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7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace

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7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace

    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 October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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