The work spaces we occupy help shape our psychological well-being and our performance. Many of us spend 40+ hours working in the same space every week, so why not create an environment that’s productive and inspiring vs. dull and depressing.
Whether your work space is at a corporate office, coworking space, your home, or wherever you decide to be that day, these are the 5 things you can do to shape your work space into one that sparks your next great idea.
1. Make Sense Of Clutter
Studies have shown that a mess can cause stress. Clear your workspace of non-essentials for a clean slate. If that task seems daunting, try this quick tip: instead of tossing everything into the trash right away, put clutter into a box and reintroduce items only when needed. After a week, get rid of the rest. You’ll be surprised at how a simple exercise in decluttering can leave you energized.
2. Figure Out Your Noise Preference
Do you think best with or without noise? Do you prefer a little music or are you relaxed by white noise? For those of you who like a little quiet, earplugs or earphones can help drown out any unwanted sounds and help the mind focus on tasks at hand. If you work best with background noise, try using free apps like Calm that have a variety of sound and music options that can provide a unique soundtrack to your work day and help boost productivity.
3. Figure Out Your Working Position
Finding the right amount of comfort when working is our Goldilocks problem. To figure out your best working position for inspiration and productivity, consider how squirmy you are in general. If you feel stifled having to sit still in a chair for hours, give yourself more breaks to stand or perhaps a traditional chair isn’t for you. Instead, consider something that gives you more freedom to move around like a rolling chair, balance ball or even a standing desk. If your best work comes when you’re sitting in chair, make sure your seated position is set up correctly with your feet resting flat on the floor. Sometimes using a cushion under your seat and a foot rest under your feet can add relief in your back and neck when sitting in chairs. To combat the pains from sitting, check out our previous posts on quick fixes for common lower and upper body pains.
4. Create An Inspirational View
What you see around you can be the source or trigger for inspiration. Studies show that even something as simple as color can have a dramatic impact on your mood and how you work. For instance, the color yellow tends to trigger happiness, blue is calming, and orange stimulates the senses. But if you can’t control the colors of your environment, you can still surround yourself with images and pictures that trigger happy, peaceful and inspirational thoughts. For example, you can choose an image to set up as your desktop wallpaper, make actual wallpaper with Adobe Spark or strategically place photographs that inspire confidence around your desk. Also, for those of you who work at a coworking space or at a coffee house, be mindful of where your sit. Find a seat near a window or a good view of the interior (or facing the wall, if it helps you focus) and see what makes you happy. Whichever way you go, make that inspirational view front and center in your work space.
5. Have Fun
Who says work and play can’t exist together? Consider play as active recovery for your mind. Research has shown that productivity can increase up to 20% when you’re in a happier and lighter mood, so keep one fun item that makes you smile or curious. Silly putty and Etch A Sketch are a lot of fun and can get you working with your hands in a different way. To actively recover your mind, solve puzzles like Sudoku or read excerpts from inspirational books like “The Magic of Thinking Big”.
If the space around us can affect our mind and body, then we need to set up our work spaces with elements that can help us get focused and inspired. Try just a few of these adjustments the next time you sit down to work and you may start to see a better work lifestyle.