Many people think that improving productivity levels requires massive life changes and a whole restructuring of daily routines, but actually, you can achieve a huge amount by making a few small alterations to your working environment.
Step 1: Tidy up
If you are naturally inclined to be a bit messy, you may well have been put off doing things in the past by the fact that it would either require a bit of preparatory tidying or you simply have no idea where the things you need are.
Very few people operate a properly organised filing system for the many bits of paper that build up over time, and I think we have all spent many a morning hunting around for that letter we put somewhere 3 months ago and now need.
The first step is to dedicate a day to cleaning, tidying and most importantly throwing away the stuff that you do not need. Most of us let documents build up because we are unsure about whether we will need them in the future, so take some pleasure in finally putting them in the garbage!
Having a tidy space to work at will not only save you time and make you more efficient, but it will also remove potential sources of distraction and procrastination.
Step 2: Furniture and set up
To get things done you need to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. It doesn’t take too long at all to make sure that you are sitting in the right place rather than spending all of your time gazing out the window.
It may help your productivity to put a simple picture of someone that really inspires you on the wall. The whole point is to remove the clutter and the mass of potential distractions and replace them with things that are an inspiration to sit down and focus on your work.
It’s also a good idea to try and disentangle yourself from the multitude of pieces of technology that can easily lead to you wasting hours of time doing stuff of relatively little interest. By this I mean E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, your phone and the dreaded YouTube ‘related videos’ sidebar.
Step 3: Color and light
Color and light are incredibly important when you are trying to create a space that makes you feel like getting things done.
The impact of light on people’s productivity and general well-being has been the subject of numerous scientific studies. You will work better with a good amount of natural light in the room, or failing that, strategic placing of modern wall lights can be used to make sure there are no dark corners.
The amount of light in a room directly translates into messages to your nervous system, so you will be more alert on a sunny afternoon then you will on an overcast and dark one. If you are going to working mostly at night, make sure that your ceiling pendant is in the centre of the room.
Next, you will need to pick the right color for increasing your desire to work. Colors affect our emotional state as well as our physiological make up, which means they can engender certain kinds of reactions and moods in us.
It is probably best to avoid red: although this color suggests activity, it also symbolises passion and appetite. Orange is another color that conjures up sensuality and serves as a very strong and overbearing stimulus.
The color that people find most inspiring is generally found to be turquoise, combining as it does the calming effects of blue and the reassuring qualities of green. It sounds crazy but it really works!
Doing all of this stuff will take no more than a couple of days, max. Once it’s all done, take some time to just sit and enjoy your revamped space – soak it all up and don’t feel like you have to rush into doing anything right away.
Attempt to mentally focus yourself on some of your goals and how you are going to go about achieving them. Perhaps even draw up a list of ambitions and short-term goals and pop on the wall as a reminder of why you need to stay focused, even on those dull and drizzly days!
Once you are a millionaire businessman or woman, an author, designer or whatever you turn out to be… just spare a small thought for us lowly blog writers giving our advice away for free!
About the author: Estelle Page is a self-employed interior designer who spends most of her time either at her clients’ homes or in her own home office drawing up floor plans and researching fabrics. She likes to think she’s created the perfect work-from-home space, and she hopes to help you do it too!