How have you marked your territory?

By Donna Marrin

We spend so much time at our desks. It’s no wonder that most of us like to ‘leave our mark’ by personalizing our workspaces in ways that will make our surroundings feel… ‘homey.’ If we were like most animals, we’d simply pee on our cubicle walls. Thankfully, our species marks its territory in a much more civilized manner.

Steven Schiavo, a professor of psychology at Wellesley College, says, "People decorate their offices because it makes them feel more comfortable and satisfied, and that can make them more productive. It is also a way to mark territory. Some research even shows that people who are more territorial about their offices have more influence within them and feel surer of themselves when presenting ideas there.”

A big ol’ computer monitor is the focal point of my desk. It typifies exactly why I can be found at my desk all day—every day—rather than lying in a chaise lounge with a box of bonbons and a James Patterson novel.

But the personal items on and around my desk are the ones that represent what lives in my heart. They add a bit of ‘warm and fuzzy’ to my day, no matter how crazy things become… The small wall-hanging I stitched—an expression of my passion for creative needlework. The little vial of powder-white sand and seashells filling a glass bowl—one glance takes me back to my last vacation in Curaçao. A couple of awards I won—great morale boost. The aloe plant that banishes the sting of a paper cut in minutes. And my all-time, personal favourite desktop memento that makes the announcement, “You are now entering Donna Marrin territory!”: a framed photo of my beautiful daughter.

How have you marked your territory? Send me a photo of your favourite office-space memento and I’ll post all submissions next month!

Donna Marrin is a freelance Senior Writer/Editor specializing in corporate communications and advertising. She also founded and runs the Markham Village Writers. You can visit their website at

By Adam

February 05, 2010