There’s little more dampening to a marketing professional’s creative mind than stress. Yet we’re inundated with stress on a daily basis. While digital has made the world of marketing more exciting than ever — it’s also created more pressure and, sometimes, frustration.
Social media pop-ups, immediate and constant communication with clients, the ability to work anywhere — the list goes on. Without the right tools and focus, a combination of these factors takes marketers down a quick road to burnout.
It all starts in the office — where the majority of your time is spent and creativity is expected to flow at an inordinate speed. Your office must be your sanctuary. A safe, uncluttered space where you watch your visions come to life.
Today, I’m sharing what keeps me from falling off the deep end of burnout in my office:
1. Natural light
The basement in my house has an entire wall of office space. Beautifully handcrafted pine boards run up the wall down into a study and spacious glass top desk. I hate working there. It’s sinful to never use this well-intended space. But the fluorescent lighting kills my creative spirit.
More research is proving natural light is critical for well-being and creativity. A 2018 Future Workplace survey revealed 47 percent of employees admit they feel tired or very tired from the absence of natural light or a window at their office. Another 43 percent report feeling gloomy because of the lack of light.
Find sunlight throughout your day if it isn’t a possibility in your office. In the warmer months, take your work outside. Always take breaks where natural light flows into the office or in a relaxing outdoor space.
2. A touch of the outdoors
House and office plants aren’t just for enhancing the looks of your office. New research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, found improved indoor environmental quality doubled occupants’ cognitive function test scores.
Rather than perusing Home Goods’ giant section of no-kill artificial plants, venture out and purchase live plants. Of course, not everything will survive in an office setting. Here are a few plants that will last indoors and are allergen-free:
- Snake plant
- Swedish Ivy
- Peace Lily
- Golden Pothos
Seasonal flowers are also the perfect way to brighten your office space. In the spring and summer, fresh-cut wildflowers are always found in my workspaces.
3. Oil diffuser
Note: Depending on your office space, a diffuser may not be an option. Always discuss allergies, sensitivities, and scent preferences with co-workers
Oil diffusers are constantly running in my home and office spaces. They’re great for eliminating distracting odors, but also clear your mind and clean hazardous germs from the atmosphere.
- Pure (Detoxifying)
- Mental focus blend
- Relaxation blend
4. Personal calendar
Content calendars and management software is perfect for aligning our daily tasks with deadlines. They’re not, however, great for managing your productivity and life as a whole.
Don’t buy a planner or calendar that easily slides in your desk or computer bag. Planning out your week and then keeping your reminders out of sight won’t change your habits. Find something you can place in your sightline.
Organize your day by hours when you’re most productive. Drafting tasks, for example, are best completed in the morning for me. Then, I schedule in a few breaks, including lunch and errands that are taking up mind-space. Other smaller tasks are saved for the end of the day.
5. Your favorite pen and paper
I love kicking it old school with pen and paper. My first writing professor in college taught me to not just write on any old tablet with any old pen. I can’t lie, my favorite is a trusty old clear and black Bic pen or a sharpened pencil.
It’s so easy to forget these simple details when we’re glued to our keyboards. Intentionally take breaks from your computer. Write content brainstorms, call notes, or even plan content calendars on paper. It gives your eyes a break and allows your creativity to flow in a new way.
6. Social media and email blockers
Many leaders block social media on work computers because employees are on their personal social sites. For marketing professionals, though, the distractions are enhanced. You receive your own and clients’ social media notifications. On top of that, your email is blowing up and of course, you view all of it as urgent.
Give yourself moments of purely uninterrupted productivity. Silence your phone and put it out of sight. Use free tools, like StayFocusd and WasteNoTime to block sites you find distracting. If you know exiting from your email inbox isn’t enough, apps like Boomerang will pause your inbox so you’re forced to ignore all incoming messages until you’re ready for them.