A productive workspace is a happy workspace. If you're having trouble staying on track, there are a few things you can do to change your environment and improve focus.
1. Adjust the Lighting
The lighting in your workspace can make or break your productivity. Too dim, and you may fall asleep. Too bright, and you may have a hard time focusing.
Our brains are designed to respond to natural daylight. Allow as much natural daylight as possible into the workspace. Big, open windows allow you to enjoy the view of the outdoors as you work, which can be soothing and help quiet the distracting chatter in your head.
Make sure you have a mixture of different artificial lighting in addition to fluorescents. Desk lamps are functional and offer additional light for more focused tasks.
2. Focus on Ergonomics
A comfortable workspace makes it easier to focus on the task in front of you. Adjust your monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye-level when looking forward.
If you have a newer monitor, it may have an adjustable stand that allows you to move the height up or down. If you have a more basic stand, you may need to place your monitor on top of a platform.
Be sure to adjust your seat as well to avoid back issues and other potential problems that can arise from poor posture.
3. Get the Temperature Right
A workspace that is too hot or too cold can be distracting. Make sure the space is a comfortable temperature so that you can stay focused on being productive. The optimal temperature for a workspace, according to , is 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the furnace or air conditioning system is not working properly, have it serviced and repaired to resolve the problem.
"These systems, while they usually have a long lifespan, can eventually suffer from problems that can cause them to no longer function properly," explains . "Components of the system can become worn down over time and potentially allow it to develop leaks or other complications."
4. Add Plants
Plants add greenery and interest to the workspace. Bringing the outdoors indoors will make you feel more at ease and less constrained by the four walls around you.
5. Brighten Up the Space
Color affects your mood and your motivation, according to a study published in . Warm yellow walls can help keep your mind at ease, but little pops of bright colors, like red, can also add interest while improving your productivity.
6. Limit the Noise
Noise can be conducive to productivity or a distraction. Some people prefer white noise, while others prefer music. If you're sharing a workspace, consider the appropriate noise level for everyone.
Some people prefer to use headphones, which makes it easier to accommodate everyone.
And for those talking on their phones, handsets make it easy for everyone to use their inside voices. Oftentimes, people don't realize how loud they are talking.
7. Keep Distractions to a Minimum
Distractions make it hard to stay on task. The internet alone can be a distraction, but other things in the workspace can also keep your mind off track, like tablets and laptops.
Clean walls and a view of the outdoors can help keep distractions to a minimum.
8. Move the Coffee
Regular breaks are important during the workday, but when you're immersed in a task, it's easy to forget to stop what you're doing and move around.
Give yourself an incentive to get up and stretch your legs. For most people, coffee is a great incentive. Move the coffee pot further away so that you have to get up and walk to it. This way, you can get your coffee buzz, a little exercise and a short break to give your mind a rest.
9. Minimize Visual Distractions
A clutter-free workspace is more conducive to productivity. Start by removing anything from your desk and work area that isn't absolutely necessary.
Along with the physical items in your work area, it's important to de-clutter your virtual space. A clean laptop or desktop screen will make it easy to avoid distractions before you even start the workday. When screens are cluttered with icons, it can make it difficult to find the documents or programs you're looking for, and they also make it more likely that you'll fall off task.
While you're de-cluttering your space, take the time to organize your cables. Tangled cables can be a distraction.