Reduce Work Stress with an Organized Office
Many of us are now working from home and have had to become creative with our dining room tables or a corner in the living room. Whatever space you now call your “office” it is key to keep it organized so your stress is low and your productivity is high!
A cluttered workspace affects your mental and physical health. It can also increase your anxiety and stress levels. When you can keep your workspace tidy, you will feel less stressed and more productive. When there are too many things on your desk or in your space to look at, you will overwhelm your senses and not be able to focus appropriately on your tasks at hand. Here are some great ways to de-clutter your desk:
· Create specific folders for the paperwork and file them accordingly.
· Make an “Urgent File” for those projects or reports that you need to do within that week. Check it daily and move projects to appropriate files when done.
· Put important documents or tax information in a safe or secured spot.
· File, shred or toss and other papers that you no longer need.
· Limit yourself to one picture of your family/vacation/pet or an inspiring quote. When you become stressed take a moment and relive the memory from the picture or resonate with the quote.
· Add a motivational calendar or a joke-of-the day calendar to keep you upbeat and positive.
· Have your desk face a window so you can see nature or bring a plant nearby as the color green can boost your creative side as well as calm your senses.
· Check in with your space every week. Daily is preferred, before you clock out for the day, make sure everything is filed and taken care of, so that in the back of your mind you are not worrying that you forgot something and you can fully relax during the evening.
De-clutter your digital desktop too. How many emails are in your inbox? Did you just shutter? I did too. I have been diligent this year to remove and unsubscribe to those that I really am not paying attention to, nor do I need to for my work. Too many digital files can bring “chaos” to your mind and a scattered feeling. When you are overwhelmed, you tend to lose motivation as well as productivity. Keep it simple and limit what is on your computer desktop to what you use daily.
· Create separate folders for each project and move files to the appropriate folders.
· If there are programs you don’t use that often, make a folder for them and move those files to that folder: “Don’t Use” folder.
· These same steps can be used for your inbox too. Create sub folders and move the emails to the appropriate folder. Go through and delete as well as unsubscribe to those that you haven’t thought about or used in the last six months. A great resource is https://unroll.me/ which will help you unsubscribe from multiple different sites at one time.
Go old school and get a planner. Sometimes life can get too busy, so if your phone calendar is blowing up with too many things, it may be best to invest in a good planner to help you organize and keep track of specific tasks:
· Work deadlines
· Family and friend plans
· Appointments with colleagues, health, financial or for your family
· Important errands that need to be done
· Keep your planner with you so you can make adjustments. Or, another option is to have a calendar app on your phone that remind you so you can plan ahead. I use this type of reminder system and set it up for 4-weeks out to 4 minutes ahead of time. Find what works with you.
De-clutter your snack drawer. Your home office may look a little different than your work office, but if you have a snack drawer this is a great time to clean it out and then stash some healthier options. When you can plan ahead and introduce more healthy snack choices, you will not be tempted to go for that cookie or bag of chips when you are bored. Instead, try filling your drawer with some of these:
· Unsalted nuts or seeds– all varieties; almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
· Granola (low sugar) or trail mix- using nuts/seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate and pretzels for the salt.
· Single serve popcorn.
· Bottles of water. Usually if you are hungry, you are dehydrated. Before eating, drink 8 oz of water and wait 15 minutes to see if you are still hungry. Chances are good you filled your body’s need and do not actually “need” to eat.
· Dark chocolate nibs (70% or higher in cacao content) the darker the better as you won’t have a craving for more. If you go less than 70% you may see a craving for more. The bitterness in the dark chocolate will satisfy the sweet tooth and not cause you to overeat. M&M’s, Hershey’s or any other milk chocolate do not have those amazing antioxidants that dark chocolate has, so if you are going to splurge, splurge on the better option so you only have one piece.
· When at home, keep mini carrots, celery and cucumbers in the fridge for easy access.
· Make up hard boiled eggs for a quick protein boost in the afternoons.
· Fresh fruit, yogurt or single serve hummus are also great options for quick snacks.
· If possible keep apples, oranges, bananas, nuts and seeds open and visible. The more you see them, the more likely you will grab one for a snack.
Keeping your desk de-cluttered will help keep your mind de-cluttered too. Another great way to keep your mind in a more productive mode is to make meetings with yourself. Put a calendar reminder in your phone or planner to take time off during your day to reconnect, move your body and get some different neurons firing in your brain. Make it a priority, like you would a doctor’s appointment. Stretch your legs and use your senses to ground yourself into the present moment. This is great to do if you are stuck on a problem or need to be more creative. When you can switch your brain up a notch, you will see more creativity and productivity come. Step outside and take a walk around your block. Look for three things the color orange (switch the color up daily). Smell three different scents. Touch three different textures. Hear three different sounds and taste three different things on your tongue. Here are some more ideas:
· Walk up and down your stairs ten times.
· Take a brisk walk around the block using your senses.
· Stand up and do ten high knees or ten jumping jacks.
· Color in an intricate coloring book.
· Stand up and stretch your arms above your head reaching for the ceiling without moving your shoulders and instead move your rib cage.
How have you been able to keep your office/desk space clean and uncluttered? Can you feel the difference? Do you feel more productive and creative after you de-clutter?