Paperwork is piling up. Your boss is giving you the evil eye because you're running late on those reports. Even the coffee maker is broken this morning. There are many hurdles to jump over at an office job, but according to an article in MensXP.com, your office or cubicle doesn't have to add fuel to that already-stressful fire. Take a step back and reexamine the area in which you spend most of your working day. How could it be better and less stressful?
Think of the top 10 list below as inspiration to revitalize your gray space and turn it into a squared corner of productivity and creativity. You'll walk out of work with less headaches and more items checked off of your to-do list. After all, that is productivity at its finest. Let's begin!
10 Redecorate and reorganize
Granted, this one was a given. However, how many employees do you know who take the time out of their day to rearrange their office? Perhaps they don't think it's beneficial, but there are plenty of kudos points to be gained from this simple task. Invest in better, gentler lighting (no fluorescent bulbs to fry your brain), ergonomically-efficient chairs and desk, glare screens, and if possible, new wall colors, says Jenny Foss, career coach and founder of JobJenny.com. Natural earth tones are warming and relaxing, while yellows are intelligently stimulating. Have a cubicle you can't paint? No worries! Picture printouts and thumbtacks will do the trick. Time to get creative!
9 New Technology
Kick that old computer or printer to the curb. Or both. Spending even ten minutes trying to open up a browser or attempting to fix that paper jam is going to add years of stress to your life, and who needs that? Especially not bright and early on a Monday morning. Investing in new technology is not only a sure way of decreasing stress, it is also an efficient way of increasing work productivity, and your boss can't say no to that. Many tech retailers will meet you halfway and provide discounts for large purchases. It really is a win-win for everyone.
While the article at Whole Living is geared more towards reducing stress in your home, the undeniable wisdom behind decluttering can be applied to any office setting. Whether you have mounds of dated paperwork stashed somewhere in filing cabinets or you have folders littering your desktop image on your computer, getting rid of anything that is old will make you feel like you're actually shedding physical weight. Make it your priority to start a new office chapter. You will uncover more room and find more focus on the jobs and tasks that are from this year.
7 Task Organization
No, that doesn't mean write a bunch of sticky notes and post it all over your monitors, walls, and desk. There are many ways of detailing out your to-do list in the morning and sticking with it. How? By making it fun! Invest in colorful and interesting stationary, computer apps such as Wunderlist, or the phone app that is great for in or out-of-office errands. Whether you like your to-do items to be completely in-sync with your heavy-tech lifestyle or you prefer the traditional "write it down" approach, tackling your daily workflow is much better if the workflow is on fancy paper or easily accessible on a spiffy app. The less time you spend looking for your to-do list in a pile of papers, the less stress you'll bring to your day.
6 Energy-Saver Setting
When you leave for the day and go home, you recharge. Why not do the same for your electronics before you leave the office? Many computers and printers have energy-saver settings that will put them to "sleep" if they're not being used for a certain period of time. This will not only save your company money in energy bills, but it will also ensure that your electronics are fresh and ready to go in the morning, without annoying buffering or loading. It will also help the environment, and there's no better stress reliever than knowing you're doing something good for the planet. Going green and stress-free has never been easier!
A good song always puts us in a better mood! If permissible, start listening to soothing and calming music at your desk or in your office, if that is allowed at your workplace. Bring in a CD, your iPod, or utilize the many streaming radio apps available online (Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Youtube). Naturally, ensure that your music is a productive aid in your day-to-day tasks and not a noisy escape. Music genre is all up to you, but a little bit of experimentation can go a long way in uncovering what makes you tick and tock successfully at work. Remember to keep your humming to a joyful minimum!
Sitting at your desk all day can have serious consequences on your heart and joints, even if you regularly exercise after work, according to The Washington Post. Getting up to walk around frequently throughout your day will leave you feeling less stressed, as it will also give your eyes a break from the computer screen. Consider sitting on an exercise ball, stretching in your chair in-between work, or even doing some light yoga moves for 15 minutes in your office (or your cubicle, if space permits). No yoga mat necessary! Just get up and stretch and feel the stress melt away immediately. Your heart, brain, and joints will thank you for sure!
3 Buy a plant
Even small potted plants can turn your cubicle or office into a refreshing oasis, at least the window sill. Plants are great for detoxification and can actually help you calm down and de-stress, according to the Huffington Post. Go for a floral pattern or just buy a bunch of different types and spring for a mini office garden. Their smell and presence will mellow out your most hectic day, and taking care of them will bring out your green thumb, even among a throng of emails and meetings. Happy watering!
2 Healthy food
This really should be in the number one spot, but its benefit is universally enriching. Ditch the potato chips and soda drinks and opt for healthy snacking in-between your meetings. Try fresh veggies and hummus or low-fat Greek yogurt and granola. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that bringing your own food from home saves you money and puts you on the right track to mindful eating. Good and healthy food always equals less stress, and you might even notice some weight loss in the meantime. Win-win! Swap out your morning coffee for herbal tea or just a nice big glass of water -- instant stress reliever, guaranteed.
1 Breathe......and smile
According to WebMD, it only takes about 15 minutes to relieve stress or significantly reduce it, all from the comforts of your cubicle or office. There are many options for pausing and breathing, such as meditation or simple deep breathing. You don't have to sit on the floor or chant. Simply closing your eyes and forgetting about any emails and meetings for at least 15 minutes will melt away any stress that may be going on. Breathing will bring you back to the present, refocus your priorities, and give your brain some time to relax and slow down a new notches. If possible and available, you may also bring in a hot heat wrap and place on your neck or shoulders for 10 minutes. The heat will literally melt away all the tension that is physically reproduced from stress. You will feel lighter, more relaxed, and you may even smile -- and that is the best stress reliever of all!