I am writing this post sitting at my home office. Most freelancers work from their home office. Let me tell you that ambience of your workspace plays a very vital role in crafting a superb piece of content. I am telling you this from my experience. So let me go ahead and describe my workspace to you.
I am working on my desktop computer which has a 27 inch LED display. A soft instrumental piece of saxophone played by the maestro Kenny G is playing in my media player. The speakers attached to my desktop computer are Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 which are pretty decent. It is only yesterday that I organized my workspace and it is looking neat and tidy now. I have bought myself a cord organizer from amazon which I used to organize my workspace.
Then I have this beautiful Paddywax Fragrance Diffuser Set (again bought from amazon) giving out a beautiful and intoxicating fragrance. My air conditioner is set to a balmy 24 deg C or 75deg F which is neither warm not very cold. Sunlight is coming into my room through the glass panes of my window and it is a beautiful sunny day. To me this is my perfect workspace. Now do you think that there is any reason why this workspace will not get the best out of me?
So now let me share a few things which I learned through experience. These tips will help you redesign your workspace and get the best productivity out of you.
1. Your freelancing workstation
The most important equipment in the life of a freelancer is his or her PC or MAC which gets the projects done. Invest in a good quality computer. Fast and smoothly running workstation with good quality hardware is absolutely essential. You have to be intelligent in selecting your hardware. If your hardware is responsive you will save a lot of time while waiting for a task to complete or programs to load.
Organize your files and folders properly so that they are easy to find. Order them chronologically or categorically. Keep your desktop uncluttered and clean. Remove all the shortcuts that you have not used in the past 5 months or so. Make it a habit to clean your desktop on a particular date every month. This will help you focus and concentrate on core jobs.
2. Arrange the wires
Wires are the necessary evils. You have to bear with them. Though some wires can be got rid of, there are many that has to be there like the power cables. Technology has advanced a lot but we still cannot transmit power wirelessly. Your first aim should be to minimize wires. Go for a wireless keyboard and mouse set. Next go for a Bluetooth headset. That will take care of a lot of clutter. For wires you cannot avoid like power cords or monitor data cables you have to organize them by arranging them and clamping them together. I use the Command Cord Organizer Pack from amazon for this purpose. After clamping them together hide them behind your desk as much as possible. This will give your workspace a clean and organized look.
3. Clean and organize your desk
Cleaning up the clutter is really vital and this exercise has to be repeatedly done every month or two. Identify the items on your desktop which you have not used for three months or so. Most likely you will not need them in the next 6 months as well. Get a storage space to store them away or throw them away if they are not important at all. Things like telephone bills, credit card statements, bank statements that come through snail mail tends to clutter our workspaces. File them up every month so that they are stored away safely. Don’t throw them away as a whole since your accountant might ask for it while preparing the tax return for the next financial year.
4. Ambient lighting
Light is the next most important thing. Use natural light as much as possible during the day. Natural light is the best for reducing eyestrain. Eyestrain is the biggest cause of computer related health issues. While using natural light take care that the source of light does not hit your monitor from the back of your head. This will produce an unnecessary glare that will cause eyestrain. If natural light is not adequate use an LED tube or LED light bulb to complement the ambient light. During the night when natural light is totally absent, use LED bulbs or tubes as well. They have a colour temperature which mimics natural light. LED bulbs and tubes also save a lot of energy and hence will reduce your energy bills. Use another table lamp to focus on your keyboard. This will act as a focal point and help you to concentrate.
5. Plants and Pets
These little oxygen emitting life forms will liven up your workspace. They will add an extra dimension of life and charm to your workspace. Plants have a strange effect on human beings. Plants make you feel good and not only increase your productivity but also add to the aesthetics of your workspace. Pets are very affectionate. You feel good by cuddling them and holding them. You also feel good when they pucker up beside your feet on the floor while you work.
6. Music helps
As I have mentioned before I have a pair of Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 speakers attached to my computer, I like to use them often. I like to listen to soft instrumental music while I write. Music helps me concentrate and gives me inspiration to write quality content. I have different kinds of playlists prepared for different parts of the day and for specific works. You could try out good music while working as well. It might improve your productivity and creativity and help you work for longer hours without getting tired.
7. Get a covered and elegant trash can
If you have ordered pizza and drinking a starbucks coffee which you bought from the nearby starbucks store then chances are they the used coffee cup and the empty pizza packet will lie on your desk even after you have finished eating the pizza and drinking the coffee. When you are in the middle of something you will not like to get up and throw the wastes into the trash can. So a covered and elegant looking trash can beside your working desk will solve this problem. Now your desk will be clean and uncluttered. But make it a point to clear out your trash can every day before you begin work.
8. Get some wall décor and a whiteboard
A good piece of art is always a thing of beauty. If you have a beautiful piece of painting or handicraft handing form the wall then looking at it sometime will help a lot at times. It will help you in your thought process. A whiteboard on the other hand will help you jot down ideas when you are just loitering around in the house. It sometimes work better than pen and paper. This is because when you sit down to write, you can look straight up to the whiteboard in front of you and elaborate on those ideas. You can also use posters with inspirational quotes, a vase of fresh flowers, an awesome artwork etc. to enhance your productivity and make your workspace look more lively, appealing and enticing.
9. Get a neutral paint for your room
Colours have great effect on human minds. It reflects your personality as well. So you have to be careful while selecting the colour of your room. When you paint your room take into consideration the kind of furniture you have in your room. The wall paint should complement it. Going for a neutral colour is a safe bet. They are easier to maintain and they do not put a lot of strain on your eyes. Hence you do not grow tired and can work longer. Avoid very dark and intense colours since it will make your room look smaller. Dark colours also absorb a lot of light so your room will look dark at night.
10. Good coffee and a beautiful coffee mug
Freelancers cannot do without one thing – yes you are absolutely right its coffee. Coffee kick starts your day and puts you into work mode from rest mode. So whether you are a coffee addict or a casual consumer I suggest you to get very good quality coffee. I would consider it as a performance enhancer and would not compromise on the quality of coffee. The amount we spend at starbucks for one coffee will get us many mugs of good quality coffee at home. I have met many freelancers and work from home professionals who are fascinated about their coffee mugs. They consider it as a novelty item and are very possessive about their coffee mugs. They go on and change their mugs every few months so that they do not get bored. Funny as it sounds but they do actually draw inspiration from their coffee mug designs.
11. Remove distractions from your PC or MAC
The cost of storage has come down considerably and so has bandwidth cost. Freelancers often have a large number of downloaded content on their hard drives. This is often the cause for distraction. I often used to think that watching a movie to break the monotony for sometime is not a bad idea. But once you start to watch a movie you will find that you cannot stop until it ends. Some people also keep a TV in their home office. I personally find this very distracting. You can keep a TV on the next room and go watch it whenever you need to.
Hence I would advise you to remove all movies and distracting items from your hard drive. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
12. Get out at times
However lively and interesting your workspace might be you will get tired anyway. Concentrating for long hours on any work is bound to take a toll and you are bound to feel tired and exhausted at times. It really helps to get out ten. If you have a laptop you could carry it to the local park and try to get some work done there. Or you could visit the local coffee shop and try to work there for sometime as well. Changing the work environment really helps at times. You could also visit the gym and do some workout for an hour or so. This will certainly pep you up.
13. Some healthy snack
Another matter of fact is that your stomach has a direct route to your brain. While working, you are bound to feel hungry at times. You also might not have the time to prepare a full course meal during the course of your work. So keep some healthy snack near your workspace. May I suggest some dry fruits and nuts? They are a good source of energy and vitamins. Sometimes you might even pamper yourself with a creamy chocolate cake and a coke. Moreover they do not need to be cooked.
Last but not the least every freelancer working from home should aim to make his or her workspace as ergonomic as possible to reduce pain and stress. Hence I have discussed ergonomics for freelancers at length in separate articles. Every equipment has to be ergonomic. The keyboard, the desk, the chair – absolutely everything! Read about ergonomics and how they eliminate computer related health risks here.
So that is all for now. I would like to hear from you about how you have spruced up your workspace to increase productivity. Please use the comments section below to post your views.
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