7 Ways to Optimize Your Workspace for Productivity
One of the easiest ways to support your productivity during your workday is to ensure that you have your workspace set up properly and optimized to support your needs and comfort as you are busy getting things done! Although each of our workspace situations may vary, if you work at a desk for a majority of your day these tips should help inspire you to set your workspace up for productivity to make you a more efficient and successful worker!
Workspace Optimization #1: Use a Large Desk
If you work at a desk, the best way to ensure you are able to easily accomplish your work is to use desk that is large enough for your work. Have you ever tried working at a desk that was too small? It’s absolute hell and a total productivity killer. I don’t want to make excuses for anyone who has a messy desk, but when your desk is too small, it becomes difficult for you to pull out all the materials you need to work without having to constantly remove items from your desk. Even if you work on a computer all day, inevitably you will have some physical items that you need to touch while you work. Notebooks, paperwork, a phone, reference binders, and more are a normal part of most of our days in the office, and if you are a crafter or creative artist, you need even more space on your desk to lay out your tools to work comfortably. If you are feeling cramped at your desk, consider upgrading to a larger desk or adding a second desk to create an L shaped workspace giving you enough surface area for everything you need to get the job done!
Workspace Optimization #2: Choose a Functional Office Chair
For years I opted to use a tufted dining chair for my office because I liked the way it looked, but it was such a bother getting myself comfortable and moving around at my desk. Eventually, I opted for a more office appropriate swivel chair on wheels with a nice high back to support me comfortably as I work. I found the most attractive one I could within my price range, and ended up with this model, and it has been an absolute dream to sit in! A functional office chair like mine gives me the ability to move seamlessly around my workspace, to adjust the height of my chair so I am not straining, and to sit comfortably for longer periods of time.
Workspace Optimization #3: Obey the Laws of Workspace Ergonomics
Another way to optimize your desk area for your complete comfort is to consider your workspace ergonomics. In order to prevent eye, arm or back strain, set your computer and chair up so you are looking straight at the screen with your hands resting comfortably on the keyboard. You should be able to sit up straight comfortably, with your back supported, arms resting naturally on the desk, and neck straight so that you don’t have to hunch over to work. Since I use a laptop, I have a few different risers that I use in different situations to accomplish this. I use this laptop riser along with my external keyboard when designing but I’ve recently acquired this simpler riser that lifts just the back of my laptop during long periods of writing. To learn more about setting up your workspace ergonomically, read this article.
Workspace Optimization #4: Keep Frequently Used Items within Arms Reach
Again, I don’t advocate a cluttered workspace where you leave everything out on your desk, but I do think you need to make sure your frequently used items are within arms reach and everything else is properly stored away. This will obviously vary from person to person, but I keep writing utensils, sticky notes, notebooks, notepads, my planner, my printer, and more all around my immediate area. Some items are left out on my desk, others are kept in my desk drawers and of course, I have a credenza immediately behind me so that I can swivel around in my chair and grab papers off the printer or access an item stored inside.
Workspace Optimization #5: Create a Comfortable Workspace Atmosphere
If you have ever worked in a big office, you may have noticed that the temperature is usually kept pretty cool year round and the lighting usually has something of a blue cast to it. In terms of creating a workspace atmosphere that supports productivity, it’s essential to work in a room that is cool, not too cold and not too warm, and to use bright daylight lights. These choices are deliberate because your employer is trying to make sure you are kept wide awake during the workday! A cool temperature helps to keep our bodies awake and alert, instead of warm and cozy which can trigger drowsiness. Using bright lighting is another way to keep workers awake as well as prevent eyestrain, as “daylight” lighting triggers our bodies to remain awake while helping improve our eyesight. If you work from home, its pretty easy to keep the temperature within that cool zone, but make sure you also switch out the lights in your office for daylight bulbs as most homes default to soft white bulbs that are less optimized for work!
Workspace Optimization #6: Motivate Yourself with Aromatherapy
This suggestion may not be suitable for everyone, but I love motivating myself during the day with aromatherapy. I’ve written before about my essential oil productivity secret weapon and made a whole video about essential oils I use throughout the day, so you can check those out, but the idea is that certain scents diffused in our workspace can help us keep our minds awake and alert, giving us a natural energy boost throughout the day.
Workspace Optimization #7: Create Focus with Music
Again, this is a suggestion that may not fit every workspace scenario, but I find that one of the best ways to get focused on my work is to have some music or background noise playing. I prefer classical music or white noise to combat the quiet of my home office during the day, but if you work in an office and find that odd noises here and there disrupt you, you may want to give this optimization a try as well. Sound has a powerful way of subconsciously motivating us to work and specifically helps us focus when we are creating our own bubble of sound around us.
I hope this has inspired you to optimize your workspace for productivity! I’d love to hear about which optimizations you may already use or want to put into place in the future, so leave me a comment down below!