Did you know that some of the biggest geniuses in history loved working in a messy work environment? Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, are just some of the creative minds that cherished work in a cluttered space. Regarding this, Einstein famously said:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
And his words are backed by modern science – a messy work environment is proven to do well for your creativity. Unfortunately, creativity does not equal productivity. And productivity is what puts bread on the table. If your work space is cluttered, you might not be able to get the job done. The mess might distract you from your work.
But, even if you pay attention to keep your work environment nice and neat, it doesn’t mean that it can’t get even better. There are many ways of improving your work environment, which you might not be aware of.
You are at the right place, as we’re now going to give you ten tips on how to make your work space better for productivity.
1. Create a Work-Only Zone
Your office should be a restricted area for everything that’s not work-related. Otherwise, you’re going to get distracted all the time. So, things like phone, TV, radio, game consoles, and whatnot have no room in your office. Or anywhere near it…
Apart from making changes in your office, you also need to make some changes on your computer. Even if your office is free of distracting things, the mere fact that your computer is connected to the internet means that you at serious danger of getting distracted from work.
A solution is to install a browser extension like Block Site. What it does is that actually prevents you from opening certain websites. You get to choose which sites are gonna be banned during the working hours and our advice is to block social media, news sites, and maybe even YouTube.
2. Get Yourself a Standing Desk
Considered one of the greatest American novelists, Ernest Hemingway had a ritual that used to keep him both productive and creative. He wrote his works standing up, with a typewriter placed on a standing desk. He also used to wear nothing but a pair of shorts held up by a belt he took of a dead Nazi soldier in WWII.
Okay, you don’t have to follow the entire Hemingway’s work routine, but the part about the standing desk is actually very important. The trick with these types of desks is pretty simple. As you probably don’t want to stand on your feet the whole day, you will give your best to get the job done ASAP.
However, if the job requires a lot of time to be performed, you will have to do it sitting down. This is the reason why getting an ergonomic office chair is a must!
3. Get Yourself Some Ergonomic Office Chairs
If you’re working 9 to 5, it means that you’re going to spend many hours sitting on the office chair every day. And if you’re going to spend so much time with your bum on the chair, you better make that chair comfortable!
But, it’s not just about your comfort. Sitting on an ergonomic office chair is also good for your back. In fact, doctors suggest that you should sit with your arms parallel to the floor, with your head facing the computer screen directly. The chair height should be such that when you’re sitting the display is at your eye level. You need to see it clearly, without any need to move your head to the side.
4. Keep Snacks and Refreshment Near
Have you heard of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian-American psychologist? This is the guy who came up with the concept of the ‘flow’. Basically, this is a state in which you are completely focused on your work. The time literally flies when you’re in the flow and you don’t even notice that the work day has passed.
Unfortunately, getting in the flow is not that easy, especially if you’re easily distracted. Surely, some tiny distractions, like going to the toilet, can be handled easily. But, big pauses are guaranteed to kick you out of the flow.
So, if you don’t have any food or refreshments nearby, you will have to break your flow in order to go to the supermarket or a restaurant. This is why our advice is to keep water and some snacks in your office at all times. Having a coffee machine nearby is also a good advice.
Of course, you need to be careful not to stuff yourself with food and drinks, especially if they’re rich in carbs. It will cause your energy levels to spike, followed by their sudden drop, which will make you feel drowsy. And that’s something you definitely don’t need if you are racing against the clock.
5. Make Sure You Get Enough Light
Another reason why people get drowsy in their working space is that there’s not enough light in the room. We’re biologically programmed to sleep at night. And unless you live on Alaska, it is dark at nighttime. So, if your office doesn’t have enough light, you are going to feel fatigue, headache, eyestrain, and so on.
If you have regular working hours, like 9 to 5 for instance, you will be able to get the light you need by opening windows and letting the sunshine in. But, if you work till late in the night, getting proper artificial lighting is crucial. Invest some of your money in lamps, which you would place all around the office.
6. Choose the Right Room Color
Another way of making your office space brighter is by painting the walls white. It’s a proven scientific fact that colors have the power to affect your mood and your brain function. Different colors evoke different reactions. White, for example, will make you feel alert and focused on the task in front of you, which is definitely a good thing if you’re struggling with productivity.
If you’re feeling kind of down, the solution might be to add some orange parts, as this color is proven to have an impact on person’s mood. The color blue, on the other hand, is known for its ability to enhance creativity in people. So, choose accordingly.
7. Bring In Some Plants
If your job involves staring at the screen for hours, placing some plants in the office might be exactly what you need. First of all, a bit of nature will come as a nice contrast to all the artificial stuff you already have in the office.
Secondly, plants look nice and will bring some variety of colors and shapes to a dull office. If you need to give your mind a break, move your eyes away from the screen and spend few seconds observing the plants. The same effect could be achieved by having a fish tank in your office. But, we advise against it as colorful fish can be pretty distracting.
There’s another reason why we recommend putting plants in your office – they’re gonna supply your room with extra oxygen. This isn’t just one of the old wives’ tales; having plants in the office can increase the levels of oxygen significantly.
But, not all plants are the same. Some don’t have what it takes to produce the significant amount of oxygen. But, some do. Furthermore, some plants even serve as kind of filters that will get rid of the toxins from the air you’re breathing.
And the fact that NASA is planning to put some of those plants in the space station shows that we’re not talking BS. But, which plants are NASA-approved? Well, here’s a list that should help you out:
- Bamboo palm
- Variegated snake plant
- English ivy
- Barberton daisy
- Florist’s chrysanthemum
- Aloe vera
- Cornstalk dracaena
- Peace lily
- Boston fern
- King of hearts
- Red-edged dracaena
- Kimberley queen fern
- Dwarf date palm
Be careful though, as some of these plants can be toxic to animals. And this is another reason to keep your pets away from the working space.
8. Keep the Office Clean & Fresh
It’s not just in order to make it look nice, but cleaning your office regularly will help you boost your creativity. Even Bill Gates does some of the housekeeping tasks on his own, as it lets his mind wander away from difficult topics. The biggest ideas come to mind when you least expect it. Archimedes had his ‘Eureka’ moment while in the bathtub; you might get yours while cleaning your work environment.
Moreover, keeping your work space nice and neat will make you feel proud of yourself. If you’ve managed to get that task done, you will be able to tackle many other challenges. But, apart from cleaning the office, you also need to tidy up your computer.
We’re not talking about cleaning it physically, but getting rid of the things you don’t need from your desktop, hard drive, and so on.
9. Leave Some Walking Space
Most interior designers agree that the key to productivity lies in a minimalistic office. So, keep only the essentials. If your job involves working on the computer, the only things you’ll need is a desk, office chair, and of course, the computer.
Surely, you may leave some additional chairs and a coffee table, or perhaps even a sofa for the guests to sit on, but you really don’t need more than that. If you do the opposite and stuff your work space with furniture, you’re going to feel trapped, not to mention that so many items in one room is going to make get you distracted from the work.
If you do the opposite, you will have plenty of space in the office to walk around when you need some break from the work. And you definitely need to make short work breaks often. Small breaks that last less than a minute won’t kill the work mood, but will actually help you work even harder afterwards.
Apart from being great for your mind, small breaks are also great for your body. Sitting all day, starting at the computer screen is far from being healthy. That is why you ought to get away from it and walk around the office a little bit. This should be enough to ensure the health of your eyes, your back, your legs, etc. So, how often should you make those small breaks? Some experts believe that you should do it at least once every half an hour.
10. Change Your Work Environment From Time to Time
If your work environment has been the same for years, you’ve probably gotten bored of it. You might not even notice it, but you need a change of space. So, rather than changing your location, why not change the design of the work space?
Even a tiny change can mean a lot. You don’t have to take down a wall in order to change the design of your office. It can be achieved by simply rearranging the furniture. You can also put a new painting up the wall or bring in a new plant.
And if you feel the design of your work space is perfect, you can make changes on your computer. Why not change your current desktop background with something inspiring, like a picture of a beach, for example. You can also change the theme of your browser, adjust the colors and brightness on the screen, and so on. Any change is welcome!
Final Piece of Advice
There you have it – 10 tips for improving your work environment. These tips are bound to boost your mood and make you eager to work. At least a little bit. The final advice we can give you is to always keep the eye on the prize! You’re doing the work to earn money, so keep that in mind, especially in days when you don’t feel like working.