One of the biggest problems I have had while in college, blogging and at my regular 9-5 is an unproductive work space. I thrive under pressure, but pressure does not mean clutter and mess. Today I’m sharing my top tips to create a constructive work space and boost productivity.
YOU HAVE TO GET ORGANIZED!
I have days where I really get in the mood to organize certain things and it can be really fun. Don’t think of this as work. Create a system for how to store papers, files, notebooks etc. and remove all of the unnecessary items from your desk. I only leave one paper inbox on my desk for bills, magazines, catalogs, and receipts that need my attention. Everything else, including pens and pencils are stored in a drawer or cabinet below my desk. Make sure your organization system includes a method to keep the items you reach for on a regular basis close by. I use file folders to keep logs and important documents on the side of my desk at work and hold them in a simple metal file organizer. At home, I keep as much as possible out of sight.
Also, clean up your computer’s storage. It’s important to have a system of organization for photos, documents, pdfs, and other files. Have sub-folders and try to store as much as you can in a cloud based system rather than filling up your hard drive. I use Google Drive and One Drive for my blog and One Drive at work. My One Drive is where I store all of my final edited photos, stock photos, headers, signature lines, and all other final photos. My Google Drive comes in handy since it’s my email account for this blog and I can transfer photos from my phone to my computer by simply uploading them. I keep my blog calendar on my same Gmail account, as well as use Google Docs for drafting blog ideas when I’m away from my personal laptop. I use One Drive at work for everything.
KEEP IT TIDY
Once you get everything organized, you have to keep up with it. If you let your desk get messy again, you’re taking two steps back. Keeping a tidy work space will make it easier for you to focus and work more efficiently. You won’t be daydreaming about all of your laundry in the corner that won’ put itself away, or dreading the pile of miscellaneous documents and tasks you have to sort on the corner of your desk.
You don’t want to sit at a desk that feels foreign or uncomfortable. To increase the cozy feel, add personal touches (but not too many – remember, we don’t want to add clutter). Add a photo of your loved one or your fur baby, a pretty coffee mug for your pens, toss a throw pillow in your chair, and a small cactus or other low maintenance plant. If you have any certificates, diplomas, or other framed memorabilia hang it on your walls! Show off your credentials proudly. If you make your work space feel like home, you will be more comfortable and relaxed while you work. You’ll step into it each day happy and ready to go.
GOOD LIGHTING IS A MUST
If your work space is too bright you will strain your eyes all day and have an awful headache by the end of the day. Also, if your work space is too dim, you are going to feel tired and lethargic, and will struggle to hold your eyes open – much less get anything else accomplished. Trust me. Been there – done that. Natural light is the best option, so if you have a window, arrange your desk or your chair/person in a way to take in the best lighting. Remember the sun moves, so what may be a pretty view of the flowers and birds in the morning, may be a scorching afternoon in the sun or even an awful glare on your computer screen.
This is so important and something I have to actively remind myself to do. Turn off Netflix, put your phone on Airplane Mode/ Do Not Disturb, put away the magazines, and stop picking at last week’s manicure. I know it sounds boring, but if Netflix is playing beside you, that’s where your attention will go. The same rule applies if your cell is lighting up with Snapchat or Instagram notifications. I tend to play music or a non-distracting podcast in the background. If I’m working on a task that requires intense focus, then I only listen to classical, instrumental music. It has been proven to improve your ability to focus, and is WAY less distracting than Sam Hunt’s new single (seriously, I can’t stop playing it!).
CHANGE IT UP PERIODICALLY
Sitting at the same desk day in and day out can be very draining. I’m not saying you need to request a new office every few months, but our human nature, as much as it loves having a routine, needs a change. Step out of your home office with your laptop and get a coffee. Go sit in the conference room at work and spread out the project you’re working on – or even take that assignment outside and sit in the sun for 30 minutes. Take a stretch break and go for a 10 minute walk. Stand up and stretch those legs. Studies have shown that standing can make you feel happier, less tired, and more motivated while at work.
Making these changes can be easier than you think, too. Organization, good lighting, and personalizing your work space are one time jobs. Keeping it clean and tidy, minimizing distractions, and changing up your work location/method are easy tweaks to habits you probably already have. What else do you do that improves your work space?