10 things you need on your desk for a happier work day

When I sit down at my desk at the beginning of a workday, the state it’s in usually sets my mood for the day. Like, when you sit down to a pile of paperwork, a dirty coffee mug from the day before, and have to literally push things aside to find the keyboard, it’s nearly impossible to be in a cheery mood. Even if your desk is organized and clean, if it’s dull or sparse then there is simply nothing mood-boosting about it.

On the other hand, if your desk is tidy and equipped with all the tools you need for a disaster-proof day, AND it also has some color and life to it, then you are going to feel more cheery and probably be more productive too.

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Essentially your desk is a reflection of your work and personality, plus it’s where all the magic happens, so it makes sense to utilize the space and bring it to life.

For me, a non-negotiable end of workday ritual is to tidy my desk so it looks the same as when I arrived. This brings the workday full circle and gives me a fresh space to start the next day in, which is particularly useful if you have had a crappy day at work since you definitely don’t want to carry that stress on into the next day. Taking these 5-minutes to organize myself instead of rushing out the door, has honestly been life-changing, plus my pretty workspace deserves to stay clean!

So once you’ve got the organization and tidiness side of things down pat, all you need to do is add a few things to bring the space to life which will ensure you have a happier workday.

10 things you need on your desk for a more cheerful workday

1. Your daily planner

Where would your life be without your daily planner? Of course, this trustworthy companion is a must-have on your work desk for a stress-free day.

But, instead of just using a boring plain planner or even worse, one of your standard company ones provided to you that every other co-worker uses, try investing in one that actually helps lighten your desk.

Your planner should motivate you, and something mundane just won’t do the job!

My recommendation: Urban Outfitters Printed Daily Planner Journal

2. Greenery

There is no doubt that adding a plant to your desk gives it a welcoming feel. But beyond the aesthetics, studies have shown that plants in the office can improve indoor air quality, reduce stress and help increase productivity. In particular, a study from Washington State University found that productivity increased around 12 percent when people worked in a room with plants in comparison to one without.

A live plant is the best option (try a small succulent or something that needs minimal work if you are concerned about caring for it) to reap the most benefits, but if that’s not possible a synthetic plant or alike can still help bring a welcoming and cheery feel to your desk.

My recommendation: LVLY Little sucker

3. Good quality headphones

There’s a better way to escape the stresses of work than with a pair of good quality headphones. Once you put on a comfy pair and start playing the perfectly curated playlist (try The Office Stereo playlist on Spotify) to make you feel cheery, or a really motivating podcast (like our A Day In Progress podcast) to help boost your productivity, your mood will likely skyrocket.

Beyond this, good headphones are also really handy to have on your desk for when you need to jump on a phone call or join an online meeting and don’t want to waste time messing around with technology.

And you can even style your headphones on your desk to make your workspace look both sleek and lively. Investing in a headphone holder (like this one) not only looks great on your desk, but it also helps keep those expensive headphones in perfect condition!

My recommendation: Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Headphones

4. Warm lighting

Office lighting so often feels clinical, with either an uncomfortable amount or lack of illumination. This not only strains your eyes causing headaches and fatigue but often affects your mood too.

While some desks have access to natural light, many don’t, meaning the only source of light is the fluorescent office lighting.

Adding in a lamp produces instant warmth, particularly if you opt for a full-spectrum bulb that simulates natural light. Plus they can always be turned on and off dependent on whether or not you need it. You could even get one with a wireless charger for your devices, for an added sleek bonus.

If you don’t have room for a lamp on your desk, try adding a string of fairy lights to make your desk feel more lively.

My recommendation: Pixo Optical LED Table Lamp

5. Upgraded office supplies

Most workplaces will provide you with all the stationery you could possibly need, and while this is fantastic, the stationery itself is usually not very exciting. Plus every other co-worker will generally have the exact same on their desk.

Upgrading your office supplies to things more personalized and your style is guaranteed to put you in a cheery mood, even when you’re jotting down notes from a boring meeting.

And you don’t have to upgrade everything. I like to think of what I use the most and then simply find a funky style of those accessories that will motivate me at work. For me, that usually means upgrading my pens and post-it-notes since that’s what I use the most throughout the day, but for you, it could be completely different (paper clips, highlighters, and staplers are also common items that people like to upgrade).

My recommendation: kikki.k Slim Inspiration Ballpoint Pens


6. A desktop background that sets the scene

Your desktop background can transport you wherever you like, so utilize this and make it a work of art. In fact, this should probably be the first thing you do to create a more cheerful space on your desk because it’s so easy and entirely free. Also, you don’t need to make any commitment like when you purchase something, so play around with different backgrounds to see how they affect your mood or just change it up often enough so your space feels fresh.

I generally change between a beautiful nature picture (preferably one with lots of greenery or the ocean), and motivational quotes, or when I snap a photo I’m really proud of then I’ll use that, too. Most of the time whatever is featured will depict nature because being stuck inside at a desk usually leaves me craving nature and sometimes this is all I need to ensure I last the day inside!

My recommendation: Black and White ‘You’re Killing It’ Quote

7. A funky mug

If you are anything like me, then a good portion of your work day will be spent sipping coffee or tea while working. Having your own cute mug will cheer you up and make those trips to get your coffee or tea a little brighter.

Whether you’re a sucker for a nice big quote splashed across your mug, or prefer a beautifully handmade ceramic mug, make sure you’re sipping out of something that you love. Plus a funky mug is guaranteed to brighten your desk, and perhaps you even have a cute coaster to accompany it.

My recommendation: Urban Outfitters Sloth-Shaped Mug

8. Photos or motivational quotes

There is nothing like a good motivational quote on your desk that you can simply look to whenever you need some inspiration or an instant mood booster. As aspirational beings, it’s natural for humans to turn to motivational words, and doing so affects us on a primal level.

I like to use a wooden stand or two for quote cards, allowing me to easily change up the cards to keep things fresh or choose a particular quote that resonates with me at that point in life. And with a wooden stand, you don’t just have to pop quotes in there, either. Sometimes when I have a cute photo or polaroid that I just love (and want to look at all day) I’ll slide that in instead. Looking at photos of great moments especially help cheer you up on those really tough days at work, reminding you that more of those great moments are yet to come.

My recommendation: Bright Ideas Quote Cards

9. A pillow and blanket

A pillow on your desk chair not only makes it more comfortable, but it also helps bring a dull office chair to life. A cute pillow and a blanket should be a must at every desk, especially when the office AC is cranked way too high, or when you need to warm up from the chilly winter wind.

A blanket scarf is a great option because it works as both a blanket and a stylish scarf, so you still look professional while at your desk when needed.

You can either keep these items on your desk chair or as I like to do, just pop them in a small basket under your desk so they can be easily retrieved whenever they are needed.

My recommendation: Urban Outfitters Pink Corduroy Heart Pillow

10. A desk tray or organizer

Having a desk tray or organizer is a fool-proof way to keep all your stationary nice and tidy. A clean space helps focus your mind, and this is the perfect tool to do just that.

Depending on your style, you could get a funky colorful desk tray or organizer or something a little sleeker. I personally love a really simple (transparent if possible), yet practical organiser, that showcases some beautiful or funky stationery.

My recommendation: Russell + Hazel Acrylic Block Starter Set

This article first appeared on A Girl in Progress

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