A Guide to Setting up a Productive Office
Many different factors can contribute to living a productive lifestyle, such as a good diet, exercise, and getting a good night sleep, to name a few examples. However, many people usually overlook their work environment as a contributor to a productive life.
Often many people are working in spaces that aren't set up for productivity. For example, they are surrounded by clutter on their desk, hunching down looking at their laptop, or not having easy access to the things they need when they need them. These problems ultimately don't support people in having a productive workday.
So if you're not feeling productive and you want to get more out of your day then, stay with me as I'm going to share with you my complete list of things you need to consider to establish a productive work environment.
1. Get Productive by Having a Good Size Desk
When it comes to a desk, bigger is better. A more oversized desk will give you more space to work and move without giving you the feeling of being on a crowded train. It will also give you the freedom to layout documents and other items that you need to get the job done. Also, a more extended desk will allow for other things such as a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc., to be placed on it but still giving you the room to work.
However, the size of the desk will depend on the space you have available. So if you are considering buying a new desk, measure and double measure the space to ensure the desk will fit. And purchase the biggest desk you can get based on the space available and your budget.
The most important thing when it comes to your desk is this:
You want to ensure that it's clutter-free. So limit the number of items on the desks to the essentials where possible, especially if your desk is small. A clutter-free desk will not only give you the room and freedom to work. But more importantly, it will eliminate distractions and keep you focused and productive.
2. Reduce Back Issues by Using a Monitor
Today more of us are using laptops, which is excellent as it gives us the flexibility to work when and wherever we want. However, the downside to using a laptop is people are often hunching down looking at them for long periods, which isn't suitable for their necks and backs. And ultimately these issues will reduce your productivity. Connecting your laptop to a monitor is a great way to overcome this problem.
But wait there's more:
The other benefit of using a monitor is you can place your laptop to the left or right of it and use it as a second screen. (Note you will need a separate keyboard and mouse for this to work well.) This will improve productivity as you can work with two screens hence reducing the need to switch between different windows and programs, therefore saving you time. For example, you can take notes on the monitor while having information displayed on the laptop, thus making it easier to take notes.
If finances allow, you could consider setting up dual monitors as per the below picture.
Finally, depending on your desk and monitor, you may need to consider getting a monitor stand/ raiser to ensure that your monitor is at the right hight.
3. Work More Efficiently with a Keyboard and Mouse
My preference is to use a standalone keyboard and mouse, then to use the laptop keyboard and touchpad. I find that I'm more efficient at using a mouse then the touchpad. Also, a standalone keyboard and mouse comes in handy when your laptop is connected to a monitor, and you are using it as a second screen.
Should I go wireless or wired?
It's very much a personal choice if you go wireless or wired for your keyboard and mouse. I'm currently using a wireless keyboard and mouse which I love as I don't have to deal with cords. However, the downside is you will have an ongoing cost of batteries, which are also not good for the environment. Nonetheless, I don't change the batteries often, and I do recycle my batteries after use. A wired keyboard and mouse eliminates the battery issue; however, you will need to have two spare USB ports to connect them.
4. Get Comfortable with the Right Desk Chair
Make sure you have a chair that allows you to sit upright, and you can see your monitor comfortably. There are many different types of chairs out there. The right chair for you will depend on a few factors such as how much time you spend in it, back issues etc. However, it would be best if you aimed for a good quality ergonomic chair. The more comfortable you are in the chair, the more productive you will be.
Check out this article Choosing an Office Chair? Handy Hints on How to Choose the Chair that is Right for You from Seated that talks about how to choose the right chair for you.
5. Get Some Positive Energy with Indoor Plants
I love the energy that comes from having indoor plants in my office. They change the dynamics of the space and make my workspace a place I want to go to and want to work in. When we enjoy the environment we work in, it motivates us and ultimately makes us more productive.
It gets better:
The added benefit of having indoor plants in your office is they also filter out the air, which is excellent, especially if you are working in the inner city.
Where you put your plants in your office, will depend on your plants' lighting needs. However, avoid cluttering your desk with too many plants. Remember your desk is a workspace and needs to be as clutter-free as possible. So if your desk is small, consider placing the plants somewhere else in the office. I have a big desk, so I have three plants on it as well as other plants located in different spots in my office.
Here are some of the plants that I have in my office that look great and are easy to grow:
Note that some indoor plants may be toxic to both humans and pets, so please check this before purchasing.
If your indoor plant is dead, get rid of it straight away, because that's just depressing and doesn't help with creating a positive vibe in your office.
6. Stimulate the Brain with Essential Oils
I love using essential oils as I find them helpful in boosting my productivity.
I'm no essential oils expert, but something about the scent triggers areas of the brain that can help to change our mood. If you are going to use essential oils to boost productivity, you want to make sure that you use oils that will help to boost energy rather than oils that will relax you, such as:
If you want to know more about essential oils, then check out Top 10 Useful Essentials Oils for Working From Home by New Directions Aromatics.
7. Stay Focused with Background Music
Having background music playing can be a great way to keep you focused and productive during the day, especially if you are someone who cannot work in complete silence. I will often have music playing in the background, especially for the tasks that I need to be in full focus for such as blog writing.
In my experience:
The key to using music to boost productivity is it shouldn't be distracting you. I stay away from music that has vocals such as pop music (unless I'm cleaning the office).
Because I'm more likely to engage with it and sing along rather than doing the work that I need to do, instead, I stick with instrumental and classical music as background music for high focus work.
8. See Clearly by Getting the Lighting Right
Good lighting is also essential. I prefer natural lighting where possible as I feel it changes the energy of a space and boosts my productivity. When it comes to lighting, avoid having it appearing from directly behind you as this will most likely create glare on your monitor. If you have natural light coming in that is causing glair, consider getting a screen blind. This will filter the light without placing you in complete darkness.
If you want some additional lighting tips, then check out The Right Light for Home Office and Study by Philips.
9. Have Quick Access to Want You Need by Using the Right Storage.
The type of storage you need will strongly depend on the kind of work you are doing and what tools and documents you need to have. To be efficient and productive, you need to have quick access to what you need when you need it. I keep commonly used items on my desk. Stationery is placed in a pencil case located under my monitor stand. I also house widely used documents in document folders that are stored in a magazine file.
To make a point:
It's vital to limit the number of things you store on your desk as you want to ensure that you have space to work. Filing cabinets or drawers under the desk also work well for commonly used documents and other equipment. For items that I don't use often I store them away from my desk as I like to only surround myself with the things, I need to perform the work that I'm currently doing.
10. Be Productive by Being Clutter-free
Ultimately a productive workspace is a clutter-free one. Often when our spaces are cluttered, they make us feel anxious and stressed. As a result, our energy is consumed with managing the stress and anxiety hence reducing our productivity.
It gets worse:
Clutter also leads to distractions. When our workspace is surrounded by piles of paperwork or handwritten notes scattered all over the desks, our eyes and attention will be drawn to them. Ultimately, these distractions take our attention away from working on critical tasks, and consequently reducing our productivity. Aim to work in a clutter-free space to enable you to focus on the work that you need to be doing.
When it comes to your workspace, make sure it's set up in a way that allows you to be the most productive as possible. You want to enter your workspace each day feeling great and ready to tackle the day head. And if you are not feeling great about your workspace, then it might be time to make some changes. If you want support with how to get your space in order, then please contact email@example.com to see how I can help.
Have a wonderful and productive day.
Creating Positive Spaces
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