Productivity is the North Star for any girl with serious drive, but it isn’t always as easy as, say, a good Netflix binge. There may be a great deal of factors that go into having a Beyoncé-level productive work session, but like all things, the environment sets the tone. So before you pull out your color coded pens, create your vision board, or buy that desk chair you’ve been eyeing, let’s take a step back and create a productive workspace oasis fit for your inner Wonder Woman.
Step 1: Set your intention.
What you put out into the world is coming right back for you. That’s the basic law of attraction. If you want to make big moves in your work, whatever that may mean for you, you need to set that intention.
The question is, what do you want from your workspace? How do you want your workspace to make you feel? Peaceful? Powerful? Capable? Motivated? Define exactly what it is you want your workspace to do for you.
When I moved into my new Manhattan apartment and was creating my new workspace, I knew I needed to create an environment where I would be encouraged to feel called to do my work. One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Danielle LaPorte, talks a lot about the concept of core desired feelings. While it’s a loaded subject (I totally suggest checking out her book on the topic, The Desire Map), at a macro level, it’s pretty self explanatory. In the spirit of Danielle’s teaching, ask yourself what core desired feelings you hope your workspace will invoke.
Step 2: Look inward for inspiration.
Have you ever pulled a picture out of a magazine or screenshotted an Instagram, thinking, I’m going to decorate my space to look exactly like this, only to be deeply disappointed just when you think you’ve completed your decorating mission? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. And, no, this doesn’t mean your space will never look the way you envision. Your execution just needs to be altered.
Creating a productive workspace oasis is a lot like picking a mattress. What inspires one person to fall asleep could have someone else headed straight for a night of restlessness. When it comes to a workspace, what may look pretty on a blog could leave you in a state of utter distraction. That’s because that space wasn’t meant for you. It has a home with someone else. That’s also why it feels like it’s missing something, no matter what moves you make.
We are so quick to look outward for inspiration. While we are fortunate to live in a world where inspiration is always nearby if we look closely, we already have all the answers. It’s just a matter of actively seeking them out and asking ourselves the right questions.
Instead of scrolling through Instagram or perusing your favorite interiors blog, take some time to chat with yourself. What colors make you feel that core desired feeling you hope your workspace will encourage? What smells would make you feel connected to your work? Do you have a mantra that serves as your purpose guide?
When I looked inward, I knew one thing was for sure: white makes me feel content and awake, two feelings I need while writing. I also knew that pink just straight up makes me happy–something I need when I’m getting through my inbox. I knew my energy is focused by simple, clean lines, whereas intricate details can distract me. By connecting with what naturally inspires me, rather than exploring what has already inspired others, it was a lot easier to create a space that spoke to my soul and its needs.
Step 3: Find your productivity soulmates.
Organized. Focused. Driven. Unending energy. Creative. Blah, blah, blah. We aren’t perfect beings. We can’t check off every box. But guess what? We don’t have to. That’s why there are products, services, and people who can support us as we climb our summit.
When creating a productive workspace oasis, it’s essential to understand your holes–your natural characteristics that hinder your ability to get shit done.
For me, I’m mentally disorganized. If something doesn’t have an intended destination, trust me, it’s getting lost. The problem is, disorganization stresses me out. Big time. In order to keep my cool and focus on the work, I use Poppin desk organizers so that everything has a place, from my saved receipts to my pens to my headphones.
When considering what you need to fill your holes, think about your productivity weaknesses. Do you have trouble prioritizing? Try color coding your to do list. Do you lose paperwork? Create a filing system. Are you forgetful? Tape your reminders to your desk chair. There are apps, products, and systems that exist to fill the gaps so you can focus on what you do best.
Step 4: Bring your board of advisors to the table.
We all may not be CEOs with a literal board of advisors, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have an internal board of advisors. We all have people we can turn to and reflect on what they would do in a given circumstance. Whether those people are family members, mentors, or people you only read about in books, their messages can be powerful reminders of what we want and where are going.
Your workspace is where you can transform dreams into realities. You don’t have to go on that journey alone. Bring reminders of those people to your work environment so that in times of trial, you can ask them for strength and guidance. For me that means keeping books by enlightening thought leaders stacked on the corner of my desk, and cards from my favorite people pinned onto my cork board. We all have different needs on this front, but it’s a practice worth exploring.
Step 5: Eliminate the noise.
Guiding voices, like your internal board of advisors, can be powerful allies at your desk. That being said, other objects, notes, and messages can be mega distracting. Take some time to be honest with yourself and eliminate the things that do not serve you or your work.
For example, paperwork drives me crazy. The Capricorn in me has a problem with things not having their rightful place. I keep an empty file folder on my desk at all times that serves as a noise junk drawer. If something doesn’t have a home, it goes in the folder and is placed in my magazine file until I have a minute to reorganize it.
Removing distractions gives your mind the space it deserves to do the work you desire.
Step 6: Honor your workspace.
The key to a workspace oasis is keeping it just that: an oasis. It is a peaceful area that serves as a shelter from the word’s seemingly unending distractions. If you are going to dedicate time and energy to creating a workspace that encapsulates such a message, don’t disrespect it days or weeks later by using it for other purposes. If you keep it a sacred space, it will continue to serve you and your work.
Everyone is called to do their work. Allow your workspace to help move you in that direction.
Thank you to Poppin for partnering with us on this post!