How Productive Can You Make the Space Around You?

Hey guys,

There’s quite a few mistakes people can make in their pursuit of productivity and whilst everyone works in their own way, as a freelancer or business owner you need an environment that will foster productivity and not hinder it.

You want to be up to get up in the morning, fresh faced and ready to get down to task, and then be able to sit or stand at a desk with a phone in one hand and answering an email in the other for the next few hours.

You want to be able to cut out multiple distractions and minimise the amount of sound and disturbances from outside – you work from home yes, but there’s still quite a few things you can do to make sure the area feels like an office designed to your professional standards.

You’ve got a spare room, or you’ve got some spare space at the back of your kitchen or living room, and now you want to put it to good use. And seeing as you’ve recently gone all out with self employment, and you can’t wait to be your own boss, you’re going to need an equally productive space that can keep up with you.

So whether you work part time from home, have a full time freelance business out of it, or you just like the thought of a much more productive working environment to thrive in 24/7, let’s make sure your efforts don’t go to waste here!

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Have a Dedicated Working Space

Your home is your home, and you’ve probably heard all about how bad it can be to mix the two worlds of home and work together. But if you’ve got a business of your own to run, and you’re not sure whether you can go for renting out an office of your own right now, there’s nowhere else to run your company!

And the home you live in can be a great place to craft a work ethic you’re truly proud of, simply because there’s so much temptation around you to distract you away from what you’re focusing on.

If you can make it through an eight hour day with the usual breaks, and only checking your phone when an important email or voicemail comes through, you’ve got a recipe for success on your hands.

But you can’t slap your home office down anywhere in your house – you’re going to need a dedicated working space to run your business out of.

First of all, you’re going to need to find a place that’s got plenty of room for you, your desk, your computer and all its wires, your printer and your copy machine, your filing equipment, and anything else you use on a regular basis that deserves to have its own home within your productive space.

But don’t let yourself overpack this space; you’ll want to have room you can add more items to, and have enough space for things like a meeting table or an armchair any visitors can take a seat in.

You can even turn your garage into an office or studio, if it’s not the place you like to keep your car.

If there’s just a lot of storage and errant tools in there, it’s time to have a good clear out, and then decide if it’s the kind of room you could work out of. Is it warm enough in there?

Could you decorate a little, with some paint on the walls and a rug on the carpet? Maybe you could go for an all out conversion, and use a contractor to repurpose the space for you?

Speaking of conversion, do you have any large attic space, or a loft room? Can you answer the same questions with a ‘yes’ up there as well?

Come Up with an Office Layout

Once you have a suitable office space, you’re going to have to come up with a layout for it. There’s quite a few office templates out there, and there’s going to be quite a bit of office furniture you’ll need to place down in a way that won’t interrupt your flow of work and the traffic of moving around the office. Sure, it might only be you working in there, but you don’t want to be taking the long way round whenever you need to grab the stapler from the shelf on the other side of the room!

So, how best would you use the space? Are you a stationary worker? Do you like to move around a lot? If you’re the former, a closed space might be best for your style – you’ll have your computer in front of you, the desk drawers filled to the brim with relevant resources, the printer just behind you, and all this equipment will be enclosed off in the layout of a cubicle.

It’ll be a circle you can breathe and work in, and it will help to minimise on distractions as well. Any decoration you want to put up are small and can fit into small spaces: a cactus on top of your monitor, a small calendar sitting next to a Newton’s cradle at the back of you desk etc. It can be quite a cozy way to work.

If you’re the latter, an open and free space would be best for you – you have the room to stretch out in, and you intend to use it! You don’t like working in smaller spaces, seeing as they can get easily over encumbered and filled with trash, and you want to be able to move back and forth in your quest to use the right equipment.

Maybe you’ve even got an ergonomic standing desk, and you need the room to tap your leg as you get on with your work.

An open space will accommodate these needs best – have shelves on the other side of the room, have a wall mounted storage unit that you can pull down whenever you need what’s inside, and you have a clear way in and out of the space, making sure you never feel simply trapped in a cubicle like you used to!

Know Where to Put Your Lights

Lighting is very important to how productive a space feels. If it’s too dark, you’re never going to feel excited or happy about getting down to task within it.

If it’s too light and bright, you’re going to be squinting half the time, and you’ll want to take plenty of breaks away from such a harsh environment. So you need to find the balance, one that includes plenty of natural light, as well as one that that makes sure you can go just that bit longer at work.

Natural light is good for the brain, and it’s going to be the best thing for making sure you’re awake and have the energy to go on for the day – artificial light just can’t beat it!

So you’ll want to have some thin blinds or curtains on the window, and you’ll want to have them open whenever the sun is out and the day is going strong.

At the same time, you’ll want a lamp on your desk, to make sure your eyes are never straining to look at your computer screen, seeing as it’s the only source of illumination in your room.

You don’t want the room around you to feel too cozy, but it still needs to be comfortable at the same time – because of that, try to keep the overhead light off, and use lamps dotted in the corners instead to keep the room balanced with all the light in it.

Hide the Wires Away

One of the worst sites in the modern office is the amount of wires that can be strewn around everywhere.

Not only are they a health hazard, but they’re very unsightly – a huge mess can be made out of tangled wires, and you’ll be hitting yourself for not tidying them away when you trip over them for the second time that week.

If you can’t streamline the wires behind the PC monitor and behind your desk, to make sure they’re all in one place and out of the way, you can always pack them into boxes as well.

These are easy to set up underneath your desk, on a shelf behind the desk, or even just mounted on the ceiling or wall.

Of course, if wires don’t bother you, you’re going to still want them out of the way when you’re rushed off your feet, and to make sure anyone else who lives with you is never tripping on them or disconnecting them when you’re not around!

Ready to Build Your Own Office?

The space around you can get a lot more productive, as long as you work to make it so! This is your chance to make sure your freelance business has a great foundation to build off of, so put some time and effort into your home office design. It’s going to be worth all the payoff!

As always, thanks for reading.

Hannah x

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