The way you set up your workspace can impact your productivity just as much as other factors including sleep, technology, organizational strategies and business tools.
Scientists have completed endless fascinating studies about how a variety of stimuli that impact the senses can either ramp up productivity or kill it. You can harness these known stimuli to set yourself up to be more focused and efficient, which ultimately could translate into more sales.
Whether you work in an office or at home, check out these six tips to optimize your work environment for productivity.
Cut the clutter
A quote attributed to Albert Einstein says, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Building on that, a popular notion has evolved that a cluttered desk is a sign of brilliance and extraordinary creativity.
But clutter can also be a time waster when you can’t find the file you need or the phone number you scrawled on a scrap of paper last week. In fact, researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute studied the impact of clutter on productivity and found that clutter creates multiple stimuli in the visual field that compete for the brain’s attention. The limited processing capacity of the visual system can’t keep up, eventually leading to difficulty focusing.
The solution? Take a page from the KonMari Tidying Up movement. If you don’t love it, get rid of it. Create an organized, tidy workspace that will allow your eyes and brain to focus on the task at hand.
Look to the light
If you’ve worked in an office building, you’ve probably spent a lot of time under glaring, industrial fluorescent lights. But science shows that lighting can have a major impact on productivity. If you work at home, you can choose the best lighting for your workspace, but even if you work in an office, you can tweak the lighting in your workspace to improve not only productivity but also your health.
Natural light is the best light source for productivity and health, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Working near a window correlated with better sleep and a propensity to get more exercise for study participants. If you haven’t reached the status needed to earn yourself an office with a window, the study researchers advise using a desktop light box, increasing the intensity of overhead lights, or simply taking breaks throughout the day to spend time near a window or step outside for a few minutes.
Another lighting strategy that could yield better productivity is using blue light that put out shorter-wavelength blue hues that provide a natural wakening effect and could help improve performance on important tasks. With any lighting choice, it’s important to make sure to limit glare that can be hard the eyes, ultimately decreasing productivity.