In the past two years as a photo editor, I have had three different desks. So naturally, I consider myself an expert on cubicle feng shui.
Though there have been several constants in my cubicle decor throughout the moves, I have developed some rules on overall ambiance to ensure maximum productivity and positive energy in my work space. Of course, everyone’s feng shui needs are different, but consider these tips when you’re settling into your first office space:
Set the Tone
Regardless of your focus, surround yourself with things that inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. For example, I am a photo editor and I surround myself with images from previous shoots or mailing cards that I find particularly interesting. If you are a writer, encircle yourself with words and phrases that speak to you. If you are a designer, surround yourself with inspirational typography or graphic designs.
The way my latest desk is set up, I now have an extra side table in my cubicle that I’ve decorated with flowers, a lamp and some “coffee table” books. Essentially, I have created a small place to break from work or to eat lunch that forces me to turn away from my computer on days I’m too swamped to go outside. Never forget the importance of mental health and maintaining low stress levels. A little stress can make you work harder but too much stress can actually impact your work negatively… and who wants that? So if you’re able, find a way to add a touch of calm to your space.
No, not your messy filing cabinet — your posture! (Though tidying up definitely will help with the feng shui, too.) When you are staring at a computer all day, it can take a toll on your posture. If you notice yourself slouching at your desk, set your monitor on something. It will force you straighter and put your computer’s screen more at eye level. I find that books with thick, pretty spines do the trick!
Show Some Personality
No matter how serious your work environment is, never be afraid to put a little zing in your space! My personal motto is: “Getting old is mandatory, growing up is optional.” That’s why I keep little trinkets or action figures around to remind me to never lose sight of my inner kid. I have a little collection of penguin toys at my desk (they’re my favorite animal!). I also always keep photos of my family in little frames or pinned on my walls. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and seeing their smiling faces can brighten mine — even on the gloomiest of days.
I’m a huge proponent of having air plants or succulents at your desk since they’re such maintenance plants. Surrounding myself with life and living things within such concrete walls has a way of snapping me out of the robotic funks I get into when I’m too “in the zone.”
Let There Be Light
I have a permanent desk lamp that came with my cubicle, but if you don’t, make sure to invest in one. Do not underestimate the effect extra light and brightness can have on your personal space — and your mood!
Add Homey Touches
My most prized possessions at the office may not be what you’d expect. No matter the time of year, I keep a small blanket and a sweater on the back of my chair. I am constantly cold, and this way I don’t have to lug heavy layers to and from my office — especially when it’s warm outside. I also always have a cup for water; I use a Captain America Tervis tumbler because it survives my many drops and spills (also because, Chris Evans), and a coffee/tea mug — which most definitely doubles as my permanent hot coco mug in the winter.
Get the Look
To get you started, here are a few of my favorite product suggestions:
For a lamp, look for something simple and clean that won’t distract you.
For a little fun, try decorative push pins like these paper airplanes!
Look for an acrylic box or even a serving tray to use as an inbox to collect mail and papers.
Look for something small to throw over your chair like these mini cable knit throws.
If you haven’t heard of it already, look no further than the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild, for unique mugs sure to keep you laughing.
Gabrielle Levy is an assistant photo editor at Family Circle. She is also the co-founder and half of the creative team behind the fashion and lifestyle blog, Twinseperable. In her spare time, she enjoys daydreaming about peace, listening to music, watching re-runs and playing with her dog, Archibald. Follow her on Instagram.