Here's a quick way to become more efficient at your job: Reorganize your personal space. We spoke with Janet Simpson IIDA, principal at architectural firm TVSDesign with a specialty in workplace design, and got her top tips on how to best adjust your space for maximum productivity. See the details on each pointer, below.
1. Give yourself a "long view." Simpson finds people work better when they can look up and out at something, rather than into a corner. If possible, try to position your main focal point (likely a computer) so you can see something beyond it — perhaps a window or into the rest of the office.
2. Leave yourself visual cues. Often times people don't like to let their work literally "pile up," but organized clutter can be a good thing. Simpson recommends any leaving papers for projects you're working on in a consistent place on your desk, rather than in a drawer and out of sight
3. Have something inspiring to look to. This could be a photo of friends or family, or just a work of art you like — whatever relaxes you and makes you a little happier. Simpson recommends keeping this near your work phone, since when you're taking calls your eyes are usually looking around a bit.
4. Get a task light. A desk lamp with an adjustable arm should do the trick — just adjust the light on what you're working on for extra focus. Extra brightness keeps you engaged and alert.
5. Use a flexible chair. Our posture at work has changed dramatically in recent years due to the many devices we're using, from our laptops to our iPads to our smartphones. Since you'll likely be bending at all different angles here, you need a chair with wheels that allows for a variety posture and supports quick movements.
6. Add a pop of color. Simpson's team encourages most work areas to stay neutral in colors, but a small accent color can be quite pleasing. Some people think having a lot of colors and patterns everywhere will keep you engaged, but it does the opposite – the more you see it, the less special it is. Simpson recommends using a vibrant color, specifically orange.
7. Wear headphones. More offices are being designed with open space, which is great for giving workers and opportunity for that long view (see number 1). But, Simpson says it's important to have a cue to let people know you're concentrating. Headphones are universal – they say "don't bother me now, I'm in the zone."
8. Go dual. Simpson says it's becoming more and more common in workspaces to use two computer monitors, as it simply allows you to do more. If possible, try this out — you can have your email up and also be working on another project.
9. Embrace natural light. Sunlight is known to increase work productivity. Sometimes it may be out of our control where our desk is, but if you can work on something in that conference room with the huge windows, do try.
10. Don't hoard everything at your desk. Simpson's team has been promoting the notion of well-being at the office, and part of that involves movement throughout the day. Walking down the hall to throw something out, fill up a glass of water, or grab some more paper clips allows you to take a break and stretch — exactly what you need for a burst of energy and to improve your thought process.