We may not all have that dream job that we love going to everyday, but it doesn't mean your work space has to be a nightmare. You can make your office or cubicle a place you enjoy spending time in, and feel at ease. Your work space should be more than just your chair and desk, where you spend countless hours working from project to project. Ultimately, it should be a place that sparks your creativity, fuels your productivity, and ignites your passions.
The goal is to create a space that is a refuge from the "perils" the work day can throw at you so you can focus on what matters most, your work. Things like stress from an overbearing boss, pressure from tight deadlines, or dealing with those annoying co-workers (like that loud talker two rows over that always uses his speaker phone for conference calls). These work "perils" can weigh you down, kill your drive, and hinder your progress.
Fortunately, creating your own personal work sanctuary doesn't require a huge effort or a big budget. Just adding these few key elements can easily transform your once stale and lifeless desk into a little hideaway where you find some peace and serenity.
1. Remove the Clutter
First off you need to make sure you start with a clean canvas by removing any unnecessary clutter from your desk. A cluttered desk can serve as a reminder of how chaotic your day actually is, and actually be a source of frustration more than anything else. Make use of drawers to store unused files there so they are out of the way. You can also invest in a desk organizer to keep papers neatly on top of your desk.
2. Make it Personal
Your work space should be an extension of you. Family photos, vacation souvenirs, or any personal items (office appropriate of course!) that you can think of should be a part of your work space. This serves two purposes: it builds a connection between your work space and the things that you love and mean most to you, and it also serves as a source of motivation, the answer to the "why" you come to work every day and work so hard, especially on those days when feel like calling in sick.
3. Mix in Some Inspiration
This piece compliments the previous point. Hanging up some inspirational quotes around your desk provides the narrative to the visuals you have in the form of photos, and objects. And truthfully, everyone now and then can use a little motivational kick in the pants to make it to lunch. Find your favorite quote on Pinterest or discover something new on Etsy or cubeappeal.com, where they have many downloadable prints for sale.
4. Add a Touch of Color
Fill your space with soothing colors that having a calming affect like blues and green. You don't need to go overboard, but hints of color here and there in the form of a mouse pad or tissue box can help create a peaceful environment that can help you get through those hectic days.
5. Become one with Nature
Even if you work in a concrete jungle, you can still have a connection to nature. Research has shown that plants can reduce stress. Place a plant or two on your desk to give your space a touch of nature. You don't have to have a green thumb to maintain them. There are many office friendly plants to choose from including, the Neon Pothos, and the Aglaonem, which don't need direct light (perfect if you don't have a window view), and only needs to be watered once a week. Succulents are another office-friendly plant that are low-maintenance and will live for a long time.
6. Bring in Some Fragrance
A true sanctuary will affect all your senses, so we can't forget your sense of smell. Essential oils like lavender and sweet orange stimulate the brain and trigger the release of endorphins that can help you feel more relaxed. While burning candles in the office is a definite no no, you can keep a small spray bottle with one of your favorite essential oils mixes to inhale when needed. You can find many great calming recipes online. Another option is to get a diffuser bottle with reeds to keep your desk sweetly scented for weeks. I'm sure your neighbors will appreciate it too.
7. Play Some Calming Sounds
Keep a set of headphones at your desk, and when needed play some calming instrumental music or sounds like waves or rain. There are many websites, including calmsound.com, and YouTube where you can access relaxing music. If you keep the volume on low, it provides the right amount of peaceful background music that can help drown out the noise and chaos of the office without breaking your focus.