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Aug 27
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Creating Zen Office Space

By Mark Wilhelmi

De-cluttering is a popular activity these days. Clutter can affect the way we do our jobs. Too much stuff can be distracting and claustrophobic. We may want to do something about our clutter, but we don’t know where to begin. We can find books and online articles offering advice about how to free up our workspaces. But as meditators we may ask how we can relate to our workspace from a practitioner’s point of view—how we might go about creating Zen Office Space.

I’ve heard it said that a clear desk is the product of a diseased mind. Of course that’s meant to be a joke, but it’s also a reflection of how defensive we can feel about our work environment. When our desk is piled high with stuff, we’re reluctant to even think about weeding and organizing. We feel pressure to be productive, and it seems there’s no time to de-clutter. Besides, one day we might need those sticky notes, business cards, old documents, desk toys, plants, family photos, etc., etc. So we work around all the stuff we’ve collected. (A co-worker once explained to me that her strategy was to start her work at the top of the many piles on her desk.)

In my experience, a cluttered desk reflects a scattered, over-stuffed mind. When I let things pile up unorganized, I have a hard time focusing. All of a sudden, work can seem overwhelming. I’ve found that the more uncluttered my physical space, the clearer my mind is, and the greater my ability to focus on what needs to be done.

Corner Office or Zen Office Cubicle

From the Zen Yogacara point of view, everything is mind. It doesn’t matter if you are tidying up a Zen Office Cubicle or updating a penthouse suite. The way your environment is arranged and cared for reflects and impacts your state of mind. If you clear and organize your physical space, you bring order to your inner world as well. Such housekeeping can be a form of meditation in its own right.

Imagining a Zen Office Space evokes images of an environment that is simple and precise. There’s something peaceful about it. It’s balanced, attractive even. You haven’t just dumped your things carelessly. Everything is where it is for a reason. Each object has a place and a function. But at the same time, beyond utility, there is a sense of artistry to how we work with our space. To uplift it, your Zen Office Cubicle can include flowers and art.

Creating Zen Office Space: 7 Steps

  • Start with your vision of your workspace and how you want to work in it. Maybe you just want to be less distracted by unneeded stuff. Maybe you want to be able to find things more easily. Spend some time creating a mental picture of a space that would support your goals.
  • With that in mind, start from scratch. Clear everything off your desk and out of your desk drawers. Put it all in boxes. When you need something, put it back. Understand what you really must have to do your work. After a week or two whatever is still in the boxes can be put in deep storage or given away.
  • If you just don’t have time for a grand makeover, give yourself a smaller de-cluttering assignment you can do quickly. Set up a schedule to follow through on your task.
  • Have a place for everything. Once you know what you really need, you might need to add shelving to keep everything in reach. Have categories and stick with them. Give your file folders clear, descriptive labels.
  • Let your workspace ebb and flow. Whatever’s in your desk drawer or shelf, whatever is on your computer can flow out to be used and flow back to its place. New projects can flow across your desk. Let them come. Let them go.
  • At least once a week, schedule a regular time to declutter. Keep your space feeling alive. Experiment with putting things away at the end of each day. That’ll make each morning a fresh start. Resist the urge to fill up your environment.
  • But don’t overdo it. Decorate with images that inspire you and rotate them to keep them fresh. And don’t let cleaning and organizing distract you from working. Whether you have a grand Zen Office or a Zen Office Cubicle, it need not be perfect—just good enough.

Zen Spaces Zen Places

Of course having the time for meditation practice at home is key. But we will spend much of our lives in our work spaces. How we keep spaces at home and work matters. Clutter can be daunting, but almost all situations are workable. The point of Creating Zen Office Space is personal and powerful: clarify your environment and clarify your mind.

Zen Space Ideas

Sometimes the right object gives your space more room. Ideas from Samadhi Store:


This article was originally posted here, on the Samadhi Cushions blog.

For more content about creating a space for meditation, you can visit the Samadhi Cushions website.


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