As someone who has worked in all manner of spaces, from a giant corporate office to working from home at a desk in the middle of my living room, I know how important it is to make a space work for you.
Make it Yours
Injecting some of your personality into where you work is a great way to make that space somewhere that you actually enjoy being. Bring a picture or two, meaningful knick-knacks, souvenirs from places you’ve been, desk toys, or pieces of art you really enjoy and decorate your space. Be deliberate on where they go and very selective on what you bring. It’s important to make the space your own, but also to not make it cluttered.
Consider Your Surroundings
I believe it is of the utmost importance to turn wherever you are working, into a place that works for you. It should be clutter-free, organized, and have all the essentials within arm’s reach allowing you to remain as focused as possible.
If you are starting from scratch, GREAT, but if you already have an established work location, maybe consider that spring cleaning you’ve been avoiding from 2 years ago… Organize any necessary files and paperwork you may have lying around, and clear the trash off of and from around your desk. Avoid having too much in front of you at the same time. The more items in front of you that remind you of other tasks, at least too many of them, will distract you from your most important tasks at hand.
Your Computer Needs to be Clean Too
Let me explain….
Much like your physical surroundings, the way your computer setup appears physically and virtually can greatly affect your productivity.
Tips for making your computer desk setup look clean
- Cable Management – Using hook & loop reusable cable ties (like these) to bundle and tidy up your computer cables, phone chargers, computer speaker cables, etc., will greatly reduce the appearance of clutter on your desk.
- Only the Essentials – Maybe you don’t need that printer, stapler, 20 pens, and 5 packs of sticky notes all on your desk at the SAME time. Find spaces for all of these in a drawer or shelf somewhere nearby and only grab them when you need them.
- Organization & Aesthetics – Desk organizers, risers, and desk pads are great ways to clean up the functionality AND look of your desk.
I won’t go too into detail on this, but there are a few things you can do to ensure your computer is as easy and intuitive to use as possible and doesn’t cause you headaches to look at and find files.
- Clean up your desktop – Yeah you heard me…time to finally sit down and organize those 487 files currently overlapping each other on your desktop. I personally don’t keep anything permanent on my desktop. I only use it as a temporary drop space for files when moving them from one place to another or if I need to add them to an email or something like that. Take the time to create folders in logical locations like Documents or Pictures and find a place for EVERYTHING. (I’m serious. You’ll thank me later)
- Give your storage drive some breathing room – Your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid-State Drive (SSD) that stores the majority of the files on your computer is a common choke point for a slow computer, especially if you have tons of large files like videos, pictures, etc. As a rule of thumb your main storage drive should never stay at more than 90% capacity. This will affect the drive’s ability to find file locations quickly and will inevitably slow down your computer. Keep it much lower than 90% if possible. If you need more space, consider upgrading your drive if possible, or look into external storage solutions like a 7200 RPM External HDD and/or SSD if you can swing it financially.
- Scrub your machine – Here’s what I mean. Delete and uninstall any files or apps that you know you’ll never be touching again. One of my favorite management tools for this is CleanMy Mac / CleanMy PC from MacPaw. It is a paid program, but it is one of the most trusted tools, for giving your computer a virtual face lift from deleting unnecessary system files, refreshing your RAM, flushing your DNS Cache and other super nerdy things that someone smarter than me figured out how to do automatically. It can breathe new life into otherwise decrepit computers.
I hope these tips help lead you to a world of greater productivity and enjoying your workspace! Now go get something done!