Did you know that your working environment has a direct impact on how productive you are?
You may think you’ve got a good desk set up; post-it notes framing your screen, not too far from the air conditioning and the perfect amount of books propping up your monitor. Yet the latest research shows that the majority of workspaces aren’t enabling productivity.
Office Genie found that the majority of offices don’t provide features which aid working alone. And with adults spending most of their waking hours sitting at their desk, why waste those hours not working to your full potential?
Whilst we can’t promise we’ll be able to cure your addiction to watching
cat videos raccoons on Instagram, here’s how you can set up your desk to boost creativity, productivity and wellbeing:
Have a to-do list, junk journal and a diary
Prioritise your time effectively so that you can make the most out of each day.
We suggest investing in a to-do list, junk journal and a diary to maximise your potential.
Use this to write down all the things you need to do that day and put a star next to the 3 to 5 actions you need to prioritise.
In order to be efficient, you need to be aware of your energy, when it peaks and when it slumps.
Be in-tune with your body and work with your energy, so if you know you’re particularly focused in the morning but get distracted shortly after your lunch, block out time in the morning to undertake those important tasks. Leave administrative work, which doesn’t require you to use as much energy during your ‘low’ periods.
Try to tick off everything on your to-do list each day and before you leave the office review it. What haven’t you completed and what needs to be added? That way you won’t be stressing before bed about what you need to do tomorrow morning. It’s all written down on your list.
The junk journal
Have you ever had a crazy but brilliant idea or the sudden urge to draw and be creative?
Jot every thing that comes to your mind down, one day might find yourself on a train dreaming up the plot to Harry Potter.
Writing things down on paper and doodling not only encourages your creative juices to flow, but it can also act as a stress reliever.
Perfect for buying time during those train delays!
Now I’m not saying you dig out that Hello Kitty diary you bought over ten years ago and start writing dear diary before bed and delve into your deepest darkest secrets in invisible ink.
This is where you prioritise yourself and make time for the bigger picture and tackle those exciting projects.
Not only this will help you manage your work and personal life better, it will make accomplishing more of the things that you want to do seem less overwhelming and daunting because they’re on a separate note to your to-do list.
Try and note 3 things you want to achieve each day whether that’s finally applying for a new job or meeting an old friend for coffee.
Tip: Why not try tackling a task before work, another during your lunch break and one after work?
When you’re more satisfied with your life outside of work, your passion for your job, mental wellbeing and fulfilment in life will rise.
Noise cancellation headphones
Every office varies in noise level, as does each individuals preference of surrounding sounds whilst working.
And with offices increasingly opting for an open plan design, it can be hard not to get distracted by colleagues (cancel where appropriate): talking on the phone/ sharing Game of Thrones spoilers/ having an internal meeting 2 feet away from your desk/ playing various different radio stations.
The perfect solution? Drown out all noise with noise cancellation headphones and choose which music boosts your productivity.
Maybe you love to listen to classical music whilst compiling spreadsheets or tuning into ‘beast mode’ on Spotify to really get energised in-between those tasks you dread.
We love to listen to Calm for concentrating boosting white noise, such as the sound of the ocean or rain. Aside from its ability to help you focus, research shows that nature sounds also help to relieve stress and anxiety.
According to health store Holland and Barrett, aromatherapy works by tapping into ‘your olfactory sense – your nose. The tiny molecules are taken in through your nose or skin and stimulate the part of your brain which is connected to memory and mood.’
Similarly to how a perfume you wore on holiday can bring back memories of your time in the sun (or three too many Margherita’s), specific smells can be used to boot your energy, alertness and level stress which all link to your productivity.
Why not consider adding a kit of therapeutic scents to your workspace if you notice you start to feel distracted or your energy level suddenly dips.
Try adding one of these scents to your desk:
Lavender – Has a de-stressing effect and has been found to help treat depression.
Lemon – The zesty scent promotes concentration, wakes you up and lifts your spirits. Think of this as your sun in a bottle.
Peppermint – Ditch the latte. Peppermint is widely used to increase mental alertness. The super-scent is also said to enhance mood, sharpen focus, combat irritation and aid digestion.
We bet you were once scorned ‘tidy room, tidy mind.’ It turns out mums really do know best.
Do you really need that two-day-old coffee mug and those used post-it-notes on your desk?
If it’s not something that you can actually use to get work done, then clear it away – it serves no purpose on your desk, which is your work and productivity zone.
Before leaving the office for the evening or when your energy is particularly low (such as right after lunch), dedicate just 10 minutes to organising your desk. Sort through all the papers that haven’t been filed under 3 sections: to do, done but needs storing for reference and recycle. Take those dirty cups and plates to the kitchen and put those pens and highlighters back into their pot.
Treat your clean desk as a fresh start with no distractions in sight whilst you tackle your to-do list.
Plus, you might even find something you forgot about under that pile of rubbish but that actually needs prioritising.
Make your desk yours
Chances are you are sat at your desk for around 9 hours, 5 days a week.
We spend weeks making our houses into homes, but no time on the one place we spend most of our waking hours.
Although you can’t change your overall working environment, try bringing a bit of your personality into your desk to feel more at ease whilst you work.
Studies show that employees who can personalise their own space are up to 25% more productive than those in a sterile environment.
So instead of using the standard notepads and diaries supplied by your office, why not bring your own stationery in? You’d be surprised how much you can express yourself just through which diary you choose to write in every day – from a minimal black one to a sparkling gold one which screams ‘I’m fabulous’.
Depending on your company’s regulations, you could also bring in a framed photo, a cushion to make you extra comfortable and even a spare blanket or cardigan in your draw for those days where you can’t agree on the air-con temperature.
If your office is slightly stricter why not try changing your desktop screen saver to something which inspires you?
Still feeling stressed and unproductive? Find out the 8 simple ways to be happier.