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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 September 24, 2020

                      How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

                      How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

                      The world of productivity has several hacks or tricks to help you manage your time: to-do lists, the Pomodoro Technique, Parkinson’s Law… All of these strategies are great strategies in their own way, but one strategy stands above all the others: the 80 20 rule.

                      This particular strategy has been used the most and is regarded as the most helpful in developing time management and other concepts in life.

                      But what’s so special about this rule? How does it give you success and how do you use it? Let’s explore the specifics.

                      What Is the 80 20 Rule?

                      Many people regard this rule as the 80 20 rule, but it has a proper name: the Pareto Principle[1]. The principle was named after its founder,  the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in society were divided into two categories:

                      • The “vital few,” which consisted of the top 20 percent with respect to money and influence.
                      • The “trivial many,” otherwise known as the bottom 80 percent.

                      As he researched this further, he came to discover that this divide didn’t apply only to money and influence, but other areas, too. Virtually all economic activity was subject to his previous observation.

                      He observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth at the time was controlled by only 20% of the population.

                      Since the development of this rule, humankind has used this particular ratio in all kinds of situations. Even if the ratio isn’t always exact, we see this rule applied in many industries and in life. Examples are:

                      • 20% of sales reps will generate 80% of your total sales.
                      • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
                      • 80% of the revenue will stem from 20% of the workers.

                      Either way, I’m sure you can piece together why people call this rule the 80 20 rule over Pareto’s Principle[2].

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                      Make Your Life and Your Business More Efficient with the 80-20 Rule - Salesforce Canada Blog

                        In terms of how this particular rule will be able to work for you, it’s a matter of applying this rule to how you spend your time. For us to see success, the goal is simple.

                        We need to set it up in such a way that 20% of our input is responsible for 80% of our results.

                        Another way to think about it is we use 20% of our time on activities that give us 80% of our results in a given area of life.

                        How Does the 80 20 Rule Work?

                        To best explain this, let’s visualize a bit.

                        In an ideal world:

                        • Every employee would contribute the same amount of effort to work.
                        • Every feature that’s released for an app or product would be equally loved by users.
                        • Each business idea you come up with would be a hit.

                        In that scenario, planning would be a breeze. There wouldn’t be any need to analyze anything so long as you put in the effort.

                        But that’s not reality.

                        Yes, the effort is certainly an element, but what the 80 20 principle states is that everything is unequal. Invest in 10 start-up companies, and you’ll find only a few will pass year two and make it big. You’re in a team of five, and there’ll be one person doing more work than others.

                        We wish our lives were always one-for-one in terms of input and output, but that’s simply not true. Understanding this is key to understanding how the 80 20 rule really works.

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                        So how does it really work?

                        It’s a matter of focusing on what’s giving you the most in your life for little of your time.

                        Going back to the few examples I’ve presented above, consider this:

                        • If two start-ups you invested in are making it big, focus on having a more direct hand, and see if you can help them prosper more.
                        • If 20% of sales reps are giving you 80% of your sales, focus on rewarding those and keeping their spirits high and motivated.

                        These scenarios can go on and on, but the idea is to place your efforts on the 20% that is actually making the difference in your life. Another term that’s good to know is the diminishing marginal utility[3].

                        Pareto didn’t come up with this one, but the law goes as follows: each extra hour of effort or worker will add less “oomph” to your finished results.

                        Eventually, you’ll hit a point where you will spend a lot of time on small and unimportant details, similar to perfectionism.

                        So before hitting that point, you want to have a laser focus on the most important details, from family and relationships to your work or business. Prioritize the activities that are going to move you forward the most, and be wary of adding extra time, effort, or more hands into those particular tasks moving forward.

                        How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule

                        So now that you have an understanding of the 80 20 rule and how it works, what is the best way to take advantage of it?

                        Depending on where you are applying this rule, this can be used in all kinds of fashions.

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                        For example, you can apply this rule to goal setting, as demonstrated by Brian Tracy in this video:

                        Or you can apply it in terms of general productivity as explained in this article: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

                        The core of this rule is that it forces us to ask ourselves the questions we wouldn’t consider otherwise. It helps us to place our focus in the right places with regards to all things in life.

                        In short, the 80 20 rule places us in charge of our lives and helps us set out on our goals and dreams. With this in mind, here are some things you can consider concerning this rule.

                        1. Focus on Your Big Tasks First

                        While this is the essence of the 80 20 rule, it’s still worth mentioning. Why? Because so many of us feel intimidated by the biggest task. We instinctively avoid it and opt for smaller tasks first.

                        We think that if we complete enough small tasks that we will feel motivated to finish that really big one later. But that’s really false hope at work.

                        Once we finish off a lot of small tasks, we either feel drained, or we tell ourselves we’ll do this the next day.

                        Instead of doing all that, bite the bullet and tackle the largest task first.

                        If you need help with prioritization, check out this article.

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                        I argue this by challenging you to ask yourself this one question:

                        “Is the task I’m about to do the top 20 percent of my activities or the bottom 80 percent?”

                        I’m sure you’ve seen time and again you or other workers spending a lot of time on one task for most of the day. In those kinds of grinds, you’re barely getting ahead and have next to nothing to show for it. That’s because they’re putting all their attention on work that’s in the 80 percent.

                        It’s normally the big tasks that are part of the 20 percent.

                        Another way to think about this is that everything we do starts a habit. If every day we spend our energy on low-value tasks, we will always prioritize those.

                        2. Stretch This Into Personal Life

                        While I’ve been talking about business and setting goals, remember you can use this in other areas of your life, too.

                        Take your personal life and ask yourself some of these questions:

                        • How much TV do you watch on a regular basis? What sort of shows are you legitimately into? These questions can help you in recognizing what shows you are watching purely for consumption. By applying the 80 20 rule, you can cut back on Netflix, TV, or YouTube video consumption and prioritize other areas of your life.
                        • What does your wardrobe look like in terms of colors? Are there specific colors that you like? Knowing what you wear most times will help you in sorting out your wardrobe significantly. It also saves you time to come up with what to wear every morning.
                        • How many newsletters do you actually read? This question can help you in figuring out which newsletters to unsubscribe to and can clear up a lot of space in your inbox. It can also relieve pressure from having to check your emails constantly.
                        • How much time do you spend on your phone every day? How much of that time is actually doing something meaningful? These questions can help you in clearing out various apps that aren’t helping you with your goals. In fact, this can curb the need to check your phone constantly.

                        Final Thoughts

                        The 80 20 rule is the productivity hack that many of us need, and for good reason. As you can tell, it’ll help you to focus and prioritize the more important aspects of your life.

                        Not only that, but it’ll maximize those outputs at the same time and ensure you’re not spending too much time working on them. All you need to do is start asking questions and taking action.

                        More Techniques to Help You Succeed in Life

                        Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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