The environment you work in can affect your productivity and focus more than you realize. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not likely to stay focused and distraction-free. The design, layout, and overall feel of your work space can either hinder you or invigorate you.
I’m showing you 8 ways you can hack your workspace to be as productive as you need to be.
You don’t have to do them all. Read through them and make a list of 2 or 3 to implement. You can add more or swap out others, either way, paying more attention to your surroundings will help you be more productive and feel more accomplished.
#1 Color it Productive
Room color and productivity go hand in hand. Color theory was one of my favorite classes in college. We learned that color not only affects your mood, it influences your behavior as well.
Blue reduces stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Use a lighter or medium tone because darker tones can produce feelings of sadness.
Orange encourages productivity and focus, but I don’t suggest painting your entire office orange. Instead bring in splashes of orange through your desk accessories, pictures, furniture, and plant holders.
Green gives your eyes a rest, especially when you stare at a computer or phone screen most of the day.
Red boosts your performance on detail-oriented tasks, which is great for proofreading.
#2 Stand Up
Standing desks are all the rage. Several of my colleagues have them. It’s helpful if you feel that you sit too much or for too long. I haven’t tried it yet, but thinking about it.
You may not want to stand all the time. If so, invest in a sit-stand desk. This type of desk can be lifted to become a standing desk or dropped to accommodate your seated position.
Sit or stand, either works. The most important thing is not to sit too long. Research has shown that standing and moving around for just 5 minutes every hour boosts your mood while reducing fatigue and food cravings.
#3 Light It Right
Lighting is important. Don’t underestimate the fact that you need to invest in the right lighting to stay focused and feel inspired. Plus, you have to be able to see what you’re doing. Having to squint or strain can bring on headaches and make you irritable.
Illuminate your main space. Having proper lighting where you work the most is imperative. Use floor and desk lamps if you don’t or can’t have good overhead lighting.
If it’s sunny, open the windows and doors and allow the natural light to flood in. On those overcast or sunless days, use more inside lights.
For clarity and maintaining concentration, “cool light” (white bulbs) are better than “warm light” (yellow bulbs), says ZME Science.
Use these lighting tricks to prevent screen glare:
- Use a desktop lamp to shine light down on your work rather than directly onto your screen.
- It’s best not to set up your monitor in front of a window. Make sure your monitor is positioned on the left or right side of the window.
- Position your desk so the sun doesn’t shine directly on your monitor. You may need to tilt it a few degrees.
#4 Bring the Outside In
As much as I’d love to have my desk on the beach, it simply won’t work. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying nature and it shouldn’t stop you either.
Keep pictures of nature (and the beach) within eyesight as a screensaver or desktop wallpaper.
Take walks during your break or simply step outside and put your feet on the ground for a few minutes.
Use houseplants to supply needed oxygen, filter your air, and give you a greener view. Green helps to reduce anxiety.
#5 Sit up Straight
Turns out mom was right, sitting up straight is the best way to sit and work.
Poor posture leads to fatigue, physical pain, and lots of non-productive, unfocused worktime.
Good posture boosts your mood and self-confidence while improving your physical health and reducing pain.
Here are 7 ways to sit properly while working at your computer, provided by the Mayo Clinic.
- Adjust the chair height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are in line (or slightly lower) with your hips.
- Sit up straight and keep your hips far back in the chair.
- The back of the chair should be somewhat reclined at a 100- to 110-degree angle.
- Ensure the keyboard is close and directly in front of you.
- To help your neck stay relaxed and in a neutral position, the monitor should be directly in front of you, a few inches above eye level.
- Sit at least 20 inches (or an arm’s length) away from the computer screen.
- Relax the shoulders and be aware of them rising toward your ears or rounding forward throughout the workday.
#6 Add Soothing Scents
Scents are just as powerful as color when it comes to affecting your mood and productivity. There are several ways to incorporate scents into your work space.
You can utilize aromatherapy diffusers. They deliver the scents subtly so that they you aren’t bombarded with artificial chemicals.
Scents can also be delivered through teas, candies, or a bowl of Potpourri.
Use this list of scents to help you stay productive.
1. Lemon. Promotes concentration.
2. Lavender. Relieves nervous tension.
3. Pine. Increases alertness..
4. Rosemary. Improves memory retention.
5. Cinnamon. Fights mental fatigue and keeps you focused.
6. Peppermint. Gives you an energy boost.
#7 Personalize It
Even if your work space is in the corner of the room, you should feel like it’s your space. Hang pictures you like to look at on the wall. Use sticky notes with inspiring phrases on your monitor.
Display desktop wallpaper that has meaning to you. Maybe it showcases your family photos or sports motivational sayings. I created my own desktop wallpaper using Adobe Spark. When I need a pick-me-up, I simply watch the pictures change on my monitor.
#8 Control the Cords
Clutter and messiness in your work space can cause you to be unhappy and stressed.
Cord clutter can be distracting. If every time you move your feet or reach for something you encounter a cord, that’s a problem.
Use cord holders and clips to tame cords and keep them out of the way. Cable organizers and surge protectors work well to hide cords and keep them functioning.