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5 Simple Ways to Liven Up your Work Space

5 Simple Ways to Liven Up your Work Space

An inspiring work space goes a long way in keeping you motivated and productive. Given that we all spend at least 7-8 hours at our work spaces, it is important to have one which gives you good vibes. And if you don’t have a very inspiring work space, you can make one. Here are five simple ways how.

  1. Appropriate Lighting

    Often, lighting is limited to only about 15 inches of your work space. This means you squeeze yourself into those 15 inches of light to be able to focus properly. Ideally, the lighting should be directly over your work space – at the center, so as to equally light up your entire work station. This enables you to focus effortlessly, and also maintains proper ambient light which is crucial for making you feel relaxed and calm.

  2. Green it up!

    From little cacti, succulents to the larger varieties of Areca palm – a little green at your work space goes a long way in helping you feel happy, calm and centered. They also come with the obvious benefits of natural air purification. There are plenty of low maintenance plants you can choose from, the ones stated above being just a few amongst them. Feeling confused about which plant to adopt? Have a look at this catalogue!

  3. Add frames

    Not too many, just a few depending on how big your work station is. Go with images that reflect positive vibes, and put a smile on your face when you see them. Ideally, you should go for frames which are simple, and not cluttered with too much happening in them. The purpose of what you put around you should be to help you focus, and not aid your distractions. Therefore, going with a mountain scenery should be preferable to putting up a busy market scene where there’s too much happening, and every time you see it you notice (or want to notice) something new.

  4. The magic of a cork board

    The old school charm of a cork board can never go out of fashion. Whether to use it as a vision board, for to-do lists, inspirational love notes to self or just to pin some art up, a cork board is an indispensable item when trying to claim a space as yours. Given that this is to be used for your work space, make sure you are careful about what you put up – unless you work at home. The key is once again to put things up that help focus and motivate, and aren’t distracting.

  5. Personalize

    Personalization goes beyond what’s is visible to the naked eye. Going to your work space should feel like the integral experience it is. Stock up on your favorite tea or coffee. Keep a go-to (but healthy) snack ready. Spend time creating those two playlists – one for deep work, one for regular work. Choose a fragrance that helps you breathe better – it could be in the form of incense or potpourri or even a scented candle.

    The idea is to create a space that feels like you! A space you look forward to getting to, a space that motivates you and inspires you to do, and to do more. And this can be done with a little bit of time, almost no money and lots of soul. So if you have these ingredients, step up and take on this therapeutic project of reclaiming your work space and making it truly yours!

A Little Something to Help you Through the Week

A Little Something to Help you Through the Week

It’s only Tuesday today, and the weekend couldn’t seem farther. No long weekends until Christmas which is more than a month away. Oh gosh, was Diwali that long ago? Oh well, it is not as bad as we world of workers seem to make it, with a bit of inspiration. Feeling productive comes closest to feeling invincible, this is something we believe firmly at OBOlinx. To help you Through the Week, we’ve put together this 2 minute read which hopefully will leave you feeling inspired, motivated and ready to take on the world! A compilation of the best quotes on productivity, for you. Your dose of Tuesday inspiration!

Enough of “doing” is what leads to actualization of outcomes

You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.” – David Allen

Never wait. Get up and hustle.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. Stephen King

There is a difference between being busy and being productive. The real question is, what are you busy with?

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. Thomas A. Edison

Whatever your passion is. Find it, and let it consume you.

In trying to find who you are, be less destructive and more constructive. Look at art or whatever your passion is and be productive. Nirrimi Joy Hakanson

Do what you love. Love what you do.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Steve Jobs

Go that extra mile to plan. Go further to execute that plan.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Because today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. So make your “now” count, and look forward to tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. John Wayne

Over thinking is the death of productivity.

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Bruce Lee

Oops. A bit audacious but true. Patience is the key and all great things take time.

 No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. Warren Buffett

Nothing is more precious than being happy in the now. The true elixir of productivity. The end.

I enjoy writing, I enjoy my house, my family and, more than anything I enjoy the feeling of seeing each day used to the full to actually produce something. The end.  Michael Palin

Enjoyed reading our post? Tell us about your favorite productivity quote!

What they Say about Personal Branding – 10 Best Quotes

What they Say about Personal Branding – 10 Best Quotes

This week, we have introduced to you our series of posts on Personal Branding. If you haven’t already read our introductory post, which also serves as a crash course on personal branding, you can read it here – Personal Branding: Why it Matters and How you Can Get There. While our previous post was more on the fundamental and technical know hows of personal branding, today’s is to fetch you some inspiration. Wondering if other people felt the same things you may have felt at different points in time, regarding personal branding? Only one way to find out! Here are the 10 best Quotes on Personal Branding by some very successful personalities.

1. Because you represent brand ‘You’.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. – Tom Peters in Fast Company

2. Whether it’s a blind date, or a job interview, remember you live in the Age of Google.

Personal branding is about managing your name—even if you don’t own a business—in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.– Tim Ferriss

3. One of the golden rules for personal branding is getting to know your audience.

Focus on identifying your target audience, communicating an authentic message that they want and need and project yourself as an “expert” within your niche.– Kim Garst

4. The basics of starting well, when it comes to personal branding.

Start by knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it and deliver it online in a compelling way. – Krista Neher

5. The greatest promise you can ever make to yourself is to work hard, and work true – for the brand called ‘You’.

Your brand is a gateway to your true work. You know you are here to do something—to create something or help others in some way. The question is, how can you set up your life and work so that you can do it? The answer lies in your brand. When you create a compelling brand you attract people who want the promise of your brand – which you deliver.– Dave Buck

6. …And the greatest promise to your clients is your Brand!

Your personal brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability.– Jason Hartman

7. All good things take time. Including establishing solid foundations for your personal brand.

Building a profitable personal brand online is not a sprint, and something that happens over night. Don’t aim for perfection early on. Instead allow your brand to evolve naturally over time and focus on providing massive value and over deliver to your target audience. Then you will get more clear over your message and brand as well. Always remember that!– Navid Moazzez

8. Regardless of what background you come from, and where you aim on going, your personal branding matters!

Even individuals need to develop a brand for themselves …. Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of YOU when they think of your field.Accelepoint Webzine

9. Maintaining transparency about your brand is what contributes to the reputation of your brand.

It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have.Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.– Gary Vaynerchuk

10. And our favorite from the literary genius. This one goes out to every body out there regardless of whether or not you are interested in personal branding!

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. – Oscar Wilde

Have some favorite personal branding quotes? Bring them up here!

The World of Work and the Game of Thrones Season Finale – A Takeaway

The World of Work and the Game of Thrones Season Finale – A Takeaway

Season 7 of the series that broke the internet, Game of Thrones concluded recently. But here we are, thirsting for more and contemplating about what’s really going to happen. Who is finally going to lay claim to the Iron Throne and rule the seven kingdoms? Cersei? Jon Snow? Daenyrys? Or in a surprise twist, Tyrion? The White Walkers just might consume them all – this possibility cannot be ruled out either. Well, to find out about that we’ll really have to keep at making fan fiction while waiting for the final season of Game of Thrones to air next year. We love drawing parallels between stuff that causes a storm in popular media and the world of work. This post is one of those.

The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale had five specific instances we felt were very similar to situations in the world of work, and here they are.

When Jon Snow Said “…the same thing is coming for all of us.”, while appealing for a truce

What Jon Snow has been lobbying for, ever since he saw the wight walkers is for all the kingdoms to come together and fight the real enemy. Throughout this season, he has been seeing going against popular reasoning of his countrymen and making tough decisions – something that a leader would have to do from time to time. It brings to mind the role of a true leader in the world of work. One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to bring together his entire team to unite them for a common cause – and at times, the team might very well consist of warring factions!

“…the more immediate problem is that we are f***ed” – Tyrion

Priorities, priorities, priorities. This one thing that Tyrion says, spells out the importance of priorities. True that at any given point of time there will be a hundred things to take care of. However, not knowing how to prioritize those tasks might just push you into a downward spiral. Or in the case of GOT, the Wight Walker’s swords.

Addressing what needs to be addressed immediately, and proceeding according to priorities is what makes things at work infinitely smoother.

“Together they would be difficult to defeat.” , Little Finger referring to Daenyrys and Jon Snow

Formidable partnerships bring forth magic. The fans are waiting with bated breath to know how the partnership of Daenyrys and Jon Snow is going to turn things around. Leaving the fact aside that the partnership is an incestuous one (in their defense, they don’t know yet! or do they?), it cannot be denied that it is a formidable one!

It is no different in the world of work. A good team or a good partnership can truly create magic and set a strong example. Because, together, they would be difficult to defeat.

“You don’t have to choose, you are a Greyjoy and you are a Stark.”, Jon Snow to Theon

‘You are who you are.’ Jon Snow couldn’t have resolved Theon’s existential angst in a better way. At times we are conflicted with ourselves, for whatever reason, but it also affects our productivity in the world of work. Embracing whoever we are, flaws and all, is what helps us get closer to being a true person. None of us are perfect, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot be perfect. Because we aren’t meant to be. Bringing who we are, bring our own selves to whatever we do helps us be a little better than who we were yesterday. Which is better than being perfect!

“I’m a slow learner. It’s true. But I learn.” Sansa, before Little Finger’s execution

Better late than never. Up until now, fans had been wondering how on earth could Sansa have been so stupid? But she has proven all of us wrong. There’s a lesson for all of us inhabitants of the world of work in there – to never underestimate anyone, no matter how stupid they may seem. What Sansa said is also personal motivation for all os us. We all may have our individual paces of learning, but what’s more important is to never give up. To learn slowly, but surely!

We hope you enjoyed reading our special feature on the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Have you read what we previously wrote on what five things characters from the Game of Thrones series teach us about the world of work? Do spare it a read!

Tell us what you though of it in your comments below, and if you have some takeaways of your own! We always love engaging with our readers!

Importance of Mental Health Awareness at Work

Importance of Mental Health Awareness at Work

While efforts for mental health awareness in the space has picked up pace, there still is a long way to go. Recent studies and research has shown the direct link between mental health and performance or productivity.

To understand why mental health awareness at the workplace is an issue to be addressed immediately one must look at the bigger picture of how serious the concern really is. Numbers are absolute, and make an impact in a way that words cannot. So here are some numbers to put things into perspective, before we delve further into the topic.

Mental Health Awareness – A Reality Check

  • 56 million Indians, or 4.5% of India’s population suffer from depression.
  • While nearly 10 per cent of the population has common mental disorders, 1.9 per cent of the population suffers from severe mental disorders. [Source: WHO]
  • The WHO has defined sustainable development goals and elaborated the impact of mental illnesses and suicide on them. The suicide rate in India in 2015 at 15.7/100,000 is higher than the regional average of 12.9 and the global average of 10.6. Suicide is the leading cause of death among those aged 15–29 in India. [source: Mental Health Awareness: The Indian Scenario]
  • There is just one psychiatrist for four lakh Indians. Another expert said there were 4,000 psychiatrists, 1,000 psychologists and 3,000 social workers for the whole of the country and only 1,022 college seats for mental health professionals are set aside in India. [Source: World Mental Health Day: India’s Mental Health Crisis In Numbers]

Can the World of Work Make a Difference?

Yes it can.

Coming away from the scary numbers, let’s talk about how the world of work can make a positive difference to the existing scenario.

Why should the world of work make a difference?

Because about 8-10 hours out of 24 hours of our day is spent at work.

How can the work-space make a difference to our mental health awareness?

1. First things first, by acknowledging the importance of mental health and mental health awareness.

This made news recently, when an employee wrote to her CEO informing that she would be taking some time off, so she can come back a ‘100%’. The CEO’s response is up here for all of us to see.



Acknowledging that taking care of your mental health is important is the first step towards creating awareness. Being fit mentally is just as important as being fit physically to be at your productive best. However, it is impossible to bring about change without acknowledgment of the issue.

2. Tackling the associated Stigma

The social stigma attached to mental health comes in the way of even acknowledging mental health issues and dialogues. This continues to be one of the main road blocks towards addressing mental health concerns. Along with dealing with the mental health concerns, the individual is also at the receiving end of a great deal of social prejudice and discrimination. One way work spaces can help tackle this is by holding frequent workshops, webinars, or even focused conversations and dialogues on mental health. It is because of the social stigma attached that more often than not, mental health concerns are internalized.  Addressing them by holding sustained conversations about them is the only to bust the stigma.

3. Making resources available

By creating a work environment where the employees have access to basic mental health resources, should they need it, is a great way of showing support for mental health concerns. When we say resources, we mean very simple, basic resources, which in fact should become a norm. For example, a counselor at a designated desk. If the organisation cannot afford a full-time counselor, you could bring someone on board for 2 or 3 days a week and he/ she could be made available on appointment. Similarly, other easy ways are by creating a resource pool of short  video clips or documents on mental health which could be circulated amongst the employees on email.

Spending some time on creating a ‘Mental Health Directory’, can also be hugely beneficial, not just for your organisation, but for anyone who has access to this directory. Recently, students from the Azim Premji University in Bangalore, created a Mental Health Directory for the city of Bangalore, which has valuable information regarding all available mental resources in the city. Awareness centers, recreational  centers, wellness centers, counselors, psychiatrists, alternative care services, rehabilitation centers are some of the many resources which have been documented within this directory.

4. Small changes to the work-space design can make big differences

When we say changes to work space design, we do not mean big, expensive changes. We mean a basic mindfulness check of your work space.

While companies invest in many strategies to support the physical health of employees, from flu vaccinations to filtered air systems, ignoring employees’ mental health means businesses risk losing any gains they make in physical health support. Depression, stress, substance abuse, financial distress, work-life balance, ADHD, and, yes, even workplace bullying are all issues with which workers are dealing and that have a large drain on productivity. – Jennifer Stukenberg, How to design workspaces that support employee mental health.

Being mindful in how the work-space is designed plays a huge role in enhancing the productivity of your employees, by supporting their mental health. The most basic checklist is as follows –

  • Well lit and ventilated work space.
  • Away from noise and distraction.
  • Ensuring cohesiveness by positioning the employees in such a way that they can see each other and feel connected, instead of feeling isolated.
  • Some green around – there are plenty of options for indoor plants!

5. Building Empathy into the Organizational Culture

How sustainable all the above listed options are, is entirely dependent on the larger culture of the organisation. Cultivating ’empathy’ as a culture within the organisation is the key to understanding mental health concerns.

Empathy is not sympathy or pity. Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings from their perspective. It’s about putting yourself authentically in someone else’s shoes. Asking questions from their point of view and not yours, pausing, listening and thinking about the opportunities / issues from that person’s position. Why Every Business Needs a Culture of Empathy

Without the concept of empathy, understanding mental health concerns, or working towards mental health awareness will remain a distant dream. Also, the culture of empathy really starts at the top. It is the vision of the organisation, and the outlook of those on the top to fulfill the vision which makes all the difference.

We leave you with this thought provoking TedTalk by renowned mental health practitioner, Vikram Patel, on Mental Health for All by Involving All. In his talk, Patel argues why mental health shouldn’t just be a privilege of the first world, as it is today, and should be accessible to all. He goes beyond just posing problems by proposing low cost and effective solutions to address these issues.

Are you ready to take on, what may be called as your ‘basic responsibility’ to make mental health accessible for your employees?

Bringing in the Mindfulness – Top 5 Quotes

Bringing in the Mindfulness – Top 5 Quotes

A while ago, we wrote about Practicing the Miracle of Mindfulness at Work. In it, we spoke about how to incorporate the practice of mindfulness into your every day routine of work. While mindfulness, in its essence really means to “be”, different people have different ways of saying it. There is nothing more inspiring than reading how other people have experienced mindfulnes, and what they understand the concept of mindfulness as. Here is a selection of the five best ones!

  1. Like we said, the shortest definition of mindfulness is really to just “be”.

“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.” Eckhart Tolle

2. To be present is probably the key to achieving mindfulness, and therefore, could be the hardest thing to achieve. To be present means to be nowhere else, to do nothing else but what the present moment asks of you. Being present means to give your entire being to accomplishing the current task at hand with all your attention, love and care.

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” ~James Baraz

3. Turn away from focusing on what you ‘don’t’ have. Make a list of things you are grateful for, and you’ll realize that the list is ever expansive.

“There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it’s because you’re thinking or focusing on what you don’t have…. But, right now you have everything you need to be in bliss.” ~Anthony de Mello

4. Mindfulness is the coming together of the conscious and the subconscious, in a way more powerful than you ever imagined. Being mindful is a means and an end at the same time. To practice being mindful means to channelize the highest levels of energy within yourself towards a purpose you have chosen for yourself.

The practice of mindfulness begins in the small, remote cave of your unconscious mind and blossoms with the sunlight of your conscious life, reaching far beyond the people and places you can see.” ~Earon Davis

5. Yes, he couldn’t be more accurate. Your entire life revolves around how you savor or rush through your cup of tea. It is only when we are able to truly appreciate what we are gifted with, that we begin to invoke more blessings. “Live the actual moment”. Is mindfulness your cup of tea?

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh”

The practice of mindfulness has the potential to rejuvenate and restore us as individuals. Gratitude and being aware of everything, and everyone, is the key to being mindful. Or like we say, to be mindful is to be happy in the now!