Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment at any point in their career has probably wondered in the back of their minds, “Would I be as productive, or more so, if I was doing this from home?” In fact, many people profess to be much more productive when working from a place of peace and comfort like home, or from a desolate office on the weekend, than when they are in the office on any given weekday. With open plan workspaces and dimly lit interior offices, has it become too challenging to truly be all you can be at work? Despite all the distractions that come along with working in the company of others, is it even possible to create a workspace that allows you to be your most productive and creative self? Perhaps there are a few ways to make this a reality.
1 – Get Rid of the Clutter
We’ve all seen it. – The office slobs. People who either don’t take the time to clean up their papers and files and leave them in giant stacks all over their office floor or desk, or worse, the ones who eat at their desk so much that it looks like one of those places you read about that’s been proven to be scientifically dirtier than a public toilet at Grand Central Station. Yeah, that’s not going to help anyone be more productive. This may seem like common sense, but anyone who’s ever thought about it can see that it’s wise to keep your workspace free of clutter as much as possible. Take a few minutes every other week to update your files, or clean out your inbox (both the paper one and the electronic, email one). It may seem like you’re wasting time when you could be doing ‘real’ work, but in fact you’re freeing up space in your workspace, and in your mind, to focus on other things with a fresh, new perspective, minus the clutter.
2 – Get Comfy
There’s nothing like a warm sweater hung over the back of your chair at work that you can reach for at a moment’s notice and put on to ward off the seemingly ever-present chill that exists in office buildings. Similarly, if you stress out easily and could use a stress ball, or a Rubik’s cube to help you organize your thoughts, then by all means use these things to help you get comfortable and in a state where you will be more likely to plough through your to-do list in record time, and still have an hour or two to get to some of the projects and deliverables on your ‘wish’ (translates to: wish you could ever find the time) list.
Achieving comfort in your workspace is essential. Some people need mood music, potpourri, or herbal tea to get comfortable enough in their workspace to reach the peak of their productivity potential. Others rely on a potent dose of espresso, the feeling of promise in a new day, or just being surrounded by all the little tchochkes and office toys they may have collected and surrounded themselves with over the years. In the words of the old 70’s prescription, ‘if it feels good, do it.” Not because being at work is about indulging yourself to the point of being drunk with the chores of the day, but because the extent to which you can get comfortable is in most cases the extent to which you can get into a mindset that will help you execute deliverables and simply, get things done.
3 – Get Your Groove On
Most of us can describe what it feels like when we hit our ‘groove’ at work. Some describe it as getting into their ‘zone’, and others just know it as that moment in the day when they can put their head down, concentrate with a singularity of mind, and do some of their best work. In the words of an old-ish song from way back when, “Let the vibe flow through.” Whatever you need to hit your groove (as long as it is legal and not in violation of any company policies), do it! Do it with gusto, and often. It could be taking an invigorating walk outside for a few minutes, to get the blood flowing and the mind working right, or simply taking a couple minutes to listen to your breathing while you sip chamomile with your office door closed. Those little stolen moments might be all it takes to get your mind in a place of focus and calm, just enough to make it through the day. And just enough to impress your boss (and maybe even yourself) with all that you’ve been able to accomplish.
by Melanie Haniph