The act of turning the places where we work into places that we love, can transform our own lives, and will in turn positively affect the lives of everyone around us." –Denise Linn, feng shui expert
When I first entered the world of 9 to 5, coming out of years of retail, I was singing praises of no longer working weekends and late nights. Then I laid my eyes upon... cubicles. Perfectly lined work spaces of drab colors, fluorescent lighting and piled up paperwork instantly said yawn city. Leaving an industry that screamed bold colors, loud music on the sales floor and fun visual elements for days I was a little stunned at how uninspiring this all looked. I was determined in that moment to make my first cubicle the most creative space I could. One that would keep me inspired and my brain wide awake without a giant cup of coffee.
Research says our emotions have a serious impact on what we bring to the table in our work life. As someone who helps others embrace their space I've always believed that there is a deep connection to the spaces that we live and work in, and the way that we feel. Lack of color, disorganization and the lack of our personality within a space translates to- less energy and lack of focus. While the types of work spaces vary from cubicles and shared spaces, to our very own corner office, the idea is to cultivate that inner "go getter" inside of all of us but also create that balance between our inner hustle and feeling at peace in our space. Design, function, color and organization help get us there to create a space that excites us rather than leaves us running for hills in search of motivation.
Visualize Your Ideal Space, Make it About How You Want to Feel
Every space starts with a vision. Take a few minutes to visualize how you would like the space to feel and function for you. Always important to remember- if it feels right, it is right rather than if it looks right, it is right. How your environment makes you feel is more important than how it looks. This is the first step in creating a work space that will provide you with the right amount of good productive energy.
Remember that you are designing a space which has yet to be created, and you want it to support the specific activity intended for that space. Invite in pictures, quotes and anything that inspires you. Carving out an area to display what motivates, inspires and ignites your spirit is important. A bit of you, everywhere you look, flowing through your work space will allow for focus and motivation. Yes it's about you, so personalize this space. Just the right touch of function and organization will also provide the push you need to avoid Sunday nights spent dreading the upcoming hours you have to spend in your boring work space.
Color is Key
One of the easiest ways to shift your energy in a space is through color. While you certainly can't grab a can of paint and get to work on revamping the interiors of some work spaces, you certainly can be selective about color when deciding on which ones you'd love to showcase. From the accessories on your desk including storage and shelving, to folders and filing cabinets the colors can be bright, bold or neutral tones. Whichever you prefer.
Color is typically divided into three categories- bright, cool and neutral tones. If you are opting for reds, yellows and orange you are instantly cultivating a space that elevates mental energy, clarity and focus. Yellow is actually the color of wisdom, a clear mind and tolerance. All good qualities to possess in a work space. Cool tones such as blue, green and purple generally create quiet, relaxing atmospheres. When opting for neutral tones like grays and white keep in mind that these colors promote a quiet atmosphere of self restraint, always a good choice in the event your neighbor over the wall isn't so fun. Neutral tones will keep you centered in your zen like cubicle.
There are no rules to the color scheme, it really is dependent upon what you're drawn to and what you feel is going to be a tool that allows you to flourish in your work space.
Bring in Earth Elements
Inviting in Earth elements is so important when you are wanting to create a strong and supportive environment with long lasting energy- rather than quick bursts of it. When you are feeling a bit scattered, being surrounded by Earth elements does have the power to bring you back to center and keep you focused. This includes images of beaches, nature and even a photo of somewhere you visited outdoors that made you feel calm.
If you can have indoor low maintenance plants on your desk that's a plus. Philodendrons are great for adding height to small areas in a work space. Set them up on filing cabinets to add some character or in place in hanging baskets. They are easy to grow and perfect for a wide range of indoor conditions, including occasional neglect if you're out of the office for a week. A peace lily is also a wonderful addition to a desk space. Besides the name being so lovely it is great at cleaning pollutants in the air.
Get Organized to be Energized
A declutter will do you some good. It will save you time searching for things, it will leave you feeling at ease and when you walk into your office on Monday morning you will feel ready for the week ahead. If you're feeling disorganized, everything competes for your attention and makes it hard to work, not to mention leaving you with a feeling of unpreparedness. Don't even know where to start? Take everything off your desk and out of your drawers, place them in a box, and go back to work. I know it sounds strange but when you need an item go into the box and place it back on the desk. Anything you haven't used in a week can go straight to the trash. What's left will need a permanent home.
Set up working zones on your desk and keep a flow going. Current projects take precedence and can be placed in letter trays. Paperwork to be filed should be filed immediately so it doesn't begin to pile up. Speaking of filing be sure to label your files and purge weekly. The time it takes to make a commitment to keeping paper tidy at your desk will save you hours of work in the long run.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for workplaces but there are real ways for you to implement changes within your work space that are going to have lasting positive outcomes. If you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, bored, unmotivated, frustrated, etc. at work, perhaps your environment is reinforcing these negative feelings. Take those feelings as a signal to make some visual changes that feel good and create a more balanced and comfortable work area for yourself. A few changes will make a lasting difference.