GUEST POST BY LUCINDA BATCHELOR
Working from home is the most rewarding and equally isolating experience.
When you're in the corporate world, a day or two of remote working is a nice change of pace. Once I left the that world to open The Study Room, working from home became the norm and the experience completely changed.
How you use your office space can have a huge impact on how you work.
Setting up your desk and turning on your computer does not mean that you are at your most productive.
I have found a few simple, quick wins that can have a huge impact on your productivity. They have made the difference to me, and so many others I have helped in my work as a productivity consultant.
Have a read, make a list (if that’s your preference) and start making your working days count!
1. Think about how you work, then plan and design your space.
Do you know how you work? Look at your desk right now, is everything an "organized mess" or is everything filed and in sections? Finding out how you work is the key to creating your space. If you are an organized mess type of worker, you need a large space to help carve through your workload, one "organized mess" at a time. If you work with piles and piles of paper and files, you need a space that is large enough to contain your system, with lots of storage solutions. Make sure you have room for your computer, a notebook, pen and possibly (definitely) a coffee.
2.Create a Filing System that works for you
Once you have figured out how you like to work, the next issue becomes where to put all the papers, receipts and everything you need to run a business. (Seriously, no one ever mentioned to me how much paperwork you accumulate when you work for yourself!) Storage bins will become your newest and best friend!
The bane of my existence is receipts. Receipts for coffee, stock traveling, and well, everything. Sometimes, (well, all the time) sorting them to get them ready for the accountant is the last thing I want to do. To tackle this, I use a receipt dump bin which has saved my life. I'll throw the contents of my overladen purse into it at the end of each workday. Not only does this make my purse lighter and my mind less cluttered, it allows me to segment my "work" life from my "civilian" life.
Other ways of filing could include a segmented “In/In Progress/Out” tray. Allowing you to see not just all the work that you’ve to do, but all the work you have completed are and in the middle of.
Assign a day to go through your calendar, file your receipts and have a general check-up of all things admin for the business. This will help you feel less overwhelmed and will help your productivity. Being clear about the tasks ahead will always take the pressure off; giving you the opportunity to breathe, take stock of your progress and move forward with new ideas.
3. Set the Mood
The mood in your office will influence your productivity too. If you are working in a dark and morose room, your mood and productivity will reflect that; nothing will get done! The science behind it is called colour theory and explains why yellow can make you feel both happy and hungry (think McDonalds) or why blue can instantly make you feel calm.
This website explains the effects of each colour in detail.
Colour combinations I have found to help with productivity are:
- White & Green –The white reflects light and makes a room brighter. The green promotes balanced thinking and creativity.
- White, Blue & Orange –Against a base colour of white, orange and blue accents promote calm, comfort and motivation; creating the perfect environment to have your best ideas.
Quick wins to utilize colour theory while working on the move is to have dedicated stationery. I carry a Rhodia Pad and my trusty pen, filled with green ink. The green ink really does help me to think creatively, even when I am not at my desk.
Your computer and how your sit can also affect your productivity; if you are hunched over or straining to see or type that will, of course, affect the length of time you can work. Invest in a laptop stand and foot rest, or prop your desktop up with a riser. This will help you to sit up straight, get thinking and be your most productive!
4. You need greenery!
Never underestimate the power of plants! Not only are they pretty and incredible to Instagram, they are perfect tools to make you your most productive.
A 2010 Study highlighted that having plants in an office can reduce tension and anxiety by up to 37%! The cleaner air generated from plants in your office can assist with your concentration, help you make fewer mistakes and provides much needed humidity to keep you at your healthiest.
Are you most creative when you are out in nature? Bring the outside, in and let your creative streak shine through!
THE BEST PLANTS FOR YOUR OFFICE ARE:
Aloe –not only great for your skin and body, this low maintenance plant is a master at cleaning toxins from the air, creating a purified and productive office space. You could even snap a piece off and add it to your glass of water. Who doesn’t love a multi-tasker?
Rubber Plants –Next to the succulent (the most instgrammed... ever) the rubber plant is a perfect addition to an office. Like the Aloe plant, the leaves absorb chemicals and microbes from the air and pump out much needed oxygen.
- English Ivy –Helps reduce mold spores in the air as well as being one of the easier (and slightly wilder looking houseplants) to have in your home. This does the job of all the others with even less effort!
5. Embrace it!
One of the easiest things that can boost your productivity is to remember why you started in the first place. The leap of faith it takes to start a business is huge and it takes a certain character to do so.
Working from your home office can provide a level of flexibility not seen in a traditional working environment. If you feel stagnant in your own space, you can go to a coffee shop and spend an hour or two working to get your rhythm back, you can reflect by taking a walk or simply doing something else for an hour.
Do what you need to do to get your productivity mojo back! These are simple quick wins to help jumpstart your working day. There are so many more to think about and so many more I haven’t yet discovered, but that’s the fun of forging your own way and that is the reason why we all go into business for ourselves right?
Lucinda Batchelor is the Founder & Director of The Study Room London and a productivity consultant, who works from her productive home office in London. Having opened her luxury, productive stationery store online she found that her clients and customers felt isolated when working so created an exclusive collective for creative freelancers and small businesses to commune and find their voice.
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