There is more to Zen than just religion. The word has come to mean a calming feeling and lack of stress, and lets your mind become free from disruptive thoughts. Zen brings you closer to nature, to a world of peace. Deadlines looming and phones ringing make Zen a bit harder but still possible to have in the work area.

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that launched in China about fifteen centuries ago. It asserts enlightenment through meditation, intuition, and self-contemplation instead of faith or devotion.

Whether you work from home are at an office, you probably aren’t as inspired as you should be. So it might be time to reconsider your workspace. It’s pretty easy to build a Zen arena for yourself, and with only a few changes, your workspace can become the perfect place for you to sit and get things done.

You can easily apply Zen design to your office. This oriental decorating trend uses accessories with clean lines and a minimalist design. The elegant style comes from the contrast between nature-inspired colors and bright colors, like pink and orange. Some of the decorating includes using flowers throughout the room, because they are the easiest way to connect you with nature. Using wood furniture instead of plastic is also a good way to connect. Many people also use more authentic Japanese design, like small statues of Buddha, pebbles, and plants. Decorating ideas are discussed in more detail below. If you want to create a motivational workspace using Zen-inspired techniques, it is a good idea to start immediately and not wait. The sooner you change your workspace, the sooner you will feel a major impact in your life.

  1. If you are like a lot of people, you’ve likely painted your office a soothing or calming color like blue, green, or a certain shade of gray. Though you might think your area needs to be more relaxing, this is not the best approach. Yes, work is stressful; however, these colors could actually make you even more depressed. When deciding paint colors, go for more inspiring and invigorating shades. You don’t necessarily have to go for bright orange or hot pink, but this might work. But more realistically, choosing subtle shades of pink, orange, red, or yellow will help energize the senses. Visually these colors are very inspiring and produce more productivity. Another good idea is to pair warm colors with white trim.
  2. Stay organized. Being organized is key to having a motivational workspace, but that doesn’t mean you have to have piles of shelves and small compartments. In extreme cases, organization can be chaotic. You need to build an organizational set up that works for you. Don’t worry about what others think of your workspace; it’s yours, not theirs.
  3. Get decoration. It might look silly for people to decorate their workspaces, but the motivation you get from a simple picture on the wall is amazing. Put decorations in strategic areas around your workspace. These can include pictures that invite calm, like the ocean or the mountains. You can also use sayings. Hang pictures of children, people, pets, and places that invoke happiness within you.  Because this workspace is where you do your job, it needs to be inspiring and invigorating.

    Further use Zen in your office by paying attention to the elements from nature, like earth, wood, metal, fire, and water.

    You can bring fire into the office by using candles that have a pleasant scent that blends with your color scheme.

    To bring in water, add an indoor water fountain. If you can’t do this, look for artwork that has images of the sea or waterfalls. There are many ways to introduce earth.

    You can incorporate earth colors and neutral tones. A favorite Zen plant is Bonsai, but if you can’t spend much time taking care of a plant, you can bring in a vase of fresh-cut flowers. Replace the cut flowers frequently to stop fading and wilting, which will detract from the rest of the office’s scheme.

    If there is carpet in your workspace, use wood flooring to represent wood. You can also use wood furniture, avoiding any faux wood products. Only use natural wood products.

    Metal can be introduced through the light fixtures, like a table or floor lamp. And artwork made with metal is another way to bring in the element.

    To add to the rest of the area, use natural lighting whenever possible by opening the curtains or blinds to let in sunshine, even when it’s a cloudy day.

  4. Buy a Zen garden. The small box with sand and a rake helps you refocus through the day when you need to eliminate stress.

Now that you have an idea of how to create your motivational Zen workspace, how should you act throughout the day to add to it?

  1. Get ready for work each day with some quiet time. Find a quiet place for short meditation or sit in your Zen garden. Decide that you will stay calm throughout the day and let your creative energy flow freely in the workspace.
  2. Smile as you enter the workspace. By smiling, you bring good feelings to you and anybody you encounter, setting up a good day.
  3. If someone starts yelling and upsets you, take a deep breath and think of calming thoughts. When you are able to get away from that person, escape to your office and meditate shortly to calm yourself.
  4. Try to clean your desk every evening so you will come next morning to a de-cluttered space.

People who have Zen workspaces report better focus, creativity, efficiency, and results. By incorporating Zen into your office and life, you will have higher confidence and self-trust, learn faster and have more clarity, be open to changes in life, have less depression, have more positive thoughts, and be nicer to those around you.

A positive attitude and environment in a workspace can help you whether you work for an employer, own your own business, or manage others in a business. You will find your job more enjoyable and reach your goals faster and more easily.

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