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24 Feb 2014

Make Your Workspace More Productive

It’s Monday, and I don’t have to tell you that like most Mondays, I tend to feel unproductive. After a weekend of laying back, relaxing, or getting things done I have put off for weeks, there’s nothing quite as painful as coming back to the grind on Monday. It takes a few moments to get into the swing of things and return to a productive workday, yet if there is one thing I have learned from working on my own, it’s this:

 

Your environment can kill your productivity.

I’ve talked about the importance of staying productive in a series of posts in the past, yet one of the most important ways to ensure your productivity remains at an all-time high is by ensuring that your workspace is more productive than ever. You need to have a productive workstation in order to get the most done, and with the tips below, you will accomplish exactly this. Here are a few of the best ways to make your workspace more productive than ever before, and ensure that you get a ton of work done day-to-day.

 

Give yourself different places to work in your office

If you have a decently sized office, don’t just throw a desk in the corner and call it a day. Instead, give yourself the option to work in multiple areas of your office. For example, in addition to having a desk in your home office, place a small, round table in another corner of your office for brainstorming and taking notes. In another area of the office, have a small standing desk that will allow you to look outside the window as you work. Sync your work files with a cloud-storage service that will allow you to access your work files no matter which device you are on, and freely move around the room and work as you will.

Essentially, you can begin work at your desktop, jot some notes down on the small table, look outside at the beautiful weather while working on your laptop and standing up (and perhaps opening the window and enjoying the outside air if the weather is ideal), and go back to your desktop and work some more.

A dry-erase board is also great for jotting down ideas, brainstorming, and so on. To ensure you are productive throughout the day, move, move, move. Make work an active activity, not a sedentary one.

Quick note: if you are a visual person, you need to keep your most important materials around you at all times. You need to be able to view said materials at all times, so do what I do: grab a few corkboards and hang important work documents on them so you can glance at them easily. This is where my to-do lists reside as well as personal bills, a calendar to measure my creative writing progress (I use the Jerry Seinfeld method – consider applying it to your work day as well), and anything of relevance I need throughout the day.

 

Decorate your office

If you walk into my home office today, you will find over a dozen posters hanging on my wall, ranging from an X-File ‘I Want to Believe,’ poster to a The Dark Knight poster. You will also find that I have a Metal Slug arcade cabinet in the corner, a chest buster from Alien on my window sill, smoking pipes I restored a few years ago on a shelf, comics and video game systems on another shelf, and even a pirate head with a cactus poking out of the top.

I have a variety of different trinkets and images covering the walls, shelves, etc. of my office, yet I have a purpose for doing this. It provides my office with an inviting atmosphere that allows me to think and work every single day. I’ve had more ideas looking at my X-Files poster than I can count, and while there are certainly days where I cannot focus on work as I normally do, this inviting atmosphere – surrounding myself with trinkets of things I like – I’m able stay productive. Does it sound unnecessary? Absolutely, but you know what? My office is my happy place – the place where my best ideas are born. And you know why? Because I’ve surrounded myself with remnants of my life that breed creativity.

Whether you have to put a poster of Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, or Alf from ALF on your office wall to breed creativity, do it. Believe me: a poster isn’t just a poster – it’s a window to creativity. Stare at a poster of Alf long enough, and you’ll find yourself lost in thought, and from there? You may find the idea you’ve been searching for.

 

Remove noisy distractions

While I enjoy lots of visuals in my office, I can’t stand noisy distractions. You’re probably the same, so if you’re like me, you’re office needs to be in an area where noisy distractions are minimal. Easier said than done depending on your situation (I have three dogs, so again, easier said than done), but do your part to eliminate all noisy distractions if possible. Shut the door for starters, and do not allow any noisy distractions to creep inside of your office.

Next, keep your window shut if there are too many distractions outside. Mine points to a wooded area so there isn’t a lot of things going on outside save for a few squirrels jumping from tree-to-tree, but if you live in a complex where, for instance, lots of people are outside swimming during the summer/getting a tan? You probably need to keep that window shut so you’re not staring and focus on your work (and, you know, not be creepy either).

As for noises affective your productivity, I have found that filling my home office with relaxing audio helps a ton. I usually listen to soundtracks or even podcasts from time-to-time so I can drown out the barks of my dogs and cars driving to pick their children up from school and focus on what’s important at the moment: getting work done.

 

There are a ton of other tips for getting the most out of your workspace – from buying an awesome, luxurious office chair to standing and working (I highly recommend it) throughout the day. Taking breaks is vital as well, as it will keep your mind fresh throughout the day and you won’t ‘crash and burn’ once 2pm hits. Be productive by maximizing the effective of your workspace – I guarantee you will get more work done than ever before!

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