Us freelancers are strange creatures. We keep strange hours, and work strange days, and we develop strange workflow habits. People who telecommute or have another special arrangement with their employers can understand too the challenges we face working from home. On top of the continuous distractions that come with running a household and having a pet and/or kids, it’s a wonder we can find a dedicated, organized space to pay our bills let alone run a small business. Having an unproductive work space can make this journey an uphill battle for even the most dedicated of business owners, so here are five solutions I’ve implemented in some of the offices and homes I’ve organized (as well as my own!) to make them more productive.
Make it light. If you can’t see anything you won’t be able to do anything- or at the very least, you won’t be able to do anything very well. Makes sense, no?
Make it comfortable. Almost as important as your desk (or your counter, or your diniing table, or wherever you work), the seating that you choose can make a big difference to how long and how comfortably you can focus on your work. Obviously you don’t want to be so comfortable that you never want to leave your desk (I have enough problems with that anyway!) but you do want to be able to get up from your desk with some feeling still left in your back. Or avoid this altogether and invest in a stand-up desk- just make sure you pair it with a specialized mat underneath designed to minimize the impact prolonged standing has on your back, hips, knees and feet.
Make it ergonomic. A bright desk lamp and an appropriately comfortable chair are two important ingredients in the ergonomics of your work space, but make sure you aren’t forgetting other important considerations. Is your desk tall enough for your legs to fit underneath? Do you have a place to put your feet? Do you have an accessible electricity supply? Does your work space allow for enough storage to house the things you need on a daily basis to maintain your flow at work? Fitting together all of these elements is like fitting together a jigsaw puzzle- as soon as you have one or two of these answers figured out, the rest are going to start conveniently falling into place.
Make it convenient. Obviously it would be wonderful if we all had the means to create a work space that’s configured exactly the way we want it. However, depending on your position at work, or the conditions of your home life you find yourself in less-than-ideal working conditions. In that case, it’s important that you concentrate on the convenience of your working space. I’ve known many small businesses owners who have run companies from their dining room tables. However, if your dining room table is always covered in junk, or is crowded with kids doing their homework, you may want to consider creating a dedicated space on your kitchen counter, or even on your dressing table to house the necessary supplies to fire off a quick email, pay some bills, or look up an address.
Make it your own. Each individual has their own set of wants and needs that they feel is conducive to a productive workflow. It doesn’t matter if they are deemed necessary by others. What matters is that these are the items that give you the pleasure and convenience required to have a successful workday. I call this set of items your “office essentials” and I’ve shared what’s on my list here. No matter what’s on your list, it should be in amply supply and well within your reach.
Working from home isn’t always easy and without a lot of discipline it can be a challenge to maintain focus even in the most organized of work spaces. But hopefully with a more productive work space, (one that’s designed to fit your needs and store the essentials necessary for you to run your business) you’ll be better equipped to face all of the little battles that life throws your way.
Have you tried any of these solutions in your home? Is there anything you’d like to add to my list? Comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always looking for ways to improve my productivity (and by that I mean makeover my desk). I could definitely use your help!
Writing and learning about productivity is kind of my jam. If you’d like to read some of my other thoughts on cultivating a more productive lifestyle, why not mosey on over to my productivity page here?