5 Ways to Optimise your Workspace for Increased Productivity

Ever since I got an awesome stand-up desk from Uplift Desk I’ve become so much more productive, and have learned a ton about workspace organization and productivity. So I wanted to give you some advice on how to upgrade your workspace to become more productive!

1. Separate work and play

I can’t stress this point enough. I know from personal experience that you need to make sure your mind knows where it can relax and where it should focus. For us working from home, it’s especially important to make your mind subconsciously associate certain spaces with certain activities, and not mix them up. We all know that in today’s world it’s super easy to get distracted when you’re working from a sofa or your bed — the places where you’re used to relaxing or having fun. If you try to work there, you might wake up and realise that instead of working, you browsed the Internet for three hours.

Your office should have a designated desk where you only do professional work. If you need to take care of some personal stuff, play games, or shop online, try to do that somewhere else. Create a clear distinction in your mind between workspace and play space so that you don’t become a victim of distractions and your productivity doesn’t plummet.

2. Design for movement

Sitting is the new smoking, or so scientists say! There’s a correlation between a sedentary lifestyle and the risk of an earlier death (scientists warn that sitting is the new smoking!). To avoid health risks, design your workspace for movement. The aforementioned standing desk is ideal, or one of those standing desks converters that you can put on a normal desk and make it function as a standing desk by adjusting to your height. This will help you stay more active while working and burn more energy. If you want to go one step further, you can even get a motion board to use while standing at your desk.

In case you can’t get any of those implements, experts recommend that you make sure to take breaks from sitting down every 30 minutes and move around. Research shows that these short active breaks can help improve your mood, decrease the signs of fatigue, affect your appetite, and positively impact your productivity: being active means your circulation improves and consequently more oxygen is fed into your brain — win-win!

3. Decorate

Customize your workspace! Create an area that you love and that you would want to go back to because you will spend a lot of time there. Make sure that it reflects your personality, the nature of your work, and gives you room to be inspired and creative. My ways of doing this were the following (and they might be good ideas for your workspace as well!): 

  • get a plant, or if you’re an experienced plant-parent, multiple plants
  • spice up your stationery: go crazy with those pens and sticky notes if they give you joy
  • put some personal photos up
  • get a nice lamp or a dream board: a mood board of all your dreams to help you visualise your goals for the future, and get you one step closer to achieving them!

An important caveat here is that this is a place that should make you productive, so customize it as much as you can not only make it pretty but also effective. Make sure that you have all the stationery you use regularly easily accessible and adjust the height of your monitor, desk and chair to help with the right posture. For example, my desk is programmable, so I can make it remember the different heights that I normally use: when I’m sitting it’s one height, then when I’m standing it’s another height, and it can adjust with the click of a button. If you want to see how I’ve programmed it, check out my video on Instagram TV.

I have only recently discovered that I love decorating — I’ve never lived in a flat for long enough to actually decorate it, so customising my workspace was my first experience actually planning things out and arranging them in a way that I like. It may seem frivolous, but once you get started you’ll realise it’s really fun! My workspace is not 100% done yet, but it’s getting closer, and looking at it not only makes me happy, but it also makes me want to go and do some work there! This is the goal: creating a place where you want to go back because it inspires you.

4. Lighting

I mentioned above that you can get a lamp as decoration, but proper lighting is vital to your productivity, as well. If you can be close to a window and get some of that gorgeous natural light, do that — studies show that sunlight positively affects productivity by helping your brain and your body synchronize, therefore affecting your circadian rhythm; having them in sync helps you sleep better, and therefore makes you more alert, productive, and happy. People who are exposed to natural light throughout the week are not only more inspired to exercise but also get on average 46 minutes more of sleep per night, compared to their colleagues who are not exposed to natural lighting. If you can, make sure that your workspace is close to a window, and if you can’t do that, take regular breaks and go outside for a walk to soak up some of that sunlight and get your blood pumping.

If your exposure to natural lighting is limited in spite of all this, get a smart daylight lamp. The amount of research on lighting and productivity is impressive — take a look at this great chart:

Source: https://onlinemba.unc.edu/news/how-lighting-affects-productivity/

As you can see, there is a specific light warmth (temperature) ideal for each type of activity, and the smart lamps have all three of those different modes — the one from Uplift Desk that I have is also LED, so it consumes much less energy overall and is better for the environment, too!

5. Clutter-free

Lastly, but not least importantly, make sure that your workspace is organised and free from clutter. I can’t be productive when there’s a mess around me: I get super distracted and end up switching my attention from one thing to the other, and can never get into the “zone”. When decorating and customizing your space, make sure that things can be easily put away and cleared in order to have that clear, neat area on your desk. You could think of that cleared space on your desk as the space in your head, the clear, decluttered mental space to be productive and creative in. The process of clearing your desk will also clear your mind — make sure you do it regularly!

Did these tips help you be more productive? Do you have any additional advice for me, or other readers, on how to optimise your workspace? Let me know in the comments below! ?️

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