Everyone wants to be more productive. We can’t change how many hours are in the day, and most of us will always need at least seven hours of sleep. As a result, often times the key to being successful is finding a way to make the most out of the hours you do have.
In general, there are a lot of things that go into this, and most of them have to do with your personal habits. Being able to discipline yourself so that you can close Facebook or shut the TV off is the key to getting done everything on your to-do list.
But productivity is not all about the soft skills. There are some things you can do to change your environment so that its more conducive to productivity. Yet most people, especially those who run a business from their home, haven’t spent the time to set up their home office so that it can promote their success, and if this is you, then you’re being held back. So to help you get the most out of each day, consider the following ways to set up your home office.
Make Sure it Has a Door
This one is especially true if you have roommates or children. This is because there’s nothing that says “I’m working. Don’t bother me” like a door that’s closed and shut. If you do have children, you might not be able to be as strict with this, as you need to be attentive to them even though your working. But if they’re old enough to be on their own, then you can use this as a way of establishing a boundary so that they know not to disturb you when you’re working.
But apart from keeping distractions down, having a door on your office is also an important way to get yourself into a more productive mood. Think about it. If you go into your office and can still hear the T.V in the other room, or your roommates talking in the kitchen, then you’re going to remain connected to whatever is going on outside. However, if you have a door you can shut, then this helps close you off, putting your mind in a position to focus solely on the task or tasks at hand.
If you don’t have an office with a door right now, then start thinking about which room in your house could be cleaned out and converted into a workstation. For those who don’t have an open room, you may want to consider some mild construction. It will be a bit expensive, but if you’re planning on working from home for a good period of time, then the expense will be well worth it. And if it’s your primary place of business, then you may be able to claim it on your tax returns, helping to soften the blow of a renovation project.
Choose the Right Spot
Apart from making sure to have a door, it’s important you choose a room with the right lighting. This is something most people do not think of, but it can have a huge impact on how you work. In fact, people who work in offices that are mostly lit with natural light tend to be more productive than those stuck in a space with nothing but artificial lighting.
Another thing to consider is how much the sun will affect the temperature of the room. Spaces that get lots of direct sunlight can get quite warm in the summer months, and no one likes working in a hot office, so this will either cause your A/C bill to rise or your productivity to drop.
The best thing you can do is choose rooms that are facing north, as these get enough light to brighten up the room but not enough to have a significant effect on the temperature. If you really can’t avoid the direct sunlight and its affecting the atmosphere in the room, then invest in some quality blinds and curtains to help give you more control over the light in your office.
Pay Attention to Ergonomics
Many of us put together our home offices using whatever furniture we have or can find. And while this is a good way to set up an office without having to spend a bunch of money, you need to make sure your paying enough attention to how this furniture will affect your body.
Bad chairs, poor computer placement, and a lack of motion can cause uncomfortable strains and pains, which can halt your productivity rather quickly. It’ll either become too painful to work, or you’ll have to get up so often to stretch that you won’t ever really be able to get into a good groove with your work.
Ergonomics is a whole science, but follow these general guidelines to make sure your office is set up correctly:
- Make sure your computer screen is at eye level. Having to look down at it for a long period of time will cause neck pain that will make it uncomfortable to work.
- Sit so that you can put your feet firmly on the ground. If you’re too high or too low, then your body will be forced into uncomfortable positions throughout the day, which can really grind on you.
- Set yourself up so that you can sit back comfortably in your chair and still reach everything on your desk
- Use an ergonomic keyboard, and make sure your mouse is located as close to your keyboard as possible so that you don’t need to reach for it
- If needed, invest in a second, or larger, monitor, as this will allow you to see what you’re working on without too much effort.
Keep the Clutter Out
Your office needs to be only an office for it to properly promote productivty. If you use it as the place to pay your bills, write your novels, and also work on your business, then it’s going to be difficult to stay focused when working. You’ll see something that will remind you of something else, and this will cause your mind to drift.
As a result, it’s important to keep your office as de-cluttered as possible. If you absolutely must use the space for other things, then consider getting some filing cabinets or folders to that you can keep this stuff out of sight and out of mind when you’re working on something else. Another way to balance is to set up a schedule. If you need to go through and pay bills, mark off a few hours on your calendar to do it so that you can forget about it while you’re working and stay focused.
You’ll also want to try and keep the space as clean as possible. No one likes to work in a dirty office, so make sure the windows aren’t streaky, the floor is clean and the desk is dust-free, as all of this will help make it easier to lock in and get done what you need to get done.
Tap In to Your Most Productive Self
It’s true that these tactics alone won’t make you a productive person. But if you combine them with a dedicated effort to develop more productive habits, then you’ll soon find that you can get more out of the time you spent working, making it much easier to accomplish everything on your to-do list.
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