Many of us may be a year into working from home, but things still aren’t feeling right. Maybe it’s negative energy, maybe it’s a lack of feng shui, or perhaps it’s time to shake things up and organize your workspace.
Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember re-arranging your bedroom furniture, and suddenly, the whole world was just full of possibilities? That invincible, excited feeling is still attainable! Here are some easy tips to make your workspace a bit happier:
Utilize Natural Light
This will depend on the floor plan of your home or workspace, but can you sit by a window? Better yet, can you sit so that your desk is facing a window? Exposure to natural light can improve your mood and your sleep, leading to reduced depression and anxiety. (Pro Tip: before you get everything all set up and plugged in, be mindful of your computer screen and any potential glare.)
Lack access to a window, or want to surround yourself with even more natural light? Try a daylight lamp. Some science shows that exposure to bright, full-spectrum light bulbs can improve your mood. Note: if you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you should consult your doctor/a mental health professional regarding the best treatment and what to look for in light therapy.
I added this lamp to my office a few months ago and have, so far, been very happy with it. It isn’t qualified for light therapy, but the light spectrum is close enough to daylight that it feels less dreary in my little office.
Purge All The Things
Okay, maybe not all the things…but getting rid of the clutter is vital if you want to organize your workspace. Really take a hard look at everything you have. What do you have on your desk that you don’t need? Do you have a basket that has collected mail, random documents, and homeless tchotchkes for years? Do you have a bookcase that has four different sizes of envelopes, last year’s Christmas cards, a box of leftover wedding invitations, a foam football you got at a conference four years ago with a logo of a company you don’t even know, and maybe 5 books? No? Just me?
Enter: Marie Kondo! If you haven’t read her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or seen her Netflix special Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, I will give the very (very) short version: put your belongings into a pile, then pick up each item individually. If the item “sparks joy”, keep it. Items that do not “spark joy” can be discarded.
Obviously, many (if not most) of the items in your workspace won’t spark joy. Office supplies, work-related electronics, and last year’s tax returns probably don’t spark joy. (Or maybe you got a great refund and I’m wrong, what do I know?)
Organize Your Workspace by Getting Rid of the Clutter
- Pick up each item individually.
- Does it spark joy? If so, keep it and find it a place to live.
- Have you used this item in the last 3 months, or anticipate needing it within the next 3 months? If so, keep it and find it a place to live.
- Is it a document? If so:
- Does it have an original signature and you need it for your records? If so, keep it and file it
- Is it an important document you will need to reference, but not an original? Consider scanning it and saving it to the cloud, then discarding the hardcopy
- If not, discard it, or shred it if it has any personal identifying information
- Is it a sentimental piece of paper, photo, or drawing that you can scan and save electronically? If you aren’t attached to the original, do that.
- Dust everything. Break out the furniture polish. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed. Those shiny surfaces will be an instant mood-lifter.
Re-home All That Paper
Now that you know what you’re keeping, you need to make sure everything has a home. Do you have a lot of paper to keep? Invest in a file cabinet, preferable one with some shelves to increase your storage potential. Make sure to order hanging files and tabbed folders to keep all of your paperwork easy to find.
Are filing cabinets not right for you? What about binders?
- Consider putting all of your home-related items in one binder, with things like home warranty information, appliance user manuals, and utility information. Use sheet protectors for small papers and booklets
- Keep a binder for your car with insurance information and maintenance records, which can actually make your car easier to sell later
- Another important binder to keep can be personal information intended for your beneficiaries–life insurance policy information, copies of wills and trusts, and attorney and accountant contact information
Accessorize Your Space
Go wild at Target or the Container Store. This is the time treat yourself to accessories that are both pretty and useful. For example, you could:
- Get a cork board in a fun shape with pretty pushpins
- Buy post-it notes in your favorite colors
- Replace that pencil cup with the happiest pencil holder you can find
- Get an indoor plant, real or fake
- Find some wall art that sparks joy
- Upgrade your office chair
- Buy little bins where you can stash items you need to keep, but don’t have the drawer space for
- Add scented candles or reed diffusers
- Hang a cool wall clock
Don’t Be Afraid To Add Some Color
There is an entire aspect of psychology dedicated to the study of how different colors and hues impact human behavior and mood. Branding and marketing executives have been tapping into this for eons; in fact, it’s the reason that “health food” labels are often green and “luxury food” labels are often black.
When it’s time to organize your workspace, focus on increasing positive feelings to up your productivity and well-being.
|If you’re feeling this:||Add some:|
|Stressed, Anxious, or Burned Out||Blues and greens. Blue is a calming color that promotes tranquility. Green, the color commonly associated with nature, can promote balance and healing.|
|Lethargic or Exhausted||Red, the color of passion! Red is energetic, exciting, and powerful.|
|Depressed||Yellows and oranges. These colors promote cheerfulness, optimism, playfulness, and friendliness.|
|Uninspired||Purple. This color is associated with creativity and wisdom, and just may help spark that imagination.|