After all, productivity isn’t one size fits all, meaning the right productive space for you is unique to you, your blog, and your needs. From choosing the right space and adding your personal flair, to ensuring the space is well organized and functional, you can create a workspace that leaves you comfortable, focused, and productive. Ultimately, it’s about turning your office into a productivity machine. Here’s a few pointers to get you on the right track.
Choosing the Space
Whether you’re establishing a new workspace for your blog, or reinventing an existing space, choosing the right physical space is key. Depending on your needs, your workspace might look like a reorganized nook in your living room, an extra bedroom in your apartment, or a suite in an office building that you rent monthly. No matter where you decide to set up shop, consider the following factors to find the right fit for you.
All of that vitamin D has to be good for something, right? Natural light can have a positive effect on your productivity, so seek out a space that has plenty of windows and brings in lots of sun. In a 2013 study, Northwestern University researchers found that employees who have a window in their office enjoyed a better quality of life and fewer sleep disturbances than those who were cooped up in a windowless space. So, if you’re taking in some natural sunlight while you work, you’ll sleep better at night, which will keep you more focused on your business during the day.
Look around your office space for non-work-related items that pose a potential distraction. While chatty coworkers might not be a distraction when you’re a blogger or designer who works from home, other potential pitfalls may exist. That TV in the corner might be off now, but it might be too tempting to resist when you’re working late and your favorite prime-time show comes on. Additionally, CareerBuilder named smartphones as the #1 workplace distraction, so slip your cell into a desk drawer and save it for scheduled breaks.
Maximizing Your Comfort
A productive workspace should maximize comfort. After all, you’ll be spending the bulk of your day in your office, so you want to be as comfortable as possible. Fortunately, you have unlimited ways to enhance your space, from comfortable furniture to great accessories.
Your desk should offer plenty of tabletop space for your computer and necessary tools, without being so bulky that it crowds your office. A sleek Parsons desk—which is available in tons of different finishes—features clean lines and nestles well into any corner of your workspace without taking up too much room. If you need ample space to file papers and store important work-related items, look for a desk with built-in drawers, which allow you to keep those must-have items close by without cluttering the top of your desk and adding to your stress load.
Standing desks are a hot trend, thanks to their potential health benefits. If you’re up to the challenge of being on your feet for much of the day, try this style. Research indicates that a standing desk can reduce your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and a lot of desks can go from seated to standing with the push of a button.
Seating in your workspace falls into two categories. First, you want to find a comfortable desk chair that includes ergonomic features like adjustable seat height, backrest with adequate lumbar support, and padded armrests. Herman Miller chairs are one of the most popular options on the market.
A secondary seating space serves multiple purposes in your workspace and helps maximize productivity. A small sofa or a set of comfortable armchairs allows you to welcome the occasional client into your workspace for an interview or meeting. Here, you can also sit down to edit blog posts, brainstorm upcoming projects or catch up on an industry-relevant book—all tasks that don’t require you sitting in front of a computer. Plus, you’ll enjoy the change of pace and the break from staring at a screen, and this shakeup can help you retain your focus throughout a long workday.
The right technology can boost your comfort and productivity at the same time. Incorporating key technological elements into your workspace can help you maintain an efficient workflow (and a smile on your face).
- Wireless mouse: Cut down on tangled cords and invest in a wireless mouse, which is a helpful add-on whether you work on a laptop or desktop.
- Dual monitors: Do you find yourself always clicking from window to window on your screen? If so, the investment in dual monitors can reduce wasted time and keep you working at peak efficiency.
- Large monitor: A small, sleek laptop is super portable, but your eyes might benefit from a larger screen set up in your workspace. Hook your laptop up to a larger monitor so that you don’t waste any energy squinting at your screen.
Designing in Style
Incorporating your personal style transforms any workspace into one that’s completely yours. Ultimately, designing a space that reflects your style will positively impact your productivity because you’ll be happy to settle into your office and get blogging. Personal touches are infinite, so dive in (and have fun!)
A Pop of Color
Before you break out that paint brush and roll your favorite color on the walls, take some time to research color theory. According to popular musings, the color you paint your workspace can have a direct impact on your mood and, ultimately, your productivity. Consider these tips before choosing the right color for your workspace.
- Bland colors can negatively impact your mood and leave you tired and gloomy, not productive, according to a 2007 study in the journal Color Research & Application. Stay away from gray, white and beige, which can halt your productivity.
- Don’t go too bold, either. Red is often associated with warnings and alerts, and it can be the cause of any mid-day anxiety or stress that might pop up. You don’t want to be on edge all day in your workspace, so avoid this too-bright hue that might leave your eyes (and mind) burning.
Instead, find a happy medium between dull neutrals and powerful hues. Several color families can have a positive impact on your mood and productivity, so you just have to opt for the feel that you’re going for in your workspace. These workspace feelings might be:
- Energy: If you want to create a high-energy environment that leaves you leaping from one task to the next, choose yellow, which is an energetic color that encourages innovation. Plus, you might be a little perkier and optimistic about your career with this fresh hue.
- Calm: Choose a color in the blue family if you want to create that soothing, serene workspace. Aqua and teal aren’t just trendy colors—they are also ones that elicit feelings of calm and trust.
- Inspiration: Transform your workspace into an inspiring one by incorporating hues of green. Color theory suggests that emerald and jade can enhance your sense of well-being and inspire creativity, which can be a serious productivity booster.
Obviously, you’ve got pleeeeenty of choices when it comes to adding color to your workspace. Keep color theory in mind while you’re picking your favorite paint, and you’ll set the tone for a productive day every time you step into your office.
Now that you’ve chosen the right space and added elements of comfort and style into it, you’re ready to get organized. Organization and productivity are closely related. After all, if your workplace essentials are smartly stored, easy to access, and always a reach away, you will work efficiently and spend less time floundering around for what you need. In other words, smart organization in your workspace and on your desk is essential. Consider these tips when organizing your workspace.
Clutter can be an immediate productivity killer. If you’re redesigning an existing workspace, first spend time eliminating the clutter that’s clogging your space. Simply put, if the item doesn’t relate to a current or future project, get rid of it. Paperwork from past projects might be worth holding onto, but all paperwork should be organized in a filing cabinet or storage box so that you can access it when needed. The less clutter you have, the more organized your space will be, which will help you stay focused throughout the workday.
Place Essentials Nearby
Keep those essential items within reach at all times. Think about the items that you use every single day. Your planner might be where you organize upcoming blog posts and write your daily to-do lists. A calculator allows you to quickly tally earnings and populate spreadsheets to track your financials. A notebook of sketches might inspire your latest designs. Don’t waste time digging around for these things. Find a convenient place to keep these essentials on your desk, like considering a multi-slot or tiered organizer, which eliminates loose clutter and keeps all of those must-haves in one easy spot.
Maximize Desktop Space
So, your essentials are neatly stored on your desktop, along with your computer and accessories. Otherwise, keep the space clear. After all, you need space to work, whether you’re brainstorming blog posts or planning your social media strategy. A clear desk can lead to a clear mind, which ensures that you stay on task throughout the day.
Take Advantage of Wall Space
Rather than cluttering your desk with work-related tools and accessories, keep everything stored neatly on the wall. Several types of wall organizers exist, so you simply need to choose one that looks good and holds all your stuff. Consider these ideas:
- Pegboard: Pegboards are an inexpensive and eye-catching storage option that mount well on any open wall in your workspace. Using hooks, baskets, and buckets, pegboards allow you to mount all sorts of gear onto the wall, keeping it within reach and off of your desk. Traditional office supplies, such as scissors, staplers, pens and pencils, can be mounted onto a pegboard. You can even make a pegboard a decorative feature of your space by painting it your favorite color—keeping color theory in mind, of course—and adding photos and inspirational quotes for a pop of personalization.
- Shelves: Simple wall-mounted shelves are another sleek and smart storage option in your office. Here, you can stack books that you frequently reference, or knickknacks that add personality to the space.
Cubbies: Cubbies aren’t just for kindergarten classrooms anymore. Wall-mounted cubbies allow you to add storage in tight spaces. With a variety of compartments, you can keep all of your workspace must-haves well organized.
In today’s digital age—and especially for a work-from-home entrepreneur—technology is key. An office space that lacks technology probably isn’t particularly productive, but too much technology contributes to visual clutter and mental overwhelm. Strike the balance between equipping your workspace with the technology you need to work and streamlining these pieces of technology so that they don’t crowd your office. A few examples:
- Get a grip on the cords. From computer cords and USB cords to external hard drives and smartphone chargers, the cord situation can get messy in a hurry. Use a power strip and keep all computer-related cords plugged in together and tucked neatly in a corner near the outlet. Have more cords? Set up a charging station that’s away from your desk. Here, you can keep smartphones, tablets and cameras charged without a lump of wires on your desk.
- Go wireless. When you can nix the wires, do it. Today, nearly every piece of technology is wireless, from wireless printers to wireless keyboards and mouses. Upgrade to these enhanced versions, and you’ll be able to keep your technology better organized.
Invest in a multipurpose unit. Why buy a printer, copier and scanner when you can invest in a sleek all-in-one variety? Ultimately, you’ll save money, and decrease the clutter. (This is a total win-win.)
You’ve designed and organized your office. Now, do a dry run before you sit down for a long work day. This dry run allows you to assess the workspace’s functionality, and functionality is another time saver that increases productivity across the board. If everything in the office, from where you sit to how far away your phone and printer are, is designed with functionality in mind, you’ll cut down on wasted time every day.
Many folks use Feng Shui as their inspiration when figuring out how functional their home office is. This art strives to create a harmony in your workspace and improve your wellbeing, which can ultimately boost your productivity. In addition to staying organized and avoiding clutter, a functional office should meet the following requirements:
- Essential tools and files are easily within reach.
- Technology is linked to minimize troubleshooting time.
- Office furniture is positioned logically and comfortably.
If your dry run meets these requirements, and your workspace feels functional and comfortable, you’re a step closer toward a productive workday.
Incorporating Key Elements
The last step in creating a functional and happy workspace is incorporating key elements that maximize productivity. Check out these products and tools that can have a transformative effect on any blogger.
BenQ e-Reading Lamp
The BenQ e-Reading Lamp creates a comfortable, well-lit, and productive workspace. This sophisticated tap-and-touch lamp adjusts to the natural light in your workspace, allowing the lamp to provide just the right amount of light. At the same time, the lamp minimizes glare on your computer screen and offers different types of light, including cool tones for computer work and warm tones for reading. It doesn’t get much better than this.
While the technology in your workspace can obviously boost your productivity, it can also get in the way. (I’m talking web surfing and endless social media scrolling.) The productivity tracker, Rescue Time, tracks precisely how you spend your time throughout the workday, generating a report that shows you time well spent, and time that was wasted.
Google Chrome offers several productivity add-ons, too, allowing you to block irksome ads, share links easily and even block websites that slow down your productivity. With a simple installation, Website Blocker will make those wasted minutes on social media a thing of the past.
A well-organized workspace and desk requires evaluation, planning and assessment. Considering your unique business needs and the day-to-day operation of your business, you can create a workspace that celebrates functionality and promotes productivity, all while adding touches of your personality in the space. This is where you breathe new life into your work, every single day, and it should be just as incredible as the blog you’re working on growing.