If you’ve watched the DreamWorks animated hit Kung Fu Panda, then you must know what it means to have “inner peace”. Having a true sense of who you are, what you’re meant for, and truly accepting it, is one way the movie explains it. But do you feel the same way when you’re at work? Does your cubicle look less appealing than on the day you joined work? Are you not motivated by your work environment? Okay, ever tried applying Zen principles to organise your workplace and fix this sort of a rut? No? Well, here’s why you should try.
Even though most of us work in environments that are tailor-made for productivity, we always find something amiss. These might be things that are as trivial as the constant clicking or typing sounds, people moving around, or someone’s extremely fragrant perfume. Or, they might be even things out of your control like where you sit, working in boxes for cubicles, or even the people around you. Such things can affect your focus and productivity to heights, leading to discouragement and lack of interest.
A good workspace induces better focus and productivity. According to a study done on effectiveness of a working space to induce better levels of productivity, concentrating is a complicated act and is the hardest thing to support in a work environment. “The challenge is increased exponentially by the distractions inherent to the widely implemented open-office environment,” they stated in the study.
Here’s where you consider what a Zen workspace can offer you. Deriving from the Japanese tradition that emphasises the value of meditation and intuition, a Zen office setting can keep you calm and focused, and helps you manage stress. It gives you an added effect of comfort to an organised workspace. So, here’s a list of things you can do to create a Zen workspace.
First things first – clean up anything that looks like a mess to you. Rearrange those papers, fluff up your cushion, and wipe the dust off of your monitor. Never underestimate what a clean work area can do for you. Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you unclutter your workspace. Use a coaster for your coffee mug, make sure your waste-basket is at an accessible distance, and make sure all the cables connected to your computer are out of the way.
This will keep you relaxed and happy in good measure. You can go all-out and be creative by filling a small fishbowl or bottle with beach sand and decorate it with shells, or just get a small plant low-maintenance plant. Having something that reminds you of the outdoors will be a good way to weigh you down and help you think happy thoughts.
You might be the type who gets easily put off by sudden smells that can throw you off course. Here’s a tip to deal with it. Get anything from one of those small sachets that smell like heaven, or a little basket of potpourri, or even a small container of perfumed oil. Although, you might want to reel it in if you’re working in an open office area. Don’t let your personalising be a distraction to those around you.
A dull workspace can reflect on your work. Begin to personalise your cubicle or your table by adding some colour to the things around you. Make sure you spruce up your surrounding with comforting colours. Get funky looking mouse pads, coasters, laptop skins, note books, and coffee mugs. Let your work area be a constant reminder of positivity and happiness. It is also advisable not to overdo it.
Choose your best motivational message and recreate it. It could be a line from your favourite song, book, or that death threat that your mom gives you on a sleepy Monday morning. Inspirational messages that you can relate to will encourage you to continue working when you’re stuck. Whether you put it on a post-it or a T-shirt, make sure your inspirational message is where you can see it.
Not the bread-and-jam jam, but your music jam. Try some soothing classical music or some post rock music. If you’re not the type who likes the slow stuff, make a playlist with positive and motivating songs. Yes, it would help you immensely if you add Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger from that movie about Rocky Balboa. Something that could up your focus is also listening to white noise, that is, sounds of rainfall, a gurgling brook, or a windy forest with crickets chirping. These will incidentally relieve you of a stressed out environment and help you focus. Music is known to be an easily accessible stress-buster and lets you indulge in your comfort zone.
Aside from all the things you can do to embellish your work area, consider and recognise the things that make you lose focus and try to eliminate that distraction. Maybe you could put away your mobile devices or turn off the notifications from your social media handles. Remember that these things are only an impetus, and that the onus is on you to concentrate. In the worst case scenario, if nothing works out, you can always speak to the people in-charge and suggest some of the Zen things to try out in this list.