If you’re struggling to focus, there may be a very simple solution to the problem. Read on to find out what you can change in your workspace for an instant productivity boost.
How you set up your workspace
The set-up of your workspace, in terms of the positioning of your chair, desk and technology can have huge effects on your productivity as well as your physical health, as poor posture can lead to neck, back, wrist and finger pain (which can in turn be very distracting when you’re trying to work). The Mayo Clinic offer several great tips for improving the ergonomics of your workspace:
- Sit up straight and adjust your chair so your feet are on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your forearms should be able to rest gently on the desk in front of you to type.
- Recline your chair slightly to minimise lower back pain.
- The top of your screen should be at your eye level, or directly below. Place it on a stand or stack of books until it is.
- Ideally your screen should also be 24-36 inches from your eyes
To decrease eye strain and headaches, whilst boosting your energy, place your desk somewhere with as much natural light as possible. Lighting can have a profound effect on your productivity and mood. Dim lighting causes eye strain, drowsiness and lack of focus, whereas harsh lighting can also cause headaches and make it difficult for the eyes to focus. If you don’t have access to much natural light in your workplace, you can buy lamps that mimic sunlight. When paired with light-coloured walls, decluttered, minimalist space and plenty of indoor plants, this can be an excellent alternative to natural light.
Research has shown that having plants in the office can increase productivity by 15%, along with increased workplace satisfaction and employee engagement. Even more research has shown that plants can reduce sick days. Why? Mainly because the presence of plants improves air quality as well as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing attentiveness and creativity.
The saying goes, “A decluttered workspace means a decluttered mind.” A clear workspace helps give you a sense of clarity with fewer things to look at and for your mind to process. It also means spending less time spent trying to find things hidden under rubbish and paperwork, which in turn decreases stress. What’s more, clearing a space before you complete a task can help mentally prepare you by ‘setting the stage’. However, be wary of using tidying up as an excuse to procrastinate…
Limit your gadgets
Although your smart devices can help improve your productivity by keeping your organised and efficient, they can also be a huge source of distraction due to notifications and our inability to stop checking them all the time. Recent research has revealed that having your smartphone nearby can directly reduce your cognitive ability almost as much as not having enough sleep. This can even happen when they’re turned off or face down. One way to combat this is to schedule time when you’re allowed to check your phone. When you’re having times of intense concentration, hide your phone away in a drawer or another room.