6 DIY Projects that’ll Create a More Peaceful, Zen Workspace (Even if You have No Walls)

Imagine the scene: You’re trying to finish crunching the numbers on your latest project, when someone walks by your desk wearing squeaky shoes, carrying his lunch—a pungent tuna salad—and calling out loudly to a co-worker. By the time he’s passed your desk, there’s no way your brain’s still focusing on those numbers.

Between all the noise—the closing and opening of doors, the phone calls and conversations, the traffic sounds from the street many people find it very difficult to get work done on time and at the desired quality. While it’s not very realistic to try to change your office environment, you can make some adjustments to turn your own workspace into a peaceful sanctuary.

These six cheap and easy DIY projects will help you to create a corner of calm to settle your thoughts, strengthen your focus, and increase your productivity.

1. Capture the Zen of the Outdoors

While you can’t move your computer to a grassy field, you can do your best to infuse your work space with a touch of the outdoors. Option one: Buy a plant. Or option two (likely the less deadly option): Create a mossy terrarium on your desk. With its sleek glass container, it’ll look more like decor than your typical desk plant, and it’s easier to care for, too. No need to add “water plants” to your to-do list.

2. Create Your Own Smells (to Drown Out Everyone Else’s Lunches)

Remember that co-worker with the tuna salad? Smells can be a huge annoyance when you’re attempting to focus in on your work—so, instead of suffering in silence, create a counteracting aroma that not only clears the air, but could also help calm your senses. For example, these DIY lavender sachets smell great, and likely won’t offend anyone sitting near you. (But, err on the side of caution and ask your colleagues to be honest with you if the scents are getting to them.)

3. Relax Your Muscles (Literally) So Your Brain Can Do All the Heavy Lifting

Reducing some of the stress in your body, especially your shoulders, can help relieve tension and zero in on what you’re working on. Plus, according to research, stress can make your muscles ache. So, give your muscles a soft and soothing rest while you work your brain with a homemade aromatherapy pillow.

4. Use Colors to Change Your Mood

When you’re looking for desk accessories—whether they’re necessary or just purely for fun—keep color in mind. For example, research shows that blues and greens can make you feel calm and relaxed, while yellow increase your happiness, and red energizes you.

5. Pick a Mantra—Then Put It Everywhere

OK, you don’t have to put your chosen mantra everywhere (that’d be overkill), but staying positive at the office will actually boost your productivity, so it does help to have some smile-stimulators within eyesight. And, the hope is that if you DIY this motto up, you’ll feel doubly inspired.

6. Provide Yourself an Outlet to Chill Out

The workday can be long, and stressful, and did I say long? While you may know that mindless activities like coloring are good for you, you probably don’t have a coloring book within reach. Well, change that. You can either purchase one—or go above and beyond and create a Zentangle supply box.

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