Is productivity all in the mind? Some would say so; others working from home while looking after a newborn may disagree. What most can agree on, though, is the need for a well-organised space in which you can work and a plan for staying creative and engaged during the working day. Today we discuss a few tips for making your own mental and physical zen zone: a place where body and mind can work effectively towards your goals.
Effective Working Conditions
Step 1: Natural Light
It’s important to find a level of tranquillity that allows you to see the broader scope of your work; this new mindset will give your mind the space it needs to find new and insightful angles on a topic. Lighting is one key element needed to create your tranquil zen workspace.
Researchers in South Korea tested various lighting conditions in classrooms to see how lighting temperatures can affect mood and output. The research, led by Dr Hyeon-Jeong Suk, found that “besides improving human performance, variable lighting CCTs [correlated colour temperatures] also exert a great influence on both the physical and mental conditions of humans.” In the study, children working under LEDs emitting 6500 kelvins (mimicking natural light) scored better on examinations and were found to be “more alert” according to the Huffington Post. A lower CCT of 3500k is more suitable for relaxation and recess activities.
Top tip: position your workspace close to a window. Alternatively, if window space is not possible (or you’re in the depths of winter), purchase LED lights with adjustable kelvin settings and fine-tune your work around optimal light temperatures – 3500k for meetings, 5000k for reading and 6500k for moments of focus.
Step 2: Stimulate Your Creativity
Working well does not mean cramming more into every minute. Instead, setting yourself reasonable targets leads to sustainable working conditions and longevity in the workplace. Allow your mind space to breathe and take moments away from the screen to let your thoughts wander; this is essential for engagement with your work and can increase creativity.
Top tip: create an office space in which to try the aptly named Zentangle method of drawing. Workers can use a small square of museum grade cotton to draw various repeated patterns. The artist can let the mind wander by changing pattern for different sections. Budding office artists should pay particular attention to single lines or stroke as opposed to the entire square. You’ll rest the parts of your brain that are responsible for delivering your daily work and engage the creative elements that are not used as often. You may even find a new insight on a topic in the patterns you create. You’ll finish feeling refreshed and ready to begin your work again. Why not create a mosaic around the workspace of the best designs to share the zen mood?
Step 3: Find Time to Learn More About Your Passion
Learning new skills and info for the benefit of a company or project is excellent for professional development, but what about personal development? Spending nine or more hours dedicated to one topic can lead to workplace burnout; that’s why we recommend finding time to learn more about a subject you’re passionate about. 15 minutes learning a language or studying hypnotherapy could give your brain the invigoration and endorphins it needs to power through the rest of the day.
Top tip: dedicate a set amount of time each day to improving or learning a skill. You’ll finish each session feeling as if you’ve done something towards your personal development, and you can use that energy for your work.
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