How To Harmonise Your Work Space
The new year is a great time evaluate your work space, and whether you work from home or in an office there are a few things you can do to ensure your desk or office or work space are creating the right environment for you to be more productive and inspired.
Working from a plain old office desk and seeing nothing but cubicle walls, bland stationary and fluorescent lighting let's face, is hardly a motivating environment. So I've tried to put together a few tips which will work for pretty much any desk space.
I believe that if you can make your work space work for you then you'll be in a better mindset from the moment you start work and using the right energy in your work - which helps your overall work life harmony.
De-Clutter Your Desk For A De-Cluttered Mind
Step one to a more harmonised work space is decluttering. Obviously! It's the best place to start. Last week I went ruthless and threw away so much that was filling my drawers and files (and floor) around my desk. I found lots of free branded tote bags I'd picked up at exhibitions, most still full of leaflets and free branded pens and post it notes.
Spend some time properly going through what you need and file things you want to keep properly so you can find them easily. Go through your drawer full of pens, staplers and paper clips and see what works, what you've got duplicates of and what can go.
Get right under that desk and sort out your cables and wires. Take a dust cloth and clean everything. Don't forget your keyboard, apparently they harbour so many germs! Then take a step back and admire your de-cluttered space.
I find this is such a good thing to do when you're feeling unmotivated, it's a great way to take some time, it will require some movement from you, you may even work up a sweat! It's been proven that de-cluttering is linked to happiness too and there's no doubt you'll be happier when your work space looks spic and span.
Use Scent To Create The Mood You Require
The best present I got this Christmas was an essential oils diffuser from my boyfriend's mum. I was over the moon and I knew it had to go in my working area. It's one of those diffusers that changes colour as it gently lets out a soft aroma that fills the room without being overpowering.
Ok, so it's nice to have a nice smelling space, but there are many more benefits to using essential oils, especially for creating harmony in your work space.
Oils are a safer alternative to candles and incense, which you probably won't be allowed if you work in a communal office. If you've not seen one before they come in all sorts of shapes and colours, mine is plain white and shaped like a smooth pyramid. You fill a chamber with water and just add a few drops of oil. The diffuser then does its thing, letting out a soft mist.
You can find so many different scents and they key here is to use an oil to set the mood you want for the next few hours. For example, in the morning I like to have something uplifting, to help wake me up and keep me inspired. So I choose an oil like sweet orange or jasmine to help create that.
In the afternoon or if I'm working late and trying to wind down then I will switch to something like chamomile or lavender, and this is great especially for people who work from home as it will help you make that transition from work-zone to home-zone.
There are so many uses for different oils, they can even help combat illness and deter mosquitoes! It's definitely worth doing a little research about what oils will work for you, and make sure you buy high quality oils, they may cost a bit more but you only ever use a few drops at a time and they last for ages. Your work colleagues will thank you for it when they are working in a beautiful smelling office space!
Create A Vision Or Inspiration Board
I love collecting pictures of things that inspire me, and hanging on to photos taken at events I've enjoyed and pinning them to my cork pinboard. If you've ever seen a video of me while I'm sat at my desk you may have spotted my pinboard in the background.
Cork boards are super cheap and light - which makes them ideal for anyone working in an office because if you ever leave or switch desks you can easily carry it with you.
So many people credit vision boards for making their goals a reality, and by having inspiring pictures close by, where you can see them both consciously and subconsciously ever day, will help bring your visions to life.
A few tips when creating a vision board - don't just put pictures of big houses and flash cars on there. You want the board to represent how you want to feel, not just what you want, so think about things that have made you feel good; maybe a beautiful salon you've visited or a comfy chair and book. Also try to make your board represent what you'd like from career, family and spirituality, I like to place a big emphasis on wellbeing on my board and include quotes that make me feel inspired and uplifted. There are no rules around this so include what you want, change things when you feel like it and even include items like jewellery if it takes your fancy. I had a beautiful teabag wrapper pinned to mine for ages!
I prefer to create my vision board over time, rather than feeling the pressure to sit down and do it all at once. This way whenever I see something I like I can cut it out or save it to add to the board, and it means everything on there is carefully selected. Occasionally I go on a hunt for the perfect image - right now I'm looking for a photo of Jessica Pearson from Suits as I love her strong yet fair character and seeing her every day would remind me of how I like to behave in work!
Theme Your Work Space And Be Brand You!
What I mean by this is think about you as a brand. I know plenty of people find this hard to do, but think about your personality, your character and what you represent. What colours would fit with that? What words? What textures or fabrics? If you can bring any of that to life in your work space then it's not only showing a representation of you; but it will help you feel more authentic in your work space and with how you operate.
Quite accidentally I realised all of my stationary matched my website theme colours; peach and teal. In fact if I think back over the years these colours have shown up in my life a lot, as bedspreads or my coffee cups and I think the positive colours have reinforced who I am as a person - pretty colourful and positive!
Theming your work area will also help to keep it looking decluttered and make it a more welcoming environment for you to be in. My theme colours range from a few coloured pens, my daily planner and a few choice images on my vision board. They help to bring my entire workspace together.
Get A Salt Lamp
If you're not sure what a salt lamp is you may have seen one in a crystal shop or similar type of place. They essentially look like golden rocks, with a bulb fitted inside which creates a yellow glow (or white ones are available). It's not a bright light, more of a soft candle light, so it's not really designed to light up your office space, but it really does have multiple benefits.
When switched on, Salt lamps have a remarkable effect. They neutralise positive ions in the atmosphere (which are actually negative; they're bad for you!) and is apparently great for combating the symptoms of asthma and various baddies that lurk in the air around lots of technology. The salt; from the Himalayas is also said to help prevent colds, help you sleep better and improve blood flow and many people swear by their invisible magical properties.
If that's not enough, they omit such a calming, warm glow, that when the dark winter days are upon us you can switch it on and feel wrapped in a cocoon of golden light, and your colleagues will be jealous!
Use Headphones When You Need To Zone Out
I used to work in a big open plan office and as a naturally chatty person I was always easily distracted. Weirdly though, I found I could concentrate with loud music on, I just had a way of being able to zone out the music, it almost became like white noise to me.
I mostly work from home now so don't have the problem of having to block things out any more, but I'd really recommend a pair of headphones for when you need to get in the zone or even for when you want to change your mood, lift yourself up or calm yourself down. There's also plenty of white noise apps, and great playlists on Spotify with titles like "Deep Focus" which I like because there are no lyrics - which I know people can find distracting!
Did you like these tips?
I'd love to know the ways you create more harmony in your work space: let me know in the comments or post a picture of your desk on Instagram and tag me in it!
Got any more suggestions? Let me know and I'll add them to the blog.
If you want to think about what else you can do to promote your own work and life harmony then check out my Free Online Workshop - the Values Wheel. This short exercise will look at how you balance certain behaviours and habits, which could be having an impact on either your work or your personal life.