Whether you work from your home or a busy office, your desk and everything around it should be carefully arranged to make you feel as creative, energized and stress-free as possible.
You see, when you treat your desk as an obligatory layover between your breakfast counter and an evening on the couch, you fill it with things that eventually pile up. As a result, you don’t get much done.
Show that desk a little love and it’ll show a lot of love back. With these desk hacks, your workstation will be able to provide you with a calm and inspiring environment that can improve your productivity as well as the general quality of your day.
Make friends with a plant
Pot plants are brilliant. They are the perfect pet for work. They serve as something to nurture and observe yet they won’t constantly distract you for treats or fusses.
Apart from that, the color green has been shown to improve productivity, too. The plant will also help to keep the atmosphere in your office fresh and full of oxygen. Pick one up on your next lunch break and see how much better your afternoon will feel.
Fix the lighting
In one study, workers with windows in their workplace were shown to receive 173% more natural light during their work hours. This gave them an average of 46 minutes of extra sleep per night. As you can imagine, this makes for better health, more alertness and increased productivity.
If it’s not possible to move your desk closer to an external window, think about investing in (or asking your boss to invest in) a light box to deliver the rays your body and brain require to function as nature intended.
Add a little oil
Essential oils can change the way you feel and think. Peppermint aroma, for example, has been shown to have a positive impact on memory and alertness. And who doesn’t need a bit more of those at work?
Try rubbing peppermint oil on your neck and temples to ensure you get the hit you need. If peppermint doesn’t work for you, do a bit of research into the kind of scent that will provide what’s missing from your day. You can even swap them up throughout the week.
Next thing that should be on your list of desk supplies should be a pack of sugar-free gum. Chewing gum can boost your concentration, so make sure you have one nearby in case your mind starts to wander. Choose peppermint flavor to boost both your alertness and memory.
Cover your ears
You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out that working in a loud office or near a busy building site is bad for your concentration. Scientists have delved a little deeper and found out that such disturbances could actually be doing more profound damage than you think.
Working in a noisy environment can increase your blood pressure, risk of illnesses and even frequency of accidents. So, instead of just grinning and bearing it, think about investing in a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones. They’ll protect more than just your ears.
Power-up your keyboard
The standard computer keyboard is pretty basic and with the different software programs and browsers, not knowing or using keyboard shortcuts can greatly slow you down.
Shifting to a gaming keyboard makes things a lot easier. With more keys and more memorable visual references, you’ll find yourself using shortcuts for everything. This means knocking off precious minutes for each task, too.
Take ‘blankie’ to work
An organized office begins with an organized body. If you get too cold at work, your internal system scrambles around to adjust and this can affect your concentration and productivity.
Keep your favorite blanket under your desk and you’ll be able to regulate your own temperature- regardless of what your building manager thinks.
A multi-storey solution
Disorganization breeds disorganization. Keeping your desk organized not only creates a good impression on your boss and colleagues; it helps you to become more productive and disciplined in general. Think about getting a multi-tiered tray to make those stacks of paperwork a lot neater.
Get yourself a robot line manager
You know what your workload is and when it needs to be done. However, remembering to take a break, stretch your legs or make a cup of tea can be a bit difficult when you’re in the flow.
Taking breaks is important. Downloading a timer such as Be Focused can help you to regulate your workflow, stay fresh and energized.
Write it down on a Post-It and stick it to your computer monitor: 20-20-20!
Then, use that new timer of yours to remind yourself that every twenty minutes, you should gaze twenty feet away from yourself for twenty seconds. This technique can help prevent getting eye-strain, which can cause fatigue and other long-term eye issues.
Block your notifications
Those little beeps, vibrations and red dots on your devices can disrupt your attention. If you’re worried you don’t have the discipline to leave them alone by sheer willpower, download a notification-blocking app to do the hard work for you.
Take your toys to work
Okay, so it’s not the 1980s anymore, but yuppie desk toys can still be effective. In fact, they’ve been dragged into the 21st century in the shape of fidget widgets. To help you turn that excess energy into something productive, think about keeping one on your desk.
With these 12 simple desk hacks, you can already transform your work area into a comfortable, dynamic and productive station. Finally, you’re ready to start work for real!
G. John Cole is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specializing in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK and the Balkans.