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7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace

7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace
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    While many people claim that they thrive in high-stress environments, others work best in some place that is relaxing and tranquil.  Changing your job might not be an option if it is a high-stress position by nature, but you can still optimize your workspace to make it a more relaxing place to spend your time and do your work, in turn reducing your stress levels and increasing your productivity.  The biggest key to creating a relaxing workspace is styling it in a way that makes you happy.  If it feels right to you, then you’re on the right path.  Keeping that in mind, here are my seven tips for creating a more relaxing workspace:

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    1. Get rid of the clutter. All those stacks of paper strewn about your desk make you look not only disorganized, but also stressed out and perhaps even overwhlemed.  While they don’t have to go into the trash can, but they should be sorted and organized into file folders inside your desk, or somewhere else hidden from view.  The only papers on your desk should really just be those that are directly related to your current task. If you do nothing else, do this.  Many people will notice a dramatic improvement in their productivity once the clutter is gone.
    2. Invest in a quality, comfortable chair. If you are going to be chained to your desk, you’ll want to be comfortable.  If you’re constantly fidgeting because you can’t get comfortable in your seat, you’re going to be distracted and less attentive.  Try petitioning to your supervisor to get you a good once, but if you can’t pull that off you might want to consider getting one yourself.  Head out to an office supply store and actually try out all the chairs to find one that you like.  Don’t just pick whatever’s on sale or what looks like it might be comfortable. Try it before you buy it!
    3. Get a small fan. Office buildings with recirculated air can get stuffy and stale.  Combat that with a small fan on your desk that will help keep air circulating in your workspace.  It’ll also come in handy when things get warm and the air temperature isn’t quite to your liking.  I know I have a hard time concentrating when I’m breathing in stale or warm air and it affects my work. A fan really helps!
    4. Go green. By this I don’t mean you need to invest in biodegradable or recycled materials.  I mean add a little green to your workspace in the form of plants.  Fake plants will not fit the bill, so don’t even bother with them.  Instead, pick up only real, live, oxygen-generating plants.  It’ll help with the stale air issue, but will also help liven things up and make it a more inviting space.
    5. Tweak your lighting. Is it too bright or not bright enough?  Adding more light to your work area is easily accomplished by adding a desk lamp.  Making it darker can be trickier if you don’t have your own office or aren’t working from home, but if either of these situations apply to you, if you feel more comfortable in the dark, by all means, go for it and turn out the lights.  If you work in a cubicle, you’ll likely have to suck it up and deal with the lighting you’ve got.
    6. Add some noise. Working in a completely silent area can be quite distracting for some people, so adding in a little noise can help.  The kind of “noise” you will want to add depends entirely on your tastes.  Some people could benefit from music, while others might enjoy the simplicity of a desktop water fountain and the relaxing sound of flowing water.  You may need to experiment with the type of music you listen to before you find one that fits.  Some music might be too distracting, so keep trying until you find something that helps relax you without distracting you.
    7. Personalize your space. Looking at your work area, would a stranger be able to learn anything about you?  Is it devoid of a personality?  If  so, you might need to spruce it up a bit to make you feel more at home.  Family photos are a big personal item you’ll find on a lot of people’s desktops, but there are many other ways you can make your space your own.  Trade that boring desk calendar for one with a little more flair, get yourself some colorful paperclips and a fun mousepad, or tack up your favorite comic strip on the wall.7

    Considerations for those who work from home:

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    Creating a more relaxing work environment can be a little bit different if you work from home.  In this case, you’ll want to make sure your work area is relaxing, but not too relaxing, and located somewhere you won’t be constantly interrupted.  You might not need the family photos since they’re just down the hall, but they’re still a nice touch. Otherwise, the tips above can be applied to your home office as well.

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    Julie McCormick

    Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brain Power How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide) How to Continue Reading the New York Times Online For Free How to Get Around Facebook’s New Photo Viewer 7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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