Creative in a Cubicle: 11 Tips for Surviving
While open floor plans are becoming more popular in offices, a near 60 per cent of the white collar workforce spend their days in cubicles. The sedentary and monotonous lifestyle the cubicle promotes is not healthy for anyone, but it can be especially brutal for creatives who tend to thrive in less restrictive spaces.
If you are a creative that finds yourself in that 60 per cent and are working in a cubicle out of sheer necessity, here are some tips to help keep your creative soul alive.
1. Sit Near a Window
If at all possible, try to negotiate getting a desk near a window. This is something that really helped me when I found myself stuck in the sea of dreaded cubes The danger was I could easily get lost staring out the window and daydreaming, but the extra sunshine and something to look at other than the rows and rows of my fellow inmates was heartening.
2. Listen to music
Listening to music can reduce stress and help keep you focused while also taking you out of your immediate surroundings for a bit. If your workplace allows for it, pop those ear buds in and escape to a more melodious world for a while.
3. Add Some Color
Surround yourself with pictures of things that make you happy. Be generous with the use of color to decorate your cubicle. Research has proven that our brains associate different colors with different moods. Blue tends to be calming, while greens and yellows tend to be associated with happiness. Find what colors make you feel happy and immerse your work space with them.
4. Take Walks
Leave your desk to stretch your legs whenever you can. Walk to the nearest coffee shop to get some coffee or walk around the block on your lunch break. Walking wakes the body up, helps clear your head, reduces your risk for cancer and heart disease, and slows down the aging process. All good reasons to pound the pavement when you have 15 minutes for a break.
5. Take Tea Breaks
Tea is a fantastically comforting beverage. Not only will its warmth cheer you up and give your system healthy antioxidants, but it will also give you a reason to leave your desk for several minutes. Try these 6 great black teas to brighten your work day.
You don’t have to be on a yoga mat in a silent room or on the edge of a mountain top somewhere in order to meditate effectively. Meditation is merely a mindfulness exercise meant to calm the body and become observant of our internal state of being. Simple breathing techniques can be employed when you are at your desk or on your commute or any other time during your day. A simple exercise called box breathing is a good place to start. By simply taking in a few deep breaths, holding, and exhaling for a few seconds, our minds and bodies become calmer, less anxious, and better able to focus.
7. Read Over Lunch
Finding time to read can be daunting when you work full time, especially if you have a job that makes you so unhappy that you don’t have much mental energy left at the end of the day. Reading on your lunch break allows you to keep up with your reading in addition to helping you completely escape the workplace for 30-60 minutes.
8. Make friends
Many a person has been able to survive a stint at a miserable job because of the people they work with. Depending on the reasons why you don’t like your job, you may find some of your co-workers are just as unhappy as you are. The two of you can go make tea together and bond over your mutual misery. Who knows, you may find you have similar interests and start a business venture together, effectively solving your cubicle problem.
9. Carry a Notebook
If you have a particularly monotonous job, it can help to keep a little pocket-sized notebook with you. Use it to jot down ideas throughout the day, allowing yourself to use your creative muscle even if your job doesn’t have an outlet for your creativity. You can also use it as a journal to vent during those moments you think you might explode.
10. Outside Projects
Having a creative project you care about outside of work can be essential to helping you keep up momentum at the office. When I have a new creative project, I am full of high energy and my brain is firing a million miles a minute. Being excited and creative at home can help boost your mood at work, and depending on what your project is, it could turn in to a full time endeavor, opening the door to leaving your office job.
11. Leave on Your Lunch Break
I found leaving the workplace over lunch to be a bit of a double-edged sword. While I loved being gone from the office for a little while, it made coming back that much harder. Still, if you’re having a day where you just don’t think you can stare at the fathomless void of grey walls another second, find yourself a nice, quiet spot for lunch and re-charge your batteries elsewhere.