Here’s how to get your desk into working order
August. Summer’s cottage weekends and long lazy days continue, but our minds begin to drift towards September, to the school run and new projects at work. This year, face the challenges of a busy fall head on with a beautiful, organized, work space. No matter whether you have a full home office, or you’re just trying to carve out a corner of the dining room for your kids to do homework, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your desk environment and make it a place where you can really focus.
Start with a blank canvas
Creating your new work area is not as simple as moving piles of papers from one end of the table to another - (no judgement, we’ve all been there!). You need space and a clear desk to work effectively. Take the time to actually think carefully about the placement of furniture and objects in your office so that your good intentions to stay organized last more than a couple of weeks.
Feng Shui practitioners believe that everything you place in your environment has an effect on your wellbeing, and that carefully choosing the location of objects allows your life energy to flow more freely. For example, it is auspicious to place your desk directly opposite the doorway into the room so you can see who comes in - this is considered a ‘commanding position’. If that’s not possible, a mirror on the desk that reflects the entrance is the next best thing. Another simple Feng Shui tip is to place a plant on the back left corner of the desk, to signify prosperity. Even if you don’t subscribe to Feng Shui ideas, the exercise of thinking about your space critically will help you to create a harmonious room.
Surround yourself with natural materials
No matter if you’re working on a last minute report, or organizing your child’s soccer meet, we all feel the stresses of meeting obligations while at home. One way to counteract this in your work space is to stay connected to the outdoors by surrounding yourself with natural materials. A beautiful rosewood desk will bring warmth to your work space, and will encourage you to keep your desk clear of clutter to show off the unique patterns in the grain. Consider adding a couple of carefully placed objects such as these heart-shaped stones (which double as paperweights) that you can handle while you’re thinking – this can help your mind to focus.
If you’re working at home during the day, try to welcome as much natural light as possible into the room. A recent study at Northwestern University (published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine) found that natural light, particularly in the morning, has a positive effect on mood, alertness and metabolism. Having a window to look out of may also encourage you to take a screen break from time to time, and even head outside for a walk. Create a welcoming glow in the room with a desk lamp - but think beyond the plastic task lamp and choose something that speaks to your style - this way you’ll enhance the feeling of sanctuary in your work space instead of adding an object that stands out and distracts you.
Bring in some plants
Countless studies have shown that placing plants around your office can reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue. As we all know, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, so any plants have a positive effect, but some varieties are even more super-powered. Spider plant, peace lily, weeping fig and bamboo palm are excellent choices when it comes to purifying the air around you, thereby improving your concentration and your mood!
The ultimate goal of creating a dedicated work space is to create a zone where your mind can focus, and that means staying on top of the clutter, long-term. Remember the old adage ‘tidy life, tidy mind’? Turns out there’s plenty of truth in it. Devise a system, no matter how simple, for your paperwork - and stick with it. Whether you store files away neatly in a cabinet or bookcase, or use your desk drawers, aim to keep your desk free of any papers that you’re not immediately using. Next, invest in simple, beautiful desk accessories to keep your electronics and stationery organized, so you’re not constantly battling tangles of wires, pens and paperclips. Make sure that you have the tools you need to stay organized and you’ll be passing fall with flying colours!