A Cheerful Space is a Productive Space: 3 Tips for Office Decor

I was listening to the “Hidden Brain” podcast on NPR recently, when the featured an interview with Tim Harford (economist and host of the “More or Less” podcast from BBC). Harford talked about experiments that showed that people are happier and more productive when they are given the ability to decorate and organize their own desks/work spaces, and it made me think about what makes me happy about my own office.

Media Volery (my marketing agency) is based out of a co-working space in Gowanus, but we do have our own, dedicated space, and we’ve made it our own through decor and furniture. In particular, there are a couple of things that I think help make me more productive in my office.

Organize and Personalize

One of the reasons I got this bookshelf (above, from Ikea) was that it acts as a divider to help create some separation between my desk area and the hallway area, but it also allows me to show off my personality and keep all of my supplies and books at hand. Labeled boxes and baskets help keep things neat and tidy. Plus people other than me can find things easily, even if I’m not around.

It’s also a fun place to artfully display gifts from clients, as well as some of the tools of the trade (see my USB microphone?).

It’s All About Ergonomics

When I walk through the halls of my coworking space, I often see that other members are using thick books as ad hoc risers for their computer monitors. Now, I believe that raising one’s monitor helps with eye strain, neck pains, and back pains, but I’m not going to trap my books under them. I have this Satechi monitor stand, which gives me additional USB Ports and has space beneath, where I slip my keyboard and mouse when I’m not using them. At $35, it’s a worthwhile investment in comfort and stability.

I also have an adjustable footrest to help keep my spine more aligned as I sit and type all day.

Let Green Things Grow

We have a veritable wall of plants succulents going currently. What started out as one tiny planter soon expanded into two…and now, we have a 6-foot run of different glass bowls and pots. Plants are soothing, and with “forest bathing” all the rage, it seems right that we would have some to liven up the place.

I like that succulents are relatively hardy (and can survive my business trips with no problems), so we have lots of them. Although it should be noted that the poinsettia pictured survived my broken ankle and has bounced back since my office mates forgot to water it for a month.

What helps you be productive in your office? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Oh, and if you’re interested in this podcast episode, listen to it here or on the NPR One app.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, and I get a very small commission if you buy something. 

How Female Bosses Made It Possible for Me to Live My Dream

I’ve been ramping up my speaking schedule over the last year, and in 2017, I’ve been traveling from coast to coast speaking at events of all sizes and shapes. I enjoy it because it’s such a strong corollary to the work that I do in the classroom with my graduate students, as well as with my clients.

Recently, I led a workshop at Innovation Congress, where I was also interviewed by the awesome Paige Wilhide of NYC-based video company Paige Media. I love talking to other women about entrepreneurship, mentorship, and how I got lucky enough to do what I love doing every day of the week. I also got to see the amazing Cindy Gallop speak about diversity in the workplace, and she was so incredibly kick-ass that I can’t cover all of her speech here, so bop over to my Twitter feed for some of her best quotes.

What I’ve realized as I’ve built my own company, taught dozens of graduate students, and worked with brands big and small is that having role models who are strong, smart, female leaders has made me feel like it’s only natural that I could and would do those things too. If we can keep bringing young women into workplaces to see what’s possible for them, mentor them, and lift them up, we’ll get to a world where gender parity in the workplace will just be expected.

If you missed my events this spring, you can still catch me at Connect to Convert or Content Marketing World later this summer/fall.

The CMWorld link is an affiliate link, so if you purchase a ticket, I get a small percentage of the sales. 

The Power of Participation: Scenes from SXSW

It’s day 4 at SXSW, and as always, it’s a seriously dense, information-packed and highly experiential event. Look out for my SXSW diary post after the event on the Convince & Convert blog.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of cool experiences where I actually got to participate in the experience.

Make the Audience Work for Their Supper

On Friday night, I attended a Facebook Live broadcast of @Midnight, the comedy game show from Comedy Central. Chris Hardwick and the comedians were fantastic. And they invited the Facebook Live audience to use the reactions emoji to vote for the contestants to award bonus points during the broadcast. It was a great way to get the virtual viewers invested in the game.

Acknowledge The Audience

At a panel featuring the ever-insightful Carlos Gil, as well as Snapchat influencers CyreneQ, Danny Berk, and Shaun Ayala, Danny shot a Snapchat video featuring the audience itself. This got people in the audience excited and, I’d bet, got them to follow his account to see that story and others from him (I know I did).

Turn Them Into Collaborators

At a session with creative agency, 1st Avenue Machine (and a virtual Flula Borg, comedian and DJ), the audience got to participate and help make a music video in less than an hour. Not only was it fun, but it made us want to spread the word about the experience.

This is one session that stands out in my mind from the festival so far, and I’ve told dozens of people about it already.

Engage Them with Each Other

At the Columbia University (alma mater, what what!) digital storytelling lab session with Refinery29 on their “Empathy Lab” project, the facilitators had the audience interview a stranger in the audience to evoke empathy and deepen our understanding of each other.

It was a great exercise to demonstrate the kind of work they were doing. Exercises to frame your thesis and build relationships within the audience can be powerful tools.

Ask Their Opinions

At the premiere of American Gods, I was interviewed by Rotten Tomatoes as part of their “fan reaction” piece. Getting validation from fans (third party social proof) helped to showcase the initial thoughts and feedback from real people, not just the critics.

Create Reciprocation

As author Robert Cialdini said in his session, one way to persuade people is to build reciprocation. If you give me something, I’m more likely to do something for you.

All of these different types of participation get the audience to spread the word and be invested in the experiences.

Submit Your Best Work to the CMAs!

As we head into February, I’m starting to look forward to spring, and with that comes the annual Content Marketing Awards from Content Marketing Institute. I’m excited to be a judge for the second year in a row, and I’m always psyched to see what creative concepts my fellow marketers bring to the table.

The Content Marketing Awards honor the best projects, agencies, and marketers of the year and include 92 different categories from distribution to editorial.

If you’re a content marketer, I hope you’ll submit your work, and I hope to read it in a few months’ time.

And if you’re not ready to submit yet, but you’re looking to hone your marketing skills, I hope to see you at this year’s Content Marketing World, where I’ll be presenting a lab.

Good Things Come in 3s: Retreat, Podcast, Webinar

I love the beginning of the year because I always feel energized to take on new things and look ahead to new projects. In 2017, I’ll be teaching for the fourth year in a row at the City College of New York. I’ll be speaking at events across the country (look for me in March at Social Media Marketing World). And I’m excited to be working with new clients through my marketing agency, Media Volery.

As always, lots of things are in the works, so here are a few quick takeaways from the last 7 days.

Make Time to Grow

Earlier this week, I spent a couple of days with the crew at Convince & Convert. It’s always incredibly invigorating to be in a room with savvy marketers, content producers, social media gurus, business development specialists, and writers—all working towards one goal.

Working with them reminds me that we have to make time to take ourselves to the next level. Even if you’re busy with your nose to the grindstone, you have to systematically make time to get better, analyze where your deficits are, and make a plan for the future.

(And you should also make time for a little fun.)

Shout It Out

This week, I had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts on content marketing as a pillar of thought leadership on the Platform Giant podcast with Shane Purnell. It’s a great reminder that thought leadership is built upon creating content that people benefit from and building a community who trust you and your story.

In other words: To build thought leadership, you have to tell your story in a compelling way, build content for them, and create a space for others to connect with you and each other.

Don’t Just Make Content; Get the Most Out of the Content You Create

Finally, I’ll be speaking for the Mutual Fund Education Alliance next week on content marketing and best practices for distributing content. Instead of creating lots more content, spend 2017 focusing on how to get the most out of the content you already have.

Join me at Wednesday, January 25, at 1pm for this discussion.

Click here for more information.

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