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6 Things You Need on Your Desk
Most of us spend as much time at our desks as we do in our homes. If that’s the case, we should all put some time and effort into making sure our workspace is as happy and motivating as possible. There are tons of cool products out there to choose from when designing your office. We’ve put together a list of the top six essentials to make any workspace awesome.
1. Greenery – No matter what your office or desk situation is, having a plant around is the number one way to make it cozier. Research shows that plants lower workplace stress and enhance productivity by up to 12 percent (source). Plants are natural air-purifiers, meaning that your little plant could keep you from catching that cold going around the office! Additionally, plants can be very calming, while at the same time stimulating critical thinking and creativity.
2. Good Smells – Aromatherapy is totally on-trend right now, and for good reason! Aromas have been used for over 6,000 years to affect mood, and your desk area could definitely use some ancient healing. Choose an invigorating scent, like orange or rosemary, or opt for stress-relief and relaxation with lavender and peppermint. Inhaling essential oils triggers your limbic system and can activate the immune system, affect blood pressure, and stimulate digestion. In general, aromatherapy can help maintain your overall well-being.
3. Pictures – When you’re spending long hours at work, it’s important to be surrounded by the people you love. Since your boss would likely disapprove of bringing your kids or grandmother to work with you, displaying pictures of friends and family can be a great solution. Or maybe your motivation is a trip to Italy – hang a photo to remind yourself of that goal! No matter how much you love your job, it is always helpful to have quick reminders of why you work so hard.
4. Candy – Not everything on your desk is for you. Having a jar of candy is a fun way to encourage coworkers to stop and say hi! You can change out the type of candy seasonally to add festive flare to your workspace, or become a reliable place to grab a mint after lunch. And, once in a while, you can even sneak a candy for yourself. Have fun choosing the candy container, too. It can be as expressive or as traditional as you like!
5. Color – Most standard office supplies and furniture tend to be neutral and unassuming. If you want to spice up your desk, bring in pops of colors to express your style! Try a new mouse pad, some purple sticky notes, or a small piece of art for your wall. A few colorful pieces can completely change the character of your workspace. Plus, a lime-green stapler can make creating packets a bit more fun.
6. Zen – When deadlines are approaching and tensions are high, it’s important to take a step back and breathe. Have something on your desk that helps you calm your mind and focus for a moment. Grab a stress ball and flex your grip in rhythm with deep breaths. Tend a Zen garden, figure a Rubik’s cube, or watch sand fall from an hourglass. Keep your item easily visible so that every time you see it, you take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass.
Every moment you spend at your desk is an opportunity to evaluate your workspace and spend some time sprucing it up. The products featured in this post are from SAGE Online, so check them out! They make great gifts and giveaway items.
Want to know what we keep on our desks here at SAGE? Next week we’ll be posting #whatsonyourdesk from the SAGE office on our Instagram. Follow along, and tag pictures of your favorite items on your desk!
- Mini Bamboo Blossom Kit, Illini/Altco Company – Item# 559
- Juniper Bonsai Tree, Eve’s Garden Inc – Item# 10112
- Water Beads Desk Air Freshener, HandStands – Item# 07124
- Essential Oil Gift Set, SnugZ – Item# NGSEO3-DB
- Cube-Clip, AAA & MK Promotion – Item# MEMOHOLDERQ1
- Mini Photo Globe, Illini/Altco Company – Item# 2718
- Candy Jar, Universal Printing Company – Item# 70996-01
- Jelly Bean Dispenser, Maple Ridge Farms Incorporated – Item# K503
- Stapler, Numo – Item# 0817
- Retro Alarm Clock, Tanslin Premium – Item# TA3052
- Lungs Stress Reliever, Jetline – Item# SB670
- Chinese Iron Balls and Card Holder, Maxplus International Incorporated – Item# D342A-BK
6 Ways to Get More Done Every Day
From the moment you get to work in the morning, you’re probably planning all the things you intend to get done. By the time you head home, you may wonder how the day got away from you! We’re all looking to squeeze a few more hours out of the day, or a way to finish just one more task. If you’re ready to hit the ground running and accomplish more, try these easy, effective tips for being ultra productive every day.
1. Limit multi-tasking
Contrary to what we’ve been told for years, multi-tasking is not always a good option. Most people can’t actually work on more than one task at a time, and instead are frequently switching gears between projects, making them less productive in the long run.
If you have a lot of different projects to work on, try using the Pomodoro Technique as a time/task management tool. This technique breaks down work into intervals, usually 25 minutes each, separated by short breaks. Instead of having a ton of folders, browsers, and emails pulled up at once, choose a single task to work on and close everything else. Start your timer and get to work. If you finish the task or reach your time limit, close the project. Take a short break to get some water, stretch your legs, or check your Facebook. Then get started on the next task.
Using a method like the Pomodoro technique is a great way to hone your focus and ensure that you are giving each project its due attention. It also provides variety to your day so you’re less likely to get burned out or bored.
2. Sort your email
Each time you stop what you’re doing to check an email, you’re wasting valuable time by switching gears, losing momentum on current projects, and allowing yourself to be distracted. It’s hard to look at a single email without scrolling through others, and think about how much time you spend searching through emails to find something specific. See all the ways your email inbox is costing you time?
As emails come in during the day, try sorting them into folders in your inbox. You can do this manually by moving the email to the folder, or set up rules to automatically move emails from a certain sender or with a particular keyword.
Here are four example folders:
Personal – For emails that don’t need to be addressed right away, such as benefits information, personal emails between coworkers, etc.
Newsletters – Newsletters and automated emails can automatically be filtered to a folder like this for you to browse through and read when you have a free moment.
Action – Create a folder just for items that require some kind of action or response. Once they’ve been taken care of, move the email to a different folder for archiving.
Artwork – It’s good to have a particular folder for organizing artwork files so they’re easier to find later during a project.
These are just examples; create folders and rename/reorganize them until you find what works best for you.
3. Close your browsers
Sometimes the temptation to peruse the internet is just too overwhelming. What’s happening on Facebook right now? Where can I get the best deal on a new laptop? When was the Louisiana Purchase? The internet is full of interesting things to read and do, so if you want to be mega productive, you have to resist!
Most people make a habit of having at least one internet window open on their computer. Try exiting out of that for a while. If the search bar isn’t quite so easy to get to, you’re more likely to stay on task instead of getting sidetracked by the web.
4. Make a list and check it often
Everyone has heard that making a to-do list can help you stay on track, whether it’s at the grocery store or working on a big project. You can take that notion up a notch and use your to-do list as an agenda. First, make a detailed list of all the projects/tasks you want to work on. Then set yourself a reminder for every hour, on the hour. At that reminder, look at your to-do list and cross off anything you’ve accomplished and move on to the next task.
This method helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Plus, you get the benefit of crossing items off your list to help you stay motivated! As new tasks roll in throughout the day, write them down immediately. The process of writing tasks down can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, and it lets you see everything you need to get done, so you can prioritize.
5. Give in to distraction
If there’s something on your mind that’s preventing you from concentrating, try giving yourself a set amount of time to think about/work on it. If you have a move coming up and your mind keeps wandering to think about apartments, take a ten-minute break from your work to write down your thoughts, do a quick search online, or call a realtor. Once you’ve given yourself a few minutes to focus on the thing distracting you, it’ll be easier to put it aside and get some real work done!
6. Daily wrap-up sessions
A lot of people make to-do lists first thing in the morning. Going this route, you might forget important items that you needed to finish from the day before.
An hour before you leave work, make a list of any outstanding items from the day. Make notes about where you’re at with each task, and prioritize what you want to get started on tomorrow. You should have enough time to email/meet with coworkers about any barriers impeding your progress or ask any questions that will help you moving forward. Tomorrow you’ll be ready to hit the ground running as soon as you get to work!
What steps do you take to be your most productive self? Let us know in the comments!