. Obtain an attractive or interesting lamp that will add some light to your space to brighten your office on those gray, gloomy days or winter afternoons when the sun starts to go down early.
- Utilize technology to assist you in organizing your space, cases, calendar, and deadlines. Take the pressure off yourself by having reminders tell you when to break concentration and move on to the next task or call or assure a deadline will be met well in advance.