with Simplicity Expert, A.Michelle Blakeley
Home office productivity can be exponentially increased with a few minor edits and changes. Our physical and mental state of being directly affects our productivity levels. Space, equipment, environment and time can induce vigor or drag us through the day’s activities. Every aspect of your home office must be conducive to workflow effectiveness and efficiency and aesthetically empowering.
Set the tone
You have to dress the part to get your mind prepared for a state of work and production. Although it’s easy to go from the bed to the desk, the comfort of your pajamas hinders your brain from mentally “clocking in.” Our minds will find it difficult to summon the energy we need to mentally and physically take action and create a sense of urgency for what needs to be done for the day. How you dress affects the way you feel. That doesn’t mean you have to wear and suit and tie at your kitchen table or a dress while sitting at your converted closet desk. But you do need to put yourself together enough to step out at a minutes notice to meet with a client or prospect. So, rise early, shower, shave and dress. Eat light. Go to work.
Technology hacks are a quick and easy way to increase your workflow and production. This could include receipt and document scanning devices like Neat®, to keep papers from taking over your desk. It could also mean utilizing a multi-functional printer (i.e. fax, scan, print) and implementing cloud storage in place of filing. Are wires strangling your workflow? A wireless mouse, keypad, speaker, router and monitor can help. Is your computer monitor big enough to prevent eye strain? Does it have a glare? These small tweaks can make a world of difference in getting things done, maintaining energy levels and uninterrupted workflow.
Sunlight and lighting
Nothing like a little sunshine and natural vitamin D to energize you throughout the day. Having your desk near a window with a nice view can keep you from feeling caged in and in effect, keeps your mind open. A blue sky, plush green trees and vibrant flowers provide mental energy. Sunlight produces serotonin which makes us “feel good” and instills a sense of “happiness.” Inside, poor lighting can cause squinting, headaches and diminished performance. Natural light is best, but should be balanced with proper and quality indoor lighting.
“I’m a communications consultant, so my equipment and space needs are simple. I converted one of the bedrooms into a very clean, almost paperless space. It consists of a simple desk and chair and photos of Los Angeles landmarks on the walls taken by a good friend and lots of light and a walkout to a small deck.” John Novaria, Novaria Communications
Ergonomics is comfort, efficiency and safety in the design and execution of services and processes.
Are you slouched in an uncomfortable chair? Is your desk the right size and at the right height? Ergonomically designed chairs and even exercise balls can help you maintain correct posture; reducing pain and back stress. Good ergonomic equipment reduces fatigue and discomfort and increases concentration and work efficiency.
Is your work environment filled with visuals that remind you of your purpose or passion? Are there inspirational reminders of your motivation? Properly placed visuals can be uplifting on difficult days and drive us forward when we have sluggish days. Don’t underestimate the power of music when it comes to productivity. Low ambient music or rocking out to your favorite playlist can keep you moving and actually focused on the task at hand. Also, consider a scented candle or incent for increased mental harmony.
Practice a little neophyte Feng Shui and make sure no pathways or doors are obstructed and uncluttered. Good home office Chi will have your desk in a command position where you can face the door (not a wall or window). Incorporate one or more of the 5 Feng Shui elements (fire/productivity with a candle, water/communication with a micro fountain, earth/balance with a plant, metal/prosperity with a chime and wood/inspiration with a favorite book). Also don’t underestimate the power, impact and affect of your office wall color.
If you are like me, and get tunnel vision and work at your desk for hours on end, use an egg timer or reminder app to get up and move around. I use an app to ping me to get up. I walk up and down a flight of stairs once, every hour. Considering I work 12-14 hours a few days each week, that’s a modest amount of exercise. Not to mention it’s just enough to give me a continuous spurt of energy. You could also take a lunch break and step out into the fresh air.
Studies suggest that transitions between sitting and standing be made every 30 minutes. The question is does moving more in your work environment make you less productive? The answer is productivity does not suffer. Anecdotal reports cite people saying: they drink less coffee, they concentrate better and they feel better. Julie Stobbe, Trained Professional Organizer
Simplicity expert and Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley helps entrepreneurs align their purpose and principles with their business practices for agile growth. Connect with her on Twitter at @simplicityinc or check out her online magazine, Micro Business Therapy