9 Tips: The Perfect Workspace for Productivity & Serenity
Let’s face it, the perfect work space for any given person varies in much the same way the perfect movie, the perfect pair of shoes, or the perfect pair of jeans might.
What works great for some, may be totally incompatible with someone else.
But… there are some simple tricks that you can use to create a great and productive workspace.
We’ll start off with mine and I’ll walk you though why it works so well for me, and what might work well for you.
Here are some basic rules of creating a great work space:
1) It takes time, trial and error:
Be willing to try different things. Swap monitors, move things around. Slide things from screen to screen. Set things up, work with it for a few days and see how it feels. You can always switch stuff around later.
2) Multiple Monitors are a Must:
If you’re working in multiple programs at the same time (which most people do), multiple monitors are required. BUT - That’s not as expensive a proposition as it sounds.
In the image above, the Apple monitor on the right was indeed expensive and is extremely high resolution. I use it for my design, graphics and photo work.
But there are great options out there for UNDER $150 (Acer G276HL 27” HD Monitor Pictured) which is honestly all you need for most of the work you do.
3) Figure out what your “Full Time Access” programs are:
For me, Email, Slack, Trello & Spotify are the four things I need to see at all time.
You waste A LOT of time when you have to switch, slide, minimize & maximize programs to get to the information you want.
So… get those items into a place where you can view them all the time without having to “find” them.
4) One Vertical Monitor is your Friend:
In the image above, on the left, I have a vertical monitor. I use it to keep Trello, Slack & Spotify - again - three of the things I need to SEE regularly, but am not INTERACTING with (typing on) all that frequently.
Organize these programs (or whatever your" “quick reference” programs are) from top to bottom on this monitor.
5) Paper & Pen is still Super Efficient:
I don’t care how many great note taking apps there are out there.
When you need to jot down a quick note. Picking up a pen and putting it to paper is still the fastest way to do things.
Most of the time, you can reference these things later (on paper), but if you need to store this information digitally, you can snap a pic on your phone or enter it when you have some downtime into your program of choice.
This is a “controversial” topic. Some people love working with music, some people can’t do it. To each his own, I say.
And furthermore, when it comes down to genre of music, the opinions vary even further.
something with a little energy, few vocals and a good beat keeps me moving.
I don’t typically turn to my rock standards I’d listen to while driving because I then find myself singing along which is distracting (not to mention I have a terrible voice).
But… some “work chill” stations on Spotify and Pandora put me to sleep.
I’m a big fan of Synthwave while I work - At the time of posting this, Gunship’s Dark All Day, is my album of choice (SPOTIFY LINK). This album goes against my “few vocals” rule, by the way. But it’s oh so good.
Why is it on my go-to monitor on my left? Because I am constantly tweaking my radio stations. Thumbs up & Thumbs down - always adjusting stations to my fickle tastes.
7) Lighting (a.k.a. Fluorescent = No)
Everything you see and interact with in your workspace is effected by the lighting. Your monitors, your keyboard, the walls, everything.
Fluorescent lighting, which is stock in most office buildings, is shown to be terrible when it comes to brain function - not to mention it gives me terrible headaches.
For $20, you can buy a pole lamp and an LED bulb from Target. Do it. You’ll thank me.
This will give your work space a nice, less-intense, feeling.
Don’t forget a desk lamp - you DO want your work surface illuminated well so you’re not straining to see things. This can also cause headaches.
8) Whiteboard paint - great for brainstorming:
When I have folks in my office, there is nothing better than watching them trying to explain something… then pick up a dry erase marker and diagraming it on the wall. Anywhere.
Sure, it’s very low-tech, but back to the same reason the Pen & Paper still work so well, it allows you to get info from your brain out into the open in seconds.
Pick THIS up from Amazon for $11… it’ll change your life.
Note, this is spray paint - make sure you use a good quality PAINTER’S TAPE to keep things tidy - have found this out the hard way in the past.
9) Essential Oil Defuser (yes, seriously)
There are so many studies that say our sense of smell has a profound effect on our balance and well-being. My wife got into essential oil’s a few years ago and frankly, I didn’t get it… at first. But I have fallen in love with them now. They help me work, sleep and relax during the day.
No one walks into my office without saying “It smells like a spa in here… I could sit here all day”.
doTERRA’s Balance is my go-to flavor for the office. It’s a nice balance between flowery, musky and fruity… and isn’t overwhelming.
As far a diffusers go - this is the machine which you add water to, which sends a scented mist into the air - they’ve come a long way. They used to be sort of ugly - but you can find ones now that look very modern or artistic.
A couple good options are:
JolyJoy Aromatherapy Diffuser (Pictured) ($52)
It’s worth taking the time find out what your “perfect workspace” feels and looks like. It’s a great Friday afternoon project. Move things around, sit down… work with it… move it… try it again.
Once you find a workspace layout that fits, you’ll notice your comfort level and productivity skyrocket.
And it’s not just the utilitarian aspects of your workspace that matter. Spend time trying different genres of music, lighting and things like essential oils to make the day more pleasant.