This is a guest post by John, a digital nomad and freelance writer, specializing in leadership, digital media and personal growth.
If you have the kind of job where you mostly stare into a computer screen all day, chances are you’ve put a considerable amount of time and effort into optimizing that machine for your workflow.
You have the software and apps you need, your virtual desktop is kept meticulously tidy, you have a break timer app installed, and your screen is calibrated to be kind to your eyes no matter the time of day.
Maybe you’ve even sent off for a luxury mouse and wireless headphones to make your workstation experience even more pleasant.
Yet we spend so much time concentrating on that small aspect of our broader surroundings that it is often the case that we neglect the rest of our immediate environment.
There’s a limit to what you can achieve by ‘pimping’ your computer, and in the end it’s the physical world around you that may have the greatest effect on your productivity. There are a number of steps you can take and desk hacks you can implement to help this neglected area of your workspace give your workflow a bit more oomph.
For starters, you need a couple of accessories to help remind you that you’re not a machine.
There are few better workmates than a potted plant in the office.
They don’t interrupt your train of thought, they don’t distract you with idle gossip or dump their excess workload on you. But if you treat them well they will respond in kind by keeping the air around you fresh and perpetuating a creative atmosphere with the green of their leaves and the wonder of their growth.
Both you and your new plant should also respond positively to the installing of a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light. If you work in a dark corner of the office or you clock in before the sun has risen, a SAD light can replicate the natural light that you (and Planty McPlantface) require to keep your body clock in check and your mind alert.
Peppermint oil can complete this natural trio, by stimulating your brain and keeping the atmosphere around you fresh. It’s particularly effective if your office tends to smell of industrial cleaning products, or no cleaning products at all!
Dab a few drops on your neck and temples when you need a bit of a kick-start.
There are a few ‘ housekeeping desk hacks ’ you can also apply to your desk area to make it a more friendly and creative place.
A three-tier letter tray is an excellent way to prevent meaningless heaps of paperwork piling up, which always leads to a frustrating search when you suddenly need a document that’s lost midway through the pile.
It also makes you look tidier, so your colleagues don’t label you ‘the messy one’ and you look more in-control to your boss.
Keeping your workspace warm may be down to you if your building manager is constantly watching the heating bills.
A warm office has been shown to lead to productivity. So if you find yourself constantly shivering and tugging at your sleeves, consider keeping a blanket under your desk.
It can also make you feel more comfortable and at home, so you can relax into your work instead of remaining a nervous wreck. Just don’t get too comfortable – there’s a time and a place for napping, and this probably isn’t it.
The good people at The Business Backer have created an excellent new guide to a dozen desk hacks you can try to get your productivity up and make the office a more pleasant place to be.
Try making a few changes tomorrow morning, and you should soon see some improvements to your output, and your general attitude towards being at work.