How to Create a Zen-Like Working Environment for Simple Productivity
In today’s fast-paced work culture, we are constantly bombarded with various distractions that hinder our productivity and increase our stress levels. As knowledge workers, we often find ourselves struggling to cope with the ringing phones, instant messages, email notifications, piles of papers, cluttered sticky notes, and other forms of visual chaos. However, to achieve calm and simple productivity, it is essential to create a Zen-like working environment that promotes focus, clarity, and peace of mind. In this article, we will explore some practical tips and strategies for creating a minimalist workspace that fosters simplicity, efficiency, and creativity.
Clear the Clutter:
The first step towards creating a Zen-like working environment is to declutter your workspace. Start by taking all the papers on your desk, and around your desk, and put them in your inbox. If they don’t fit, just put them in a single pile. Now, go through that pile, one document at a time. Don’t put any document back on the pile, deal with it immediately, and then move on to the next document, until you’ve cleared the pile. With each document, your choices are to 1) trash it; 2) delegate it; 3) file it immediately; 4) do it immediately; or 5) put the action on your to-do list and the document in an “action” folder. By doing this, you’ll be able to eliminate unnecessary clutter and create a sense of order and organization in your workspace.
Clear the Walls:
Another crucial aspect of creating a Zen-like working environment is to clear every scrap of paper and most of the artwork from your walls. You don’t want your surroundings to be too busy. Instead, put one or two pieces of simple art on each wall. This will give your workspace a clean, serene ambiance that fosters focus and creativity. Also, consider painting your walls with calming colors such as blue or green, which have been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.
Simplify Your Computer:
Your computer is another significant source of distraction in today’s work culture. To simplify it, clear your desktop of icons – it’s inefficient and just visual clutter. Turn off all email and IM notifications, and only check your emails at set times during the day. Use a simple and serene picture as the background, and only have the document open that you’re currently working on. This will help you stay focused and productive, without being constantly interrupted by notifications and distractions.
Have an Inbox:
To create a sense of order and organization in your workspace, have one inbox on your desk, and have all incoming documents, notes, phone messages, and other papers be put into this inbox. Process it to empty at least once a day, using the steps above. From here on out, don’t let any other papers clutter your desk except the one thing you’re working on.
You don’t need your office gear to be in sight. Put your pens, stapler, paper clips, digital camera, and any other assorted gear in a drawer, organized neatly. While you’re at it, clear out your drawers and only put in the essential stuff. It’s easier to keep organized that way.
Simple Filing System:
Use a simple alphabetical filing system with plain manila folders. Have plenty of labels and empty folders on hand, so you have nothing stopping you from creating a new file quickly and filing a document. Don’t let your filing pile up. Keep on top of it, so you don’t have added stress when it piles up.
Edit, Edit, Edit:
Once you’ve cleared the clutter, there’s usually still stuff you can clear away. Edit your surroundings by asking yourself, “Does this really need to be in view?” In most cases, the answer is no. Find a way to get it out of sight or get rid of it. When you’ve gone through this process, do it again – you can usually still find ways to get something out of sight.
Go for the simplest furniture possible, a plain floor covering (solid-color wall-to-wall carpeting or undecorated hard-surface floors), bare windows, or simple window coverings such as blinds, plain shelves, and lamps if necessary. Keep the furniture functional and not cluttered.
Lastly, skip the bric-a-brac, and only have one or two simple decorations, such as a few flowers in a vase or a Zen garden. These decorations are simple but have a significant impact on your workspace’s overall ambiance.
Creating a Zen-like working environment requires a careful balance between simplicity and functionality. By following the tips mentioned above, you’ll be able to create a workspace that is clean, organized, and conducive to productivity and creativity. Remember, every distraction is a drain on productivity and sanity. Therefore, eliminating unnecessary clutter is the key to simplicity, which in turn leads to calm and effective productivity. So, take some time to create a Zen-like working environment in your workspace, and you’ll soon discover the benefits it has for your overall wellbeing and career success.