Work spaces are only effective if they’re optimized for productivity and work flow. With a good work space, you can get more work done with less stress.
Here are the 10 ways I’ve optimized my work space:
1. Make Distractions Harder to Access
Little distractions are all it takes to break my focus and make me lose interest in my work, so I do as much as I can to avoid distractions.
I work from home, and my work space is just a small corner of my bedroom. This means that I’m not in the same room as a TV, which is a major distraction for me. I also have my desk oriented so that it’s facing the wall, instead of my bed. If I can see my bed while I work, all I want to do is lay down and sleep.
Take a look around your work space, and see what distracts you while you work. If it can be removed, or blocked, do so to increase your productivity.
2. Make it Easy to Start Working
Try to make it as easy as possible to start working.
Often beginning something is the most difficult part, so the easier it is to begin working, the easier it will be to get lots of work done. One way to make it easy to start working is to keep your frequently used items within arm’s reach.
For example, I have a journal with my to do list and schedule inside, and I always keep it beside my computer, or in a plastic storage unit underneath my desk.
Even setting up my work space for working on digital art isn’t very difficult. I always keep my pen in its stand beside my computer, the cable for the tablet is in my desk drawer, and the tablet itself is on a shelf beside my desk.
Setting up for digital art is the most time consuming set up for me, and it only takes me about 30 seconds.
Try to optimize your work space so that the jobs you do frequently only take 30 seconds to start, or even less than that.
3. Keep a Schedule or To Do List Nearby
One of the things that used to slow down my work flow the most was not knowing what I had to work on. I had a general idea, but not an actual list with items I could prioritize.
Then my work load increased, and I had to start writing things down in order to remember what I needed to do.
After doing that, I found that my productivity increased. Now I keep a to do list with a time table of when certain tasks should be finished. I always keep it near me while I’m working, so that I always know what needs to be done.
4. Clean Up Regularly
A messy work space is a distracting work space.
If you’re okay with some clutter, and you find that it doesn’t diminish your productivity at all, that’s great. If you do find that clutter lowers your productivity, you should be cleaning up regularly.
At the beginning of every day and at the end of every night, I clean up and organize my work space. I also clean up after myself whenever I finish working on a task. This keeps my work space tidy throughout the day, and helps me stay focused on my work.
Cleaning up regularly also makes it take less time to clean up in general. When you let things pile up and only clean up every week or every month, it can take quite awhile. But if you clean up multiple times per day, it’ll only take a few seconds.
5. Make Sure Everything Has Its Own Place
Making sure that everything has its own place will help make cleaning up easier, which will help increase your productivity.
Being strategic about the locations of each object can also make it easier to begin working. I’m an artist, and so I keep my tablet close to my computer, and I have all of my art supplies within arm’s reach. My notebooks and papers are also stored in or under my desk.
6. Keep a Few Personal Items
A boring and stifling work space will be a space that you dread to occupy, so liven things up with a few personal items.
On my desk, I have a plant, a couple of candles, and a little bean bag turtle. They’re out of the way, but they help add personality and color to my desk.
The tiny bean bag turtle also doubles as a stress reliever, since the kinesthetic feeling of holding it works similarly to a stress ball.
7. Minimal is Best
The fewer items you have on your desk, the better, since fewer items means less clutter, more space for actually working, and fewer visual distractions.
If you haven’t gone and decluttered or minimized the number of items you have on your desk recently, you should take a few minutes to do so. You’ll feel less clouded afterwards.
8. Use Storage Space
If you can’t declutter your work space because you don’t have enough room to store things, try to incorporate some extra storage space.
My desk has three drawers and two cubbies, but I still moved a plastic storage unit underneath, to create even more storage for my supplies. This means that I can devote more desk space to actually working, instead of just to keeping items on top of.
9. Keep Some Extra Space
When you’re decluttering and adding storage to your work space, try to make as much extra space as you can. Get rid of the things you don’t need, and make room for extra supplies, papers, and items that may come into your work life.
Creating extra storage space now will just save you from a headache in the future.
10. Have a Motivational Reminder or Two
Every once in awhile, we all need some extra motivation, so keep a few motivational reminders around.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate motivational and inspiring reminders in your work space:
- Mugs with inspirational quotes
- Motivational posters or wall decor
- Notebooks with inspiring sayings on their covers
A work space optimized for productivity is a space in which lots of work will get done. Those were just 10 ways that I’ve optimized my work space. Can you think of any other ways?