De-stress Your Workspace!

Do you work well in a high-stress environment?  I don’t.  I’m the most productive when I’m in a relaxed environment.  It’s important to me to have a stress free workspace.  Here are some tips you might want to put in place for your workspace.

When considering changes to your workspace, here’s rule #1:  If it feels right to you, it is right.  That rule is primary; the following specific suggestions are secondary. 


1. Make your workspace look attractive to you.  Remember that where you work, you also live.  Given the amount of time you’ll be living in your workspace over the course of your lifetime, it makes sense to add some visual appeal.

When you first walk into your workspace pay attention to how you feel.  Is it how you want to feel?  When you find the emotion that you want to feel, experiment with different visual elements to see if they change your feelings.  Try posters, photos, flowers, artwork – whatever makes you feel how you want to feel.

2. Clear out the clutter.  One look at a cluttered workspace, and you get a sense that the person working there is stressed, overwhelmed, and disorganized.  But even more critical is the effect a cluttered workspace has on your focus.  It’s difficult to feel centered when you’re surrounded by unfinished tasks that constantly remind you of what you haven’t done yet.  Ideally the only paper items on your desk should be directly related to the current task at hand.  Store everything else in drawers, shelves, or cabinets.  See what happens to your productivity. 

For more tips see Dam the paper!

3. Personalize your space.  Pick what works for you.  A good way to accomplish this is by adding items that hold emotional significance for you.  Photographs are an easy way to personalize your space.  Add plants.  Play relaxing music.  Get a decent chair.

4. Make it smell good.  I’ve read that certain scents have a measurable effect on productivity.  If I recall correctly, lemon and lavender produced the most significant positive results.  Personally I love scented candles, especially the 3″x6″ pillars.  They not only make my office smell good, but the colorful candles and decorative candle holders add visual appeal as well.

If you don’t like candles, there are other options for improving the smell of your office.  You can get a diffuser and fill it with essential oil, add some potpourri, or even try sliced lemons.  Be careful when considering chemical air fresheners though, as there are reports they can pose health risks.

What have you done to make your workspace more productive?  Share your tips below and give everyone more ideas.

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4 Responses to De-stress Your Workspace!

  • Kevin Lewis says:

    For me, clutter is what causes the most stress. And…I would submit that this is the same for most people. If you need to tackle anything, tackle the clutter first. You'll be surprised how much more relaxed you become because not only will you have addressed this nagging problem, you will more than likely develop a system that brings a needed degree of organization that was lacking.

    • Holly says:

      Kevin – I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I feel “stuck” in my work I look around, usually the clutter goblins have come in when I wasn’t paying attention. When I move them out I’m able to get back to work. Developing a system is the solution!

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Holly — I love your focus on what feels right to the reader. For me, clutter kills happiness. This is as true for people training for marathons as it is for people sitting in offices. Keep it simple, and smile! — Kirk

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