The workspace is the hub of any designer, developer and programmer’s world.
From here you research, develop projects, mockup ideas, communicate with clients, the list is pretty much endless.
Whether you work from home or in an office, having a clean and tidy work space is a simple way to keep a clean and tidy mind.
It is important that your workspace allows you to find a balance between carrying out your work efficiently while at the same time inspiring you to work for long periods of time.
While I’m the first to admit that my place of work isn’t always the neatest, having a clean and minimalist workspace is something I aspire to.
With all of this in mind, I’ve assembled some top tips to help you to create a functional, inspiring workspace that you will enjoy spending time in.
Ten Top Tips
Tip number one has got to be placement of your workspace.
Where you are situated is definitely something to consider when creating an optimal work environment.
Think about the space you have to work in and plan where you will sit and where each item in your workspace should be placed.
OK, so sometimes you won’t have much choice in where your workspace is but even being able to sit near a window is something that can usually be achieved.
Simply sitting somewhere light and bright will encourage your productivity.
Some people enjoy sitting beside a window so they can look out at the view at various times during the day. This can certainly be a great way to clear your head but be mindful that if you get easily distracted, it might make more sense to face away from the window.
Lighting is another key factor in designing your personal workspace.
A space that is too light, especially with artificial light, will damage your eyes after prolonged periods of time. On the other hand, too dark a space will cause eye strain.
The key here is to work with what you have.
Situate yourself beside a bright window that has curtains or blinds that can be adjusted as needed.
If this is not possible, then consider investing in some lamps, backlights etc. that can have their brightness adjusted to suit your needs and place them on your desk or overhead on a shelf.
Making use of a monitor or monitors will increase your workflow tenfold.
Think about what would work best for you depending on how you work and your budget.
On the one hand, you could invest in multiple monitors and configure your setup accordingly. Alternatively you could choose a wide monitor which essentially is two monitors in one.
All of the extra screen real estate can be used to efficiently display your work while helping you to visualize what needs to be done.
Shelves are the best form of organisation around, especially if you are in a small area and wish to optimize storage space.
Making use of shelves will allow you to make use of space vertically which is great for smaller spaces.
What’s more, shelving is a pretty cheap storage solution so will work well for any budget.
Once you’ve decided on shelves, the next thing to do is to think about the items that you’ll store on them.
This will give you a good idea of the style and amount of shelves you will need.
A large sturdy desk can make all the difference as it will provide focus to your workspace.
Your desk must be large and strong enough to hold all of your gear while still allowing you space to take notes or sit your beverage down. Don’t forget to consider drawers and other built in storage.
If you are stuck for space in your office area, consider a smaller L-shaped desk that can fit in the corner of the room.
Also important is the chair you choose for your space.
An ideal chair should be comfortable for sitting in for long periods of time and provide enough back support to avoid back strain.
Ideally you want a chair that can have its height adjusted and if you are in a large space a chair with wheels wouldn’t hurt.
Clutter is one of the top distractions that impedes your work and productivity.
A desk overflowing with sticky notes, pens and old coffee cups does nothing for your productivity.
Only have items on your desk that are absolutely necessary for the work you’re doing at any one time.
Anything else should be stored in drawers for ease of access when needed.
Place pens and pencils into a cup or a special pencil holder, have a notebook on your desk for any quick notes you need to jot down, keep the amount of paper at your desk to a minimum to avoid excess clutter.
Spent some time regularly cleaning up your desk to remove clutter to ensure you will have a clear mind when working.
Continuing on from the last point slightly, an organised workspace will lead to an organised mind.
Consider placing your physical work into folders or binders which are colour coded to help you find what you are looking for with ease.
Small plastic storage boxes can be an excellent commodity to have in your workspace for organizing stationary, USB sticks or any other bits and pieces you have accumulated and can’t do without.
It’s also worth investing in drawer organisers to sort your work materials accordingly.
Those pesky cables running from all of your pieces of hardware can drive you insane.
Undoing knots in cables should not be a regular part of your day, otherwise you’ll resort to your scissors!
Remove any unnecessary wires and cables and store them away. Buy small boxes and label them so you can sort the different kinds of cables like HDMI, USB, ethernet etc.
Once you’ve cleared away the unused cables, organize the ones you do use so that each one is easily plugged in without crossing over too many other cables in its path.
If you need to, invest in cable ties to minimize the messiness of the cables.
Label plugs so you know what they belong to; this will make your life a great deal easier trust me.
Similar to previous points, only include what’s necessary to your work.
Printers, laptops, tablets, monitors, headphones, speakers etc. can take over the majority of your space.
Try to be clever about each object’s placement and positioning to maximize your space.
If there is something you don’t use very often, consider storing it away for use when you do need it.
The bin aka garbage.
This is what will set you apart from the messy masses.
Invest in any kind of trash can and place it near your desk so you will be more inclined to toss your crumpled up pages and empty coffee cups into it rather than discarding them all over your floor.
This is a really simple and cheap purchase that will make a big difference to how clean your workspace is.
I hope you found this list of tips useful for optimizing your own workspace.
Can you think of any other tips that would work here? It would be great to hear from you!