As the days continue to get shorter and shorter and we enter the Fall and Winter seasons, it's probably not uncommon to leave for work in the dark AND come home from work in the dark.
Kind of depressing if you ask me.
I love fall and winter, but when I'm stuck inside during all the daylight hours, I can start to feel a little antsy — and being antsy is not a great productivity strategy!
If you can relate to my need for a lighter workspace, keep reading for several ways you can add more light and remove clutter to make your office feel a whole lot lighter — which will hopefully make you feel a whole lot more productive.
Lighten Your Office – as in Add More Light
1. Literally bring a light into your office space.
Even if you have a tiny cubical, there's still room for a tiny, attractive desk lamp or table lamp. These types of light offer much more natural light than the harsh florescent overhead lights — and it allows you to personally control the amount of light in your work space.
Also, consider other forms of artificial light — a floor lamp, under-cabinet lighting, a light-up sign, white Christmas lights strung on the wall, or even flameless candles (just make sure they don't have a super strong scent).
2. Hang a mirror or two.
Mirrors naturally reflect light — no matter where that light is coming from. By hanging a mirror or two somewhere in your office space, you will not only have the illusion of a brighter work space, it will also help to make your space feel larger — a win-win!
Make sure the mirror fits the scale of your office space and isn't too heavy to hang on your office/cube walls. Also, consider the frame — a bright or metallic frame will offer even more light!
3. Add color.
I'm personally a huge fan of white and other neutral colors — which I think help to lighten and brighten any space. However, small pops of bright colors will also do the same trick. So since I'm assuming you won't be able to repaint your office walls or add a ton of new furniture, here are a few smaller-scale ideas you could try…
Add a brightly colored painting (or three) on your walls. Bring in a brightly-colored throw blanket or pillow. Add some family pictures in bright (or even metallic) frames). Hang brightly-colored postcards and artwork on a bulletin board. Bring in a vase of brightly-colored flowers (fresh or silk). If your office walls are very dark, consider hanging sheer white curtains over them with a tension rod or wire.
This are just a few ideas to physically add light into your work space. However, once you do these — there is still another huge way you can "lighten" your office space… and that's by removing the clutter.
Lighten Your Office – as in Removing "Weighty" Clutter
1. Clear the surface clutter.
File those piles of paper, empty your recycling and trash bins, clear the clutter and trash off your work surface, your table top, your chair, your book shelves. etc. The more "weight" you remove from your office, the lighter it will feel and the more productive you will be. The more organized your office space is, the easier it will be to find things and the more productive you will be.
Do you sense a pattern here?
2. Tidy up electronic clutter.
Organize that crazy mess of cords on the floor, on your desk, behind your desk, etc. Not only do they look awful, they could actually be a safety hazard as well.
Go through your computer and delete unused files, empty your trash, delete your downloads, clear your browsing history, cookies, and cache. All of these things will slow down your computer and cause you to be less productive.
Remove any unused electronic items — extra charging cords, extra speakers, that broken printer, and the scanner you never use anymore. These items are collecting dust, taking up valuable work space, and just making your office feel heavier and more cluttered.
3. Lighten your email inbox.
Email might not seem as stressful or "in your face" as a huge pile of papers sitting on your desktop; but email clutter is still a huge source of stress.
With hundreds of emails sent and received on a daily basis, and thousands of emails sitting in our inbox or folders, it's no wonder we waste valuable time searching to find that ONE email we need for the meeting today. By having an organized email inbox and folders (click here for more of my tips on this), we can not only work faster and more efficiently, but our brains will feel lighter and less stressed.
A lighter, brighter, workspace will not only be a happy place to spend your days, it will almost certainly help to boost your productivity, time-management, and efficiency — and who doesn't want to do that!
What are your tips to lighten any workspace?