Time is money, right? The one thing we absolutely can’t buy is more hours in each day so to maximize our earnings, we also need to maximize our productivity and time management skills.
Our settings can have a profound impact on how efficient and productive we are. Arguments abound as to whether a messy desk is a sign of a creative mind or a disorganized one but creating a space conducive to cranking out work product goes beyond your desk, so we’ll examine how to get your feng-shui on and create harmony with your working environment.
- Keep desktop clutter to a minimum. About that mess on your desk: there are few experts that recommend keeping it that way. You’re bound to be more productive if you don’t have to hunt through stacks and piles, so unless something has an immediate purpose, get it out of the way and put it in a drawer. If you’re an analog person in a digital world, buy a file cabinet and file your stacks or otherwise, scan documents into your computer and recycle the paper.
- Promote movement. One of the hottest trends in office design today is the sit-to-stand desk. We don’t need doctors to tell us sitting at a desk all day is bad for our health. Changing position throughout the day not only improves your posture and reduces neck and back pain, but also gives a jolt of energy. If you can’t afford a new desk (low-range sit-stand desks start just under $200) you can achieve the same effect by taking a five-minute break each hour to walk around the office or even outside.
- Get back to nature. As simple as it sounds, bringing a plant into the office or sitting near a window can improve our efficiency. Lack of natural light leads to eye strain and fatigue; conversely, exposure to natural light has been proven to increase alertness. Pick plants that will thrive in your environment. Succulents, like cacti, are low maintenance but do need lots of sunlight.
- Ditch the music. Listening to music before you get to work can inspire you to your tasks, but contrary to what many think, it’s a no-no in the office. Save the singalongs for the shower, because unless you are working on repetitive tasks, music interferes with your critical thinking. Invest in noise-canceling headphones to keep ringing phones, clacking computers and even well-meaning co-workers at bay.
- Find your inner aesthete. Countless time-tested studies show a few colors inspire energy and productivity and it’s no wonder: yellows, greens, and blues are the colors of nature. Consider adding at least one of those colors in your office and select original artwork that speaks to creativity.
Finally, if you are a manager, be sensitive to the demographics of the workplace. These days, you are likely to have a range of employees from Baby Boomers to Millennials. Different generations have learned different work habits, but the tips above are sure winners for everyone.