If you go back and look at the archives of this site, you will see sporadic posting from 2 years ago up until September of 2014. There are two reasons for this. First, September was when I started 30 Days of Discipline. Second, this was when I finally sat down and created a working space for myself.
For years I had this blog and wasn’t really productive, and one of the biggest reasons was that I didn’t have a space for myself where I could sit down and actually do work. At my one place in Philly, I’d try and sit on the couch or on my bed and it never really worked out.
For me, I find it really difficult to sit down and work in the same place that I relax in. I’m not sure why it is exactly, but I just find that if I go to a dedicated work space that my productivity ramps up.
I touched on this briefly in my post on showing up to work and hacking productivity, but I’d like to delve into this topic a bit further. Finding your own working space can be a real game changer if you work from home like me, but if you are in an office it’s just as important to make your space “yours”.
Get out of the house
One of the best ways to immediately create a working space for yourself is to just get out of the house. For me, I really love sitting in a coffee shop and getting work done.
Every day I get up and head on over to my local coffee shop and sit down in the corner. I try and sit the farthest away from all the action to experience the least amount of distraction possible. I’ll throw on my headphones and just dive into my work.
Make sure that where you are sitting has an outlet and a nice table to put your laptop on and you’re good to go.
You may feel like being in a coffee shop is too distracting because of all the people, but give it a shot. I feel like I get my best work done here. Most of the time, I don’t even notice what’s going on around me. When I do, it’s just a small glance up, and then I’m back to work.
I’ve talked about using music to enhance productivity before, but it’s critical at a coffee shop. I have my headphones on, off to the side, and I’m in my own world. Lately, I’ve been listening to this mix while working:
Clear a dedicated space in your house
A lot of the time working at the coffee shop becomes inadequate. I do the bulk of my work at a coffee shop, but eventually I have to go home. While home, I’m always thinking of new ideas or other little things I can do for my sites. When ideas strike, it pays to implement immediately, so for these instances I have cleared a space to work at my house.
Ideally, you should have a dedicated room for your working space. There’s something to different rooms having different energies. I don’t really know anything about feng shui, but I believe there’s something to it based on my experience. If you can’t create your own room for this, the next best thing is to have a desk in a room set up for your working space.
I set up desk in the corner of the room and am still playing around with the way the room is set up to enhance productivity as much as possible. What I’ve found that works is to have your desk pulled back into the room so that your back is up against a wall. Also set up your desk so that the door to the room is off to one of your sides. The way I have it set up is the door is to my right hand side at around 2 o’clock.
Once you have your desk set up, make sure to clear every last bit of clutter from your room. In my experience, having clutter around the room will clutter your mind. You’ll be reminded every time you look around at the clutter that the room isn’t 100% dedicated to work. For me, this led to getting distracted so I cleaned the room up and made it look immaculate.
The last step for your dedicated working space is to get an awesome desk lamp. For me, I really hate working under a harsh overhead light. I find them to be too bright. A desk lamp is the perfect level of illumination for my productivity. Something about overhead lights reminds me too much of a cubicle setting and that gives me anxiety.
The desk lamp that I think is best is called a Banker’s Lamp. This is the exact lamp that I use on my desk and it’s awesome. Nothing fancy here, just a simple lamp with a green glass shade. Works wonders.
If you are currently working in a cubicle type area, there’s steps to take that will increase productivity. I used to work in an office that was filled with cubicles and I found that making the space “my own” as much as possible helped a lot.
What I mean by making it my own is to place enough personal items around to give you the illusion of the cubicle being your personal area. The point here is to differentiate as much as possible from the other cubicles so that when you sit down you are sitting down at “your” desk.
I didn’t go into the office that much towards the end of my 9-5 career. When I did go in, it was always at a random spot that was devoid of any character. Just an empty space to set up shop for the day. Anything you can do to change this is good.
What I would suggest doing is filling your desk up with a couple key items:
- Get a calendar that says something about your character. Put this calendar on the wall.
- Get pictures of cool events you took part in and put them up. Bonus points if you get random people and pretend they are your family members.
- Have your special office mug that you use for java.
- Try to block out any unwanted visitors using dividers.
Get creative here and make that space yours. This will make you more comfortable and will increase productivity.
If you are like I was and are floundering trying to work on your couch or something, try this out. I guarantee that if you find a space that you have dedicated to working, it will increase productivity. Treat this as your sacred space and get work done.
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