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 helpful tips to assist you with creating a functional, inspiring workspace that you will enjoy spending time in.
Ten Tips To Optimize Your Workspace
1. Decide Where Your Workspace Is
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 your desk will be located.
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.
The main thing here is that you have a dedicated space to perform your work. Once your mind has accepted this as the place to do work, you’ll be surprised at how much more work you’ll start to get done.
2. Set Up Lighting To Avoid Eye Strain
Lighting is another key factor when creating your 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 to make an optimal space.
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 or adjustable lights like Philips Hue light bulbs. Some of these types of smart lights can have their brightness and hue adjusted to suit your needs, all of which can be controlled via your phone or other smart devices.
3. Make Use Of Additional Monitors To Increase Productivity
Making use of a an additional monitor or 2 will increase your workflow tenfold.
Monitors are becoming more powerful and more affordable as technology progresses which is great news for us.
By adding an additional monitor connected to your laptop, you’ll increase the amount of screen space you have to work with. With two monitors, this benefit is doubled.
Of course, it is now possible to invest in one ultra-wide monitor as opposed to 2 regularly sized monitors which simplifies things quite a bit.
All of the extra screen real estate you gain from this can be used to efficiently display your work while helping you to visualize what needs to be done.
4. Shelves Are A Ninja Way To Regain Storage Space
Shelves are the best form of organization 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 vertical space which is a perfect way to adapt to a smaller space.
What’s more, shelving is a pretty cheap storage solution so it will work well for almost any budget.
Before you invest in a great set of shelves, the first thing to do is to imagine what you will store on them. This will give you a good idea of the style and amount of shelves you will need.
5. Invest In A Great Desk & Chair To Allow You To Work For Longer
A great desk and an ergonomically designed office chair are the staples you need to create a productive 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.
With all of this in mind, I would recommend you check out this great video which walks you through an ergonomic desk setup.
6. Remove Clutter & Your Mind Will Be Clearer
Clutter is one of the top distractions that can impede your work resulting in a decline in productivity.
A desk overflowing with sticky notes, pens, and old coffee cups does nothing for your mind and will often decrease your motivation.
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.
Here are some quick wins you can achieve right now:
- 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. I recommend starting to Bullet Journal as it’s really helped me to manage my workload and calm my brain.
- Keep the amount of paper at your desk to a minimum to avoid excess clutter.
- Clear off your desk at the end of each workday so when you start into your work the next day you will feel motivated and free from distraction.
7. An Organized Workspace Will Lead To An Organized Mind
Continuing on from the last point slightly, an organized workspace has been proven to lead to an organized mind.
Consider placing your physical work into folders or binders which are color-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 stationery, 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.
Think about consolidating any physical notes and documents into digital ones to reclaim space. Take a photo or type out your notes and pop the no longer needed physical documents into the trash.
8. Don’t Forget About Cable Management
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.
9. Limit The Amount Of Hardware In Your Workspace
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.
10. Buy A Bin To House Your Trash
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 and now you feel inspired to optimize your workspace today!
Let’s summarize the ten tips before we finish:
- Decide Where Your Workspace Is
- Set Up Lighting To Avoid Eye Strain
- Make Use Of Additional Monitors To Increase Productivity
- Shelves Are A Ninja Way To Regain Storage Space
- Invest In A Great Desk & Chair To Allow You To Work For Longer
- Remove Clutter & Your Mind Will Be Clearer
- An Organized Workspace Will Lead To An Organized Mind
- Don’t Forget About Cable Management
- Limit The Amount Of Hardware In Your Workspace
- Buy A Bin To House Your Trash
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