Content creators: Are you feeling creatively stifled? Is your productivity ebbing rather than flowing? Don’t blame yourself for your lethargy – blame your surroundings! You may be able to get cranking again by making some simple tweaks in and around your workspace. Here are six ideas:
1. Check the thermostat
The temperature can make a big difference in your output. “If it’s too hot, it will affect your concentration and if it’s too cold, it affects your productivity,” write Toby Nwazor at Entrepreneur.
Which leads to the question – what’s the perfect temperature for maximum productivity?
Research has been conducted to find out. Chelsea Mize, writing for the Collaborative Exchange, points to a Cornell study that showed a spike in productivity in workplaces that maintained a balmy 77 degrees Fahrenheit, although other research pegs the “perfect” temperature at few degrees cooler; but the ideal temp definitely seems to be somewhere in the 70s.
2. Find your clutter “sweet spot”
A little clutter can be a big problem for many workers.
“Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information,” notes Mikael Cho at TNW. “Physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively,” he writes, citing Princeton and UCLA research.
But wait! Other studies indicate that a little clutter can help some people be more productive.
The bottom line: “It is your perception of clutter that matters, not someone else’s,” Cho writes.
If you’re one of those people for whom some decluttering of your surroundings would be a good thing, check out these Lifehacker tips. If you need to create more clutter to more productive, you know what to do!
3. Add a dash of yellow
What’s the best color for one’s work surroundings? It should be a hue that stimulates you—but not too much. The answer, according to research, is yellow.
Erik Devaney at HubSpot quotes designer Frank Mahnke as saying that yellow “is cheerful, high-spirited, and suggestive of the life-giving sun. It represents a bright future, hope, wisdom, and it is expansive–not earthbound.”
Thus, Devaney suggests, “If you’re looking for some new artwork for your workspace, or perhaps a new pot for your Venus flytrap, going with something with lots of yellow is probably your best bet from a productivity standpoint.”
4. Let the sunshine in
“When working in the confines of an office, an element of daylight is essential for employee well-being, engagement and productivity,” writes Bob Ford at Work Design. “A workplace infused with daylight provides a view of the outside, which can act as a buffer against the negative impact of job stress and positively impact general well-being.”
Ford cites research demonstrating “that proximity to natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, was associated with a 15% increase in improved well-being and creativity, and six-percent higher productivity.”
All is not lost if you can’t obtain to approval to install a window over your cubicle.
“Nothing beats natural light, but you don’t always have the luxury of having it in abundance,” writes Liz Elam at Fast Company. “So, don’t skimp on lighting and provide additional sources of lighting besides just typical fluorescents. Lamps can be fun and functional in an office space. They’re easy to move around and experiment with.”
5. Segment your work area into two zones
“Sometimes, our work requires different spaces and tools to help trigger a better output,” writes Laiza King at HuffPost. “In some cases, you may need to stay away from computer-based work in order to keep the distractions away.” To do that, she suggests segmenting your work zones into a computer work station and a computer-free area.
Inc.’s Neil Patel is also a believer in the two-zone approach. He advises using your non-computer zone to “thumb through documents, use your iPad, sign papers, scan documents, or stamp envelopes–whatever it is that doesn’t require a hands-on-the-keyboard approach to work.”
6. Get up and move
For some creative types, a complete change of scenery can work wonders for productivity.
“If you can manage it, give yourself more than one space to work from,” writes Heather Reese at Lifehack. “Putting yourself in a new space with different qualities and things to look at quite literally shifts your brain and helps you stay focused.”
If you work in a traditional office, you don’t necessarily have to remain desk-bound, Reese suggests. How about taking your laptop and your coffee to a lobby, a cafeteria, a conference room or perhaps even outside?
If you work at home, you probably have even more flexibility. Why not see if heading to a café, the library or a park can help get those creative juices flowing?