Anyone working in an office, whether virtual, at home or in a place of business, knows that their productivity is shaped by their surroundings. Their personal workspace is an important factor to their happiness and productivity. Here are some tips that may be worth considering:
- Start with Tunes: For a variety of reasons, I prefer stuff by Southside Johnny, Jason Isbell and Lucero. But, find what you like and make it part of your playlist while working. It helps with focus and creativity.
- Liven it up with plants. Plants are living things and can raise your spirits while naturally cleaning the air. When working at remote locales like coffee shops and restaurants, I like to be seated by areas with plants and light.
- Time-Box Your Day for Efficiency: There's one universal truth about work, it never ends! There's always more to do. So, I like to put some boundaries around how much time I spend on any give activity. Setting a time limit enables me to cover more ground than I would than if I drill down on any single task-the variety keeps me fresh and "in the game," longer.
- Schedule Study Breaks: For the reasons outlined above, it is easy to drive through a work day without ever taking a break from the action. So, I schedule some study breaks throughout my day. Often, I just get up from my desk and walk around the office. But, a mental break from the action helps you to renew before you go back after it.
- Establish a space to recharge your senses. One area is for working. The other is to recharge and to think. Having a place to go from your desk can help you gain perspective, even if it's within the same office space. I have a Yogi Bo that I use at my home office. It is my "go to" place when I need a change of locale to ponder business issues.
- Integrate Simple Tools, Whenever Possible: Productivity tools can be a tremendous help as long as they don't come to rule your life. If you can't get to sleep at night because you can't put your cellphone down for fear of missing an email or tweet, you've taken the idea too far. Recently, my firm adopted an integrated cellphone, email and voice system that I'm finding to be a great productivity enhancer. Today, voicemail messages left on my office phone come into my cellphone's email-good stuff!
- Incorporate Collaboration Capabilities: Technologies that foster teamwork and information sharing need to be integrated into the way we work. Tools, like Skype and Microsoft Lync, which work while both in the office and on the road are the ones that can drive improved collaboration wherever work is done.
- Stand-Up to Break It Up: I have a stand-up desk set-up at work so that I can choose to stand while working on my laptop. I find that periodically shifting from a seated position to a standing one helps to break-up the day and it just may be a healthy choice to make.
- Find a Comfort Doodad: Have something small on your desk or in your briefcase that you can grab when need to relax and think. It can be a polished stone that reminds you of a beach that you like to visit or a golf tee that prompts a nice thought about the coming weekend-anything that takes your mind away from the issue that you're working through. I keep a yo-yo around. Even if I'm camped out at a Starbucks, I can stand-up and give it a spin, whenever I need a diversion to help me bust through.
- Keep an e-Journal: Your e-journal should be a running list of ideas and lessons learned that you can review periodically to spur on thinking and assist in problem-solving. A simple way to do this is to create a document that you leave on your desktop. Whenever inspiration strikes, just fire up the file and add the idea to your list.
To close, I hope that these ideas inspire you to reimagine your workspace so to be more productive. The easier we can make our work lives the easier our life will become. For a nice complement to these, and other productivity ideas, be sure to check out this infographic that I discovered as I was conducting some research for this piece. There's some clever ideas presented in it that can be used to augment the ones offered above.
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