Look around. What do you have on your desk? A computer – obviously. A coffee mug? A picture of a loved one? Maybe a dog calendar from 2012 that you only keep because you’ve given all the dogs names and now they feel real to you so you can’t bear throwing it out?… No? Just me? Alright, well whatever you have around your desk, whether it be decoration, entertainment, or god-forbid something work-related, everything is there for a reason – to help you get through the day. And I realize everyone works differently, and work environments vary, but there are a few essentials every work space should have.
5. A Tinker Toy – Whether that be a Rubik’s cube, a mini basketball hoop, or a simple rubber band ball to toss to yourself, having something around to tinker or play with every now and then can keep your mind fresh. Changing mental gears, or even just turning it off for 5 minutes, can help your brain from burning out and provide a little fun during a rough work day. Along the same lines, having something to fidget with as you work has also been linked to increased productivity and focus. Twirling a pen or fiddling with a knickknack occupies “bored” parts of your brain and lets the others concentrate on your work. (Why We Fidget)
4. Computer Glasses – I’m only recently on this bandwagon, but I’ll tell you, the seats are plush and the service is delightful. Computer glasses block harmful blue-light that emanates from our screens and allows the eyes to rest and recharge. Staring at a computer screen all day has been linked to frequent headaches, vision problems, and irregular sleep schedules so hop on Four Eyes Express and preserve those ocean blues. Plus, it makes you look smarter and really annoys people who actually have to wear glasses to like…see. (They’ve done tests…)
3. A Notebook – “Really? A notebook? That’s all you could come up with?” Yes. And while it may seem simple and basic, it may be the most important. Even if you prefer to type and even if you aren’t a doodler (like me), having somewhere to quickly jot down ideas or sketches is a great way to unlock creativity and brainstorm. Studies show an increase in brain activity when physically writing on paper opposed to typing on a computer, and it also helps getting your eyes off your computer screen, which we have previously established, isn’t great for you. (“The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard“)
2. A Light Source – Simple, but effective. A small lamp or (preferably) even a lava lamp at your desk is a great addition to your work space, especially if your office is naturally on the dark side or lacks sunlight. Creating a brighter ambient environment, with diffuse lighting around your computer screen, helps your eyes adjust to your screen and eases tension. Also, having an additional light source that mimics natural light can provide energy, enhance mood, and spur creativity. There’s a reason having an idea is portrayed with a light bulb. (Let there be light!)
1. A Sweater/Pullover – Crucial. An absolute must. Whether it’s August and 95 degrees or January and frigid, keeping a sweater or pullover draped over your chair will save your life. I have certainly felt on the verge of hypothermia when the office decides to crank the AC down to “arctic” , but was saved by a large zip-up that I keep on my chair. There’s some strange myth out there that the cold helps brain activity. That’s ridiculous. The ideal temperature of a productive office is actually somewhere in between 72 and 79 degrees. It’s difficult to stay focused when you’re cold, and yes, you might get teased a bit for wearing a sweater on the hottest day of the year (me). But at least you’ll be warm. (Warm People Work Better)