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Is Your Office Space Stressing You Out? Here are 5 Tips to Declutter And Destress

Is Your Office Space Stressing You Out? Here are 5 Tips to Declutter And Destress

A recent survey found that as many as 8 in 10 Americans are stressed out about their jobs. That means, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance your work is causing you stress.

But why is work so stressful? For a lot of people, just the idea of going to the office causes angst. In fact, as many as 78% of people get Sunday night anxiety about going to work on Monday. The problem could be the office space itself. It could be that it’s too small, too cluttered, and too loud. This may not sound like much, but for many, this can be the root cause of workplace stress. Studies have shown that your environment affects your mood and your health, so creating the a positive office environment might be the key to getting rid of some of your stress.

If your office space is stressing you out, try out these 5 ideas and see if you can’t transform your environment (and your mood) for the better:

1. Declutter your desk

You may have heard the old Einsteinism, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

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Proponents of this way of thinking will often tell you that people with messy desks are more creative. This may be true, but it’s good to remember that they’re not creative because of their messy desks, it’s just that creative people tend to be disorganized. Messy people also tend to be more stressed than they appear. Maybe that’s why, in her book, “The LIfe-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie Kondo says that “visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.” So organize your desk! How you do so is up to you—it’s the thought that counts. People with organized desks are often:

  • Less likely to commit a crime
  • Less likely to litter
  • More likely to show generosity
  • More likely to give to charity

The above traits are all associated with happy, unstressed people.

2. Get organized online

No one likes working with a control freak, but maintaining a level of control in your life (and in your office) matters to your mental health. Even small degrees of control, especially in chaotic office environments, can make all the difference in lowering stress.

This is also true for digital spaces. Try to find a place for everything you use online and use software that helps you stay organized. This may sound obvious, but so many people function with disorganized file folders and inefficient routines. This will help you develop better digital habits that make things more streamlined in future.

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In addition, organizing your day the night before (with calendars and blocks of time), can help you break things down into digestible chunks that are less intimidating.

You might even end up saving yourself a lot of time. The 40-hour work week is a relic. People are working an extra 7 hours a week on average, with nearly 1 in 5 working over 60 hours a week. A little more organization could go a long way towards a shorter work day.

3. Don’t rely on caffeine

Offices promote some very unhealthy behavior in Americans. Bad posture and bad vision are often the easiest to identify, but few people point out one of the greatest offenders: the coffee pot.

On average, Americans drink 3.1 cups of coffee a day. That’s quite a lot of caffeine. While we all need a burst of energy sometimes, but coffee might not be the best place to get it. Studies show that caffeine from coffee lasts longer than we thought and can be a leading cause of compounding stress. So the more trips you make to the coffee machine, the more stress builds up inside. It’s worth exploring options that keep your body and brain decluttered. If you’re suffering from a lack of energy, your problem might just be a lack of vitamin D.

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4. Schedule out-of-office time

Taking breaks for your brain is good. When you take a break, you deactivate your brain. When you return, you activate it. This back and forth allows you to refocus your goals and not overthink anything.

Studies have also shown that people who give themselves time for a 30-minute walking break from work were generally more enthusiastic and relaxed while being less stressed. And you shouldn’t just take small breaks, either—4 in 10 americans don’t take their full vacation time. This is a big mistake. Take your vacations. They’re good for you!

5. Find a quiet space

For focused, highly productive work—it’s best to find a quiet space to think. But that can be difficult when 70% of companies feature an open-floor plan. This can lead to a lot of stress. In this digital age of hyper-productivity, we require quite, relaxed spaces without distractions to think and function. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of every quiet space you can around the office. Otherwise, the overwhelming white noise might just drown you out your thoughts.

But those spaces may not be in your office, or even in the same building. If that’s the case, you might think about taking “off-sites” once in awhile. A change of scenery can be the best way to boost your productivity.

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Moving on, without stress

Your environment matters. Whether it’s a cluttered desk, a noisy office, or just antsy, caffeine-addicted coworkers that can’t stop watching YouTube videos, our office environment greatly impacts our work productivity.

The secret to staying decluttered and destressed is to recognize the impact that clutter and stress has on you, take positive steps to reduce that impact. This will help you live as healthy and stress-free a life as possible.

Featured photo credit: https://picjumbo.com/ via picjumbo.com

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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