Health Advocate Blog

Reduce your stress with a well-organized desk

A cluttered, disorganized desk doesn’t just affect the physical space you sit in each workday. It can also affect your stress level. Keeping your workspace tidy and organized can help you feel less stressed and work more efficiently. If your 2016 goals involve increased productivity or reduced stress, keep reading to find out how neatening up your workspace can contribute to your success!

De-clutter your desk. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, looking at too many things at once can hinder your ability to focus. These tips can help you spruce up your workspace:

  • Make a To-Do folder for any paperwork or reports you need to address
  • File or toss any other papers that have piled up on your desk
  • Clear your desk of clutter
  • Consider adding something you like to look at—a photo of a loved one, a desk calendar with jokes or animal photos, etc. It can help keep you motivated!
  • Also consider adding a small plant or two—studies show the color green can inspire creativity!

Clean up your digital desktop, too. If you have digital files scattered all over your computer desktop, it may be difficult to find what you need—plus, it may be overwhelming to look at. Try these tips to get organized:

  • Create a system of folders and make sure that all files make it into a folder
  • If there are programs you don’t use much but that are hanging out on your desktop, consider making a folder for them, too
  • If your email inbox is cluttered, take steps to get it to Inbox Zero

Get a planner. Life is busy. There’s always so much to do—and so many details to potentially forget. Get a planner to organize and keep track of things like:

  • Important work deadlines
  • Appointments with health or financial professionals
  • Plans with friends and family
  • Errands you need to run

Keep your planner with you whether you’re at work or home so that you can access it at any time. You may feel most comfortable with a paper planner, or you could search for a calendar app that meets your needs. (With calendar apps, you may have the ability to set digital reminders to help you plan ahead and be prepared.)

Clean out your snack drawer. Stashing healthy snacks in your desk drawer is a great idea. Planning ahead so that you always have something nutritious to reach for when you feel your tummy rumbling can help reduce trips to the vending machine. Take a few minutes to go through your snacks and ensure that they are not out of date. Also think back to when you may have opened the snacks; if they’ve been open too long, they may have gotten stale. If you need to add more healthy snacks to your drawer, try these tasty ideas:

  • Single-serve bags of popcorn
  • Individually wrapped dark chocolate squares
  • Juice boxes that contain 100% fruit juice
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Granola or trail mix
  • If you keep any snacks in your drawer that are not already in single-serve packs, consider bringing a set of measuring cups to work—this way you can ensure that you are eating the proper serving sizes
  • If you have access to a refrigerator at work, consider bringing in light string cheeses, low-fat plain yogurt, single-serve packs of hummus, fresh cut fruit, or sliced veggies
  • If there is room on your desk, build yourself a fruit bowl with fruits that do not need to be refrigerated, like apples, oranges, or bananas. (If healthy food is visible, you’re more likely to eat it!)

Set appointments with yourself. No matter how neat and tidy your desk is, it’s good to step away from it for a few minutes every so often, as your schedule permits, to walk or stretch your legs. Not only is fitting in a little physical activity good for your health, but stepping away for a moment can also help you clear your head and allow you to return to your desk feeling refreshed. If you have trouble remembering to get up from your desk, set appointments in your calendar, or reminders on your smartphone, to do so. Treat it as a priority, just like you’d treat any other meeting. Not sure what type of physical activity to fit in? Here are a few ideas you can do quickly, even on a busy day:

  • Take a 5-minute walk in your building or outside
  • Walk up and down a staircase a few times
  • Stand up and stretch your neck, back, arms, and/or legs
  • Walk in place at your desk for a couple minutes

For Health Advocate Members

If you are a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, call your coach for more wellness and stress management tips that can help you have a happy and healthy 2016!