Be Inspired Motivation By Laura Carlin and Alison Forbes Where do you write? Do you know where you write can have an impact on how well and how often you write? Imagine writing in a space that’s clean, organized and clutter-free. Everything has a place, and is easily accessible. And everything that surrounds you reflects who you are and who you want to be. You flow through your workday with ease, supported by the knowledge that everything is in order. Your mind is clear and your energy freed to be in the present moment. You write, inspired by the beautiful surroundings you’ve created. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Now think about where you currently write. If your workspace is less than inspiring, don’t fret! Just follow these twelve simple steps. 1. De-clutter your workspace. De-cluttering is probably the most important thing you can do to create a more inspiring workspace, and increase your productivity. Clutter weighs on our minds, takes up space, decreases our motivation, and blocks new ideas and opportunities from coming into our lives. If the thought of de-cluttering feels overwhelming, start small. Get a timer, set it, and focus on de-cluttering just one drawer or one section of your desk, for just ten minutes each day. Once that area is complete, move on to the next. 2. Remove or fix anything that’s broken. Things that are broken can frustrate us, get in our way, and make us feel bad. If something in your office is broken, ask yourself if you’re willing to get it fixed this week. If not, it’s probably not very important or useful, so it’s clutter. If not knowing how to dispose of something is holding you up, visit Earth 911 for tips on how to dispose of everything from electronics to paint! 3. Change habits that create clutter. Stop clutter at its source. When you bring something into your workspace, decide right away what you’re going to do with it. Don’t just pile it on your desk and put off the decision for later! When deciding what’s clutter and what’s not, ask yourself three questions: Is this useful? Is this beautiful and/or inspirational? Is this loved? If the answer to all three questions is ‘no’, it’s clutter. If your answer to any of the questions is ‘yes’, find a designated place to keep the article. The key is to make a choice, and then toss it, or find a place for it. Also, schedule weekly clutter maintenance. Once clutter clearing becomes a part of your routine, it will be less time-consuming and daunting. 4. Anchor your purpose in your workspace. You’ll feel more motivated and have a more positive outlook if your purpose for writing is reflected in your surroundings. Create a mission statement, or have objects, quotes, and visuals that remind you of why you choose to write. For example, a picture of your kids or spouse reminding you that your writing helps support your family. Or an image of people your writing has helped or inspired. 5. Place your furniture in the Command Position. In Feng Shui (the ancient Chinese art of placement), the Command Position, also known as the Power Position, describes the place in a room where a person feels the most protected and empowered. This is where you have a view of the door – without facing it directly – and ideally, a solid wall behind your back. It’s human nature to feel more comfortable when we can see who or what is approaching us. Placing your chair in the Command Position allows you to concentrate better, without being distracted by what’s happening behind you. In Feng Shui, this position also symbolizes being open to opportunity. 6. Choose ergonomic furniture. Opt for an office chair that supports your back and encourages good posture. Also make sure your desk and keyboard are at comfortable heights, reducing physical stress and strain from working long hours. 7. Replace fluorescent light bulbs with full-spectrum light bulbs. Full-spectrum bulbs emulate natural sunlight and create a more relaxing atmosphere than other types of lighting. If you can’t change overhead fluorescent bulbs in your workspace, consider turning them off, and using lamps and task lighting instead. Proper lighting reduces eyestrain. 8. Open windows. Letting in sunlight and fresh air can lift your spirits and give your energy a boost. Did you know that a study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that pollution inside a home could be two to five times higher than outside the home, even in large, industrialized cities? Opening windows creates a way for unhealthy fumes (released from office equipment, cleaning products, carpets etc.) to exit, and fresh air to enter. 9. Switch to all-natural cleaning products. Conventional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals including ammonia and phenol, which can irritate your skin and lungs, and cause headaches. These products are also one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution. So instead of cleaning your workspace, you’re actually polluting the air you breathe! To avoid exposing yourself to these hazardous pollutants, look for non-toxic, environmentally safe cleaning products. 10. Reduce distractions. Often our workspaces, particularly if we work from home, are not dedicated offices. Many writers work in their kitchen, living room, bedroom, a guestroom shared with exercise equipment, and so on. No wonder we have a hard time focusing when we’re surrounded by numerous distractions like TV, gym equipment, a sink full of dirty dishes, or an empty bed inviting us for a nap! If possible, create a room or alcove dedicated to writing. If that’s not an option, position your chair to avoid looking at anything that could divert your attention from your task. 11. Create a view. If you don’t have a good view from where you sit, create one with plants, artwork or photos. Select inspirational artwork that sparks your creativity, or peaceful imagery that helps you focus. Use your desk to hold uplifting pictures such as photos from your last vacation, or arrange appealing magazine clips on a corkboard. 12. Bring nature indoors. Nature helps us relax and feel more centered. Consider adding plants, fresh flowers, or a fountain to beautify your workspace. A fountain has an added benefit: the soothing sound of water can serve as white noise, masking unwanted sounds such as traffic. You can choose to decorate with natural materials such as hemp, sisal or wood, or use visuals of nature to create a soothing environment. Implementing these simple tips will help you have a workspace that supports your health and well-being. Your writing will be inspired by the beautiful surroundings you’ve created. After all, as a writer you probably spend a lot of time at your desk, so why not create a space where you enjoy spending time? What would your inspirational workspace look or feel like? Leave a comment below!