A well set-up workspace = major productivity boost.
As I sat down to start work one Monday morning, I felt overwhelmed. How could I feel this overwhelmed before even logging in? I took an early coffee break to help deal with the feeling of overwhelm and for what I thought was a serious case of the Mondays.
I was feeling overwhelmed and unexcited to do any work at all. But then the feeling persisted on Tuesday and Wednesday and then on Thursday something happened.
It was about noon on that Thursday that I had to change workspaces to allow for the carpets to be cleaned in that area, so I moved to the dining room table; my ‘office’ now consisted of a long empty dark oak wood table with just me and my computer. It was at this instant that since I was displaced from my office there was an immediate shift and suddenly, I started to get some quality work done for that week. This got me curious though. Only my location changed Did I just need a change of scenery? Or was it something else?
The something else…
What I quickly realized upon analysing my current workspace was that throughout the months of projects and launches, I had accumulated more papers than I knew what to do with; the number of post-it notes scattered and stuck to the surfaces on and surrounding my desk could have made up a full pad of them, my monitors were dusty and I had my old obsolete phone just sitting there from when I upgraded over to my new one
I had been so busy with my work that I didn’t take a step back to look at what I was working in for an environment.
I was so disconnected from my environment that my body had to stop and start setting off alarms, trying to get my attention.
Creating a workspace that is comfortable, functional, and conducive to productivity is essential for getting more done. Whether you work from home, in an office, or in a shared space, there are several ways to improve your workspace and increase your productivity. Here are the top 10 science-backed ways to improve your workspace and get more done.
Why organize, to begin with?
According to Harvard Business Review “…Princeton University Neuroscience Institute have used fMRI and other approaches to show that our brains like order, and that constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus. They also found that when participants cleared the clutter from their work environment, they were better able to focus and process information, and their productivity increased.”
Simply put: our brains don’t like to be overstimulated and by surrounding ourselves with stacks of to-dos and deadlines only leads to a less productive you.
Organizing you workspace
Easier said than done! It’s safe to say that not all workspaces are well-set up for productivity. Many workspaces may lack proper ergonomics, natural light, good air quality, and organization, which can negatively impact productivity.
It is also common for workspaces to be set up in a way that is not tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences, which can also negatively impact productivity. However, with the increasing awareness of the importance of ergonomics and productivity in the workplace, more and more companies are investing in creating comfortable and functional workspaces for their employees.
The dos & don’ts for a productive workspace
- Concede to poor ergonomics: Not having an ergonomic setup, such as an uncomfortable chair or a poorly positioned monitor, can lead to muscle strain and discomfort, making it difficult to work for long periods of time. Ouch!
- Underestimate natural light: Sitting in a dark, poorly lit workspace can lead to eye strain, fatigue, and depression. Total blah!
- Allow clutter and disorganization: A cluttered and disorganized workspace can lead to a cluttered and disorganized mind, making it oh so difficult to focus and be productive.
- Allow too much noise: A workspace that is too loud or has too much background noise can be a distraction and make it difficult to focus.
- Lack personalization: A generic and uninspiring workspace can make it difficult to feel motivated and productive. Nobody wants to work in a sterile & dead setting.
Here are the top 10 ways my team and I keep our spaces and minds free of clutter and 10X our overall productivity:
- Keeping a neat & organized workspace with bins and cabinets to organize. Pro Tip: set up a weekly time in your calendar on Fridays to catch up on making sure your desk is up to your new & organized standard. Start Monday fresh and ready to go!
- Clear the actual desk from non-essential items — say adios random sticky notes all over the dang place. Pro Tip:start a google doc instead!)
- Use natural light whenever possible — bask in it as your cat does alllllll day long.
- Add plants to your workspace for a natural touch. Great visual and increase air quality — double win!
- Use a comfortable chair and ergonomic keyboard. This is worth every dime. Does your work pay for an assessment and equipment? DO IT. Even if it doesn’t, please just go test drive some ergo chairs and you’ll never want to go back to your old one.
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach, organized, and put them in their proper place
- Use a dual-monitor setup to increase productivity. Pro Tip: adjust the monitors so you’re able to sit up straight and look forward. No humpback happening over here!
- Use headphones with white noise, nature sounds, classical musical — whatever really, to tune out distractions. Pro Tip: nature sounds are insanely relaxing and centring. Warning: listening to that babbling creek WILL make you pee frequently.
- Take frequent breaks to stretch and move around. No, you do not have a prison sentence to be attached to your desk from 9–5. Breaks are vital for the brain to reset, especially breaks from the same environment.
- Personalize your workspace to make it feel like your own.
- BONUS: Use a task management system to stay organized and on task. This is more for decluttering your mind. Worth every penny.
But, hey — 10 is A LOT so here are your quick 5 that you can check off your checklist today
1. Declutter — set aside time and just get it done.
2. Use natural light
3. personalize your space with some inspiring photos or fond memories
4. Wear headphones and listen to white noise, that makes you focus. Experiment!
5. Get a dual monitor set-up. Will save you time and a whole world of neck pain.
What are some unique ways that you improve your workspace?
If you liked this article, you’ll want to check out our last article on techno-stress here.
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