The Right Environment
We are all different in our working habits and the kind of environment we find the most conducive to focused productivity. However, there are a few common elements that most of us find supportive in a working environment.
Some folks enjoy listening to music while working, and others prefer total silence. You might find yourself in between – preferring to hear the day-to-day ambient sounds of people on the street and birds singing – or you may prefer instrumental music without vocals as a soft background. Whatever works best for you, pay attention to creating a soundscape that is supportive of your focused productivity. This might mean choosing a quiet room away from the street, putting a radio in your workspace or wearing noise-canceling headphones during work hours.
Free From Distractions
Our home environment can be full of distractions – from our children or pets to the mailman, neighbors, social media and the temptations of the sofa and refrigerator! You know yourself and your home best. Think about the kind of distractions that are likely to come up during the day and think of a strategy to mitigate them. This might include:
- Posting a sign on your door to let others know not to disturb you during work hours
- Putting your personal phone or devices on silent sitting
- Using an app to block your social media access during work hours
- Preparing meals and snacks in advance so you don’t lose time making sandwiches when you get hungry
- Getting your pet used to being in a different room while you work
- Planning to receive deliveries and maintenance visits during the evening or on weekends when possible
To avoid eye strain, it is important that your workspace is well lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. You could position your workspace by a window if possible or place a few desk lamps or standing lamps to illuminate your workspace.
Good Ventilation and Temperature Control
We all know the feeling of tiredness that comes with a stuffy, overly warm environment. To keep yourself alert and focused, consider the ventilation and temperature control of your workspace at different times of the year. In warm weather, you might want to make sure there is a window or door that you can open or invest in a fan for air circulation. When it is cold, will you be warm enough in your workspace? Consider the heating solutions available or even a couple of warm blankets. When you sit still for long periods, you are more susceptible to cold.
Orderly and Uncluttered
Some folks thrive on chaos but in general, it is not very conducive to a calm and productive working day. Make sure the environment you choose for your workspace is orderly enough to feel welcoming and calm when you sit down to work, and that there is not too much clutter to distract or obstruct you from working. If you cannot move things out of your workspace that you find distracting, see how it feels to cover them with a sheet or screen.
Make your virtual office your own with a few personal touches. A couple of photos of loved ones or special memories can lift your mood and keep you focused on your goals. A houseplant can help to oxygenate and humidify your workspace, as well as brightening up the environment and maybe even bringing a lovely fragrance. A favorite rug or cushion can help you feel comfortable in your work environment, as well as a poster or two of some inspiring words or images that give you a motivating boost.