Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day? Do you wish you could get more done while still feeling energised and inspired? The key might be your workspace. If it’s cluttered and disorganized, then it can definitely affect how productive (or unproductive!) you are. But don’t worry – with a few simple changes to your environment, you can create a functional (and stylish!) workspace that will help increase your productivity. In this post, we look at five easy transformations anyone can use to spark joy in their workspace!
The set-up of your workspace, in terms of the positioning of your chair, desk and technology can have huge effects on your productivity as well as your physical health, as poor posture can lead to neck, back, wrist and finger pain (which can in turn be very distracting when you’re trying to work). The Mayo Clinic offer several great tips for improving the ergonomics of your workspace:
- Sit straight and adjust your chair so your feet are on the floor and your thighs are parallel. Your forearms should be able to rest gently on the desk in front of you to type.
- Recline your chair slightly to minimise lower back pain.
- The top of your screen should be at your eye level, or directly below. Place it on a stand or stack of books until it is.
- Ideally your screen should also be 24-36 inches from your eyes
Investing in a good chair can pay dividends in the longer term.
To decrease eye strain and headaches whilst boosting your energy, position your desk somewhere with as much natural light as possible. Lighting can have a profound effect on your productivity and mood. Dim lighting causes eye strain, drowsiness and lack of focus, whereas harsh lighting can also cause headaches and make it difficult for the eyes to focus. If you don’t have access to much natural light in your workplace, you can buy lamps that mimic sunlight. This can be an excellent alternative to natural light when paired with light-coloured walls, decluttered, minimalist space and plenty of indoor plants.
Research from universities in the UK, the Netherlands and Australia has shown that having plants in the office can increase productivity by 15% and increase workplace satisfaction and employee engagement. Additionally, studies have shown that plants can reduce the number of sick days that are taken. Why? Mainly because the presence of plants improves air quality as well as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing attentiveness and creativity.
Cut the noise
Using noise-cancelling headphones is a great way to increase productivity in a busy environment. These headphones use a built-in microphone to analyse the ambient sound waves around you and generate the opposite sound waves to reduce this background noise. Essentially, they help create an isolated environment for the listener – meaning you can focus on your work without being distracted. Excessive noise can also cause stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact your work performance. By reducing external noise, noise-cancelling headphones can help you relax and focus on your work.
The saying goes, “A decluttered workspace means a decluttered mind.” A clear workspace helps give you a sense of clarity with fewer things to look at and for your mind to process. It also means spending less time trying to find things hidden under rubbish and paperwork, decreasing stress. What’s more, clearing a space before you complete a task can help mentally prepare you by ‘setting the stage’. However, be wary of using tidying up as an excuse to procrastinate…
Limit your gadgets
Although your smart devices can help often improve your productivity by keeping you organised and efficient, they can also be a huge source of distraction due to notifications and our inability to stop checking them all the time. Research has revealed that having your smartphone nearby can directly reduce your cognitive ability almost as much as not having enough sleep. This can even happen when they’re turned off or face down. One way to combat this is to schedule specific times when you’re allowed to check your phone. When you’re having times of intense concentration, hide your phone away in a drawer or another room.