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Published on October 19, 2017

10 Motivational Workplace Items to Brighten Your Day at the Office

10 Motivational Workplace Items to Brighten Your Day at the Office

It’s nearly impossible to feel motivated at work all the time. Sitting down at your desk after lunch can seem like one of the most challenging parts of the day. You’ve worked hard all morning, your belly is full, and now you’re tired. Maybe you feel the pressure of a deadline looming over you, and instead of knocking out the work, you can’t bring yourself to start it.

Motivational challenges become even greater when you don’t particularly enjoy your job, or when you’re tasked to do something you dislike. You can be the most energetic person in the world, but when faced with work that makes you unhappy, your energy level will plummet.

Changing your environment can increase your energy

If you’re the person dragging yourself from project to project without any enthusiasm, it may be worthwhile to look at your environment. Is your work-space dirty or disorganized? An office space that looks bad, smells bad, or makes you feel uncomfortable and unwelcome could be contributing to your lack of energy.

Our environment can serve as a reflection on us, but it can also influence our mindset. Research has shown that creating a positive and motivating work station can contribute to our success, while working in cluttered and unwelcoming environments can keep us down. UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families did a study that proved that clutter affected stress levels, mood, and self esteem. [1]

Artwork can also impact your effectiveness. Surrounding yourself with creative works inspires more creativity. Warm scenes can be comforting to you. A survey suggested that 83% of employees found that artwork was an important part of the work environment.[2]

Keeping objects that inspire comfort and happiness improve your motivation and productivity.[3] The average workday takes up at least 1/3 of your time. It makes sense that making your workstation inviting and filling it with messages of encouragement will improve your mood and your work.

10 Items to bolster your motivation at work

Here at Lifehack, we’ve tracked down ten items that would make great additions to your office. These practical goodies harness the power of language to brighten your environment, inspire you, or make you laugh. Happy, motivated, and passionate workers are more productive, and they have more fun too.

1. Inspirational Pen Set

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    You can never have too many pens, but these inspirational pens by Sweet Water Decor add a splash of color and positivity to your day. You won’t have to look far to get motivated.

    Inspirational pens by Sweet Water Decor $18.00

    2. Ban.do design Compliment Postcard Book

      Frame these compliment postcards to display around your work space, or use them to send positive vibes to your coworkers.

      Compliment Postcard book by Ban.do Design $10.00

      3. 30 Day Challenge Notepad

        Sometimes we just need a little reminder to savor the good things and live life to the fullest. Remind yourself by taking the 30-day challenge. Each sheet contains a simple phrase that you can use to set the right tone for your day.

        30-Day Challenge Notepad by Urban Outfitters $12.00

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        4. New Look Dream Big Pin Board with Cloud Pegs

          This pin board is fun and functional. Use it as a vision board, or tack up photos and quotes that make you happy.

          New Look Dream Big Pin Board with Cloud Pegs by ASOS $21.00

          5. The Monster Mug of Motivation

            Add some quirky and cute monsters to your coffee break. With monsters encouraging you with sayings like, “Keep doing the thing,” it’ll be hard not to smile and keep moving forward.

            The Monster Mug of Motivation by Katie Abey Design $13.85

            6. You Got This Motivation Book

              Take a look at this book when you need a confidence boost, or select a favorite quote to motivate you throughout your day.

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              You Got This Motivation Book by ASOS $11.50

              7. Knock Knock Today’s Plan of Attack Great Big Stickies

                Add a little humor to the task of prioritizing your work. These giant sticky notes can help you stay focused during those busy times.

                Today’s Plan of Attack Big Stickies by Knock Knock $5.92

                8. Conquer Your Year: The Ultimate Planner

                  Break down your big goals into actionable steps and keep track of everything you need to do with this planner. There’s plenty of room to think and reflect in these pages.

                  Conquer your year: The Ultimate Planner by Natalie MacNeil $8.98

                  9. Paper Lovers Book: Inspiration

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                    Make office art from your favorite quotes and patterns, create greeting cards, and make fun paper gifts to brighten your coworker’s day. Easily switch out your crafts so that you always have something fresh and new to decorate your office.

                    Paper Lover’s Book: Inspiration by Kikki.K $29.95

                    10. Andaz Press Motivational Framed Desk Art, Do Epic Shit

                      For a quick pick-me-up, this framed desk art bears a simple reminder about the type of work you should be doing. Next time you hit that 2:00 PM slump, look at your desk art, and make epic things happen.

                      “Do Epic Shit.” Motivational Desk Art by Andaz Press $12.99

                      Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Brian Lee

                      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                      Last Updated on July 19, 2018

                      What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

                      What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

                      If you have so many things to do that you often find yourself struggling to finish projects and tasks and move on to other stuff, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that over 20 percent of the adult population put off or avoid doing certain tasks by allowing themselves to be overtaken by distractions.[1]

                      What about the rest of the population? What do they do to prevent procrastination?

                      In this article, I am going to explain to you why procrastination is so difficult to beat and how you can stop procrastinating once and for all by following a step-by-step guide. But first, you need to understand how procrastination happens.

                      What is procrastination

                      Piers Steel, the author of the book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, defines procrastination in this way:[2]

                      “Procrastination is to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.”

                      In other words, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. The end result is that important tasks are put off to a later time.

                      This comic is one of the typical examples of procrastination:

                        Why stopping procrastination is difficult

                        Human beings have limited self-control. Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychologist from Florida State University, has been studying self-control and he has found that just like any muscles, human’s self-control is a limited resource that can quickly become exhausted.[3] When self-control is close to being depleted, human tend to choose what’s more pleasurable– the immediate procrastinated tasks instead of the actual works.

                        At its core, procrastination is an avoidance strategy. Procrastinators choose to do something else instead of doing what they need to do because it’s much easier to choose pleasure over pain.

                        In short, procrastination is so difficult to beat because it is a battle against human’s natural enemy, a human weakness that is in-born.

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                        A step-by-step guide to stop procrastinating

                        Despite the fact that it’s human nature to seek for immediate rewards and procrastinate, here I have a step-by-step guide for you to follow so as to stop procrastinating.

                        1. Identify your triggers: the 5 types of procrastinator

                        Identifying the type of procrastination you personally experience is an essential step for you to fix the problem at its root.

                        Take a look at this flowchart here to find out what type of procrastinator you are:

                          Which type of procrastinator are you? Let’s take a look at the triggers for your procrastination type:

                          Perfectionist

                          Being perfect is the pleasure perfectionists want. But often this leads to them being too scared to show any imperfections. Because of this, they frequently fail to complete things, as they’re forever seeking the perfect timing or approach. Tasks end up never being completed, because in the eyes of the perfectionist, things are never perfect enough.

                          Instead of finishing something, perfectionists get caught up in a never-ending cycle of additions, edits, and deletions.

                          Ostrich

                          An ostrich prefers to stay in the dreaming stage. That way, they don’t have to work for real, or deal with any negativity or stress.

                          Dreaming gives this type of people a false sense of achievement, as in their minds, they envision big, ambitious plans. Unfortunately for them, these plans will most likely stay as dreams, and they’ll never accomplish anything truly worthwhile.

                          Self-saboteur

                          A self-saboteur has bought into the line that ‘by doing nothing, bad things won’t happen.’

                          In reality, self-saboteurs have developed a fear of making mistakes or doing anything wrong. Their way to avoid these mishaps, is to do nothing at all. In the end, they may make few mistakes – but they also see few accomplishments.

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                          Daredevil

                          Daredevils are those who believe that deadlines can push them to do better. Instead of having a schedule to complete their work – they prefer to enjoy time doing their own thing before the deadline comes around.

                          It’s most likely an unconscious thing, but daredevils evidently believe that starting early will sacrifice their time for pleasure. This is reinforced in their minds and feelings, by the many times they manage to get away with burning the midnight oil. Often they sacrifice the quality of their work because of rushing it.

                          Chicken

                          Chickens lack the ability to prioritize their work. They do what they feel like they should do, rather than thinking through what they really need to do.

                          Prioritizing tasks is a step that takes extra time, so chicken will feel it’s not worth it. Because of this, they usually end up doing a lot of effortless tasks that don’t contribute much to a project. They’re incessantly busy on low-impact tasks, but seem oblivious to urgent, high-impact tasks.

                          2. Face your triggers and get rid of them

                          Whether it’s fear of failure, overwhelming feelings, avoidance or convincing yourself you’re just too busy to get something done, you can improve your ability to be productive by eliminating your procrastination triggers.

                          For Perfectionists, re-clarify your goals.

                          Much of the time procrastination tendencies form simply because we’ve outgrown our goals. We’re ever-changing and so are our wants in life. Try looking over your goals and ask yourself if they’re still what you want.

                          Take time out to regroup and ask yourself what you really want to achieve:

                          • What steps do you need to take?
                          • Is what you’re currently doing reflecting what you want?
                          • What do you need to change?

                          Write things down, scribble them out and rewrite.

                          For Ostriches, do the difficult tasks first.

                          Even if you feel you’re not a morning person, the beginning of the day is when your brain is most productive. Use this window of time to get the more difficult stuff done.

                          If you leave your difficult tasks to later, you’re much more likely to put it off because you’re tired and lack motivation.

                          Finishing lots of simple tasks at the beginning of the day such as reading all the new emails only gives you a false sense of being productive.

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                          For Self-saboteurs, write out a to-do (and a not–to-do) list each day.

                          Writing things down is powerful and psychologically increases your need to get things done.

                          Each day, make a habit of creating a list of the tasks you know you’ll try and avoid. By doing this, it brings these ‘difficult’ tasks to your mind’s attention instead of keeping them locked away somewhere in your avoidance mode.

                          Remember, think how satisfying and productive it feels to cross of a completed task.

                          For Daredevils, create a timeline with deadlines.

                          It’s common to have a deadline for a goal which seems like a good idea. But this is basically an open invitation for procrastination.

                          If it’s a self-created deadline with no pressure, we tend to justify pushing it back each time it comes into sight and feel we haven’t yet done ‘enough’ to get there.

                          Create a bigger timeline then within that, establish deadlines along the way. The beauty of this comes when each deadline completion is dependent on the next. It keeps you on track and keeps you accountable for being in alignment with the overall timeline.

                          For Chickens, break tasks into bite-sized pieces.

                          A lot of the time procrastination comes from overwhelming thoughts.

                          If something feels too big to tackle and we don’t know where to start, it feels like a struggle. This is also true if our goal is too vague and lacking direction.

                          Break down larger tasks into smaller ones and turn them into daily or weekly goals. Smaller steps may seem like the slower approach to achieving a goal, but it often leads you much more quickly to where you want to be due to the powerful momentum you get going.

                          3. Take planned breaks

                          The human brain isn’t designed to work continuously on the same task and this could be a reason for procrastination.

                          Make sure you take regular, structured breaks away from your task so that you can come back refreshed and ready to be more productive.

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                          A break as short as 5 minutes is enough to keep your mind sharp and wards off fatigue. I recommend you to use the Pomodoro Time Tracker. It is a great tool to help you take breaks at set intervals. Simply start the 25-minute timer, and follow the prompts.

                            4.  Reward yourself

                            It’s important to acknowledge and reward yourself for achieving even the small tasks. It creates a sense of motivation and releases those feel-good, productive emotions that spur you on to achieve even more.

                            Make your reward proportional to the task you completed so getting a bite-sized task done gets you a cup of your favourite coffee or snack. Then plan a weekend away or fun activity for the bigger stuff.

                            Personally I try to make staying focus more fun by using the app Forest. It turns productivity into a game. In the game, you can plant a virtual tree at the beginning of your work time. If you maintain focus for the duration of the timer, you’ll grow a tree to add to your forest. It’s rewarding when you can eventually grow a forest.

                              5. Keep track of your time in a smart way

                              If you want to prevent the bad habit of procrastination from coming back, keep track of the time you spend every day.

                              By having a clear idea of where you spend your time, you can always review your productivity and know which areas to improve.

                              It’s not easy to keep track of every minute you spend throughout the day so I recommend you to use the app Rescue Time.

                              It gets you a categorized breakdown of how you spend your time and helps you to find out how much time you’re really on-task. You can even label activities as productive and non-productive so as to block your biggest distractions.

                                Make procrastination under your control

                                Procrastination exists for many reasons and only you know for yourself what these triggers are.

                                Understanding what procrastination really is and the source of your avoidance tendencies is important in moving them out of the way and help you start the productivity momentum.

                                Reference

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