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Last modified date

Sep 29, 2022

Be More Intentional—Hacking Your Workspace for Productivity

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Clara Jones

Blog average read time

7 min

Last modified date

September 29, 2022

Remote work has been around longer than you think. A lot longer.

Forget the dawn of the internet—go back to before the Industrial Revolution. The home-based business was the norm. From the blacksmiths to the potters, the bakers to the cobblers—everyone worked out of their homes. Fast-forward to the pandemic, and you could say that we went back in time. Only now, there are different tools to work with.

However, what probably hasn’t changed much is the focus on productivity. No matter what era or industry, productivity is always a key focus. Promoting productivity takes many shapes and forms. But the environment you work in is one of the major factors.

Think about it.

You don’t feel happy, motivated, or inspired if you’re in a tense, bland and cluttered space. In fact, this kind of environment is potentially detrimental to your mental health.

So, it stands to reason that your workspace needs to promote productivity too. With studies showing that the average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day, it’s time to change this trend for the better. Rethinking your workspace is a great place to start.

Creating an intentionally productive workspace is also more important than ever now that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work for good. More than 50% of the US workforce now works remotely—remote work can present various challenges and distractions that you’ll need to overcome to stay productive.

Are you ready to optimize your work environment and supercharge your efficiency? These ten workspace hacks will help you be more intentionally productive.

The Top 10 Workspace Hacks to Boost Your Productivity

Hacking your workspace for productivity can be as simple as de-cluttering and curating your space, choosing the right work tools and ergonomic office equipment, limiting interruptions, and using scientific tips to set yourself up for success!

1. Clear the Clutter

Reducing clutter in your work area maximizes your creativity and efficiency during working hours.

Interestingly, a National Association of Professional Organizers study found cluttered workspaces can cause businesses financial losses equivalent to around 10% of a manager’s average salary. Keeping your workspace clear of clutter and trash for your productivity, motivation levels, and even mental health is imperative.

Research proves that messy desks are distracting, hinder creativity, and slow you down. Plus, they promote time wastage as you search for the things you need amid the clutter. All of this can cause unnecessary stress, hindering your productivity further.

Start decluttering your workspace by throwing away any trash or items you no longer need or use. Store necessary items, such as stationery and folders, in drawers or cabinets rather than keeping them on your desk. Do your filing regularly to keep the paperwork from piling up. Keep a trash bin under your desk to dispose of unneeded items.

2. Curate Your Space

Curating your workspace keeps your work environment cozy and inviting without adding unwanted clutter or stress to your life.

When curating your workspace, it may be helpful to think of decluttering expert KonMari’s legendary quote, “Does this spark joy?”. Almost every item you keep in your workspace should be functional and necessary for your work. Save for a few special items that bring you joy and help you relax and stay focused on the job.

There is undoubtedly room for aesthetically pleasing objects on your work desk, even if they aren’t necessarily helpful in a professional context. Studies have even shown that when you enjoy looking at a space, it releases your productivity potential. However, you want to avoid creating clutter when curating and decorating your space.

Choose a few practical, attractive, or sentimental items for your workspace that make it comfortable and inviting without impeding your ability to work well.

Some research has also indicated that including biophilic design—the addition of green plants and nature-inspired objects—in office environments can lead to better work performance. Try adding a few indoor plants to your workspace to make the most of this effect.

3. Pick the Right Desk

Choosing an ergonomic desk at the correct height can protect you against musculoskeletal injuries and ensures you work comfortably and without strain.

Many people who work at traditional desks experience aches, pains, and muscle tension over time. These symptoms indicate the development of a musculoskeletal disorder.

A suitable desk for you will keep you working comfortably and without pain while offering ample space for your computer and other essential equipment. Look for a desk that is stable, height-adjustable, and large enough for your personal needs.

Additionally, you can invest in ergonomic accessories like monitor arms, document holders, Bluetooth keyboards, and mice to correct your posture and prevent muscular strain.

4. Control Light and Temperature

Working in an environment with plenty of natural light and a comfortably cool temperature keeps you motivated and productive all year round.

If you picture a modern office, you will probably think of an airy, brightly lit space encased in glass and letting in plenty of natural light. Research has shown that people tend to work more efficiently when there’s more natural light present around them.

Open your blinds and windows while working to get natural light and fresh air into your workspace, and use your thermostat to find the perfect temperature. If you don’t have access to natural sunlight where you work, take regular, short breaks from your desk to step outside or recharge in a well-lit area.

5. Use the Right Software

Using the right software streamlines your everyday workload, automates tedious manual tasks, and leaves you with more time for creativity and innovation.

Recent findings from the Upwork Future Workforce Report found that technological issues are the most significant challenge associated with the transition to remote work. It is likely a result of the rapid and unplanned shift towards working online and out of the office.

While technology has posed some challenges since the pandemic struck, it’s also one of our most valuable tools to boost productivity.

Opt for the best project management tools to keep track of your schedule, make to-do lists, collaborate with coworkers in real-time, and much more. A work management solution simplifies your responsibilities, streamlines specific processes, and keeps all the data and documentation in a single location stored on the cloud.

6. Limit Disruptions and Interruptions

Setting firm boundaries limits distractions during work hours and focuses your full attention on tasks to maximize your productivity.

When working from home, disruptions and interruptions are par for the course. It’s tempting to take care of personal tasks and family responsibilities too. However, the immediate satisfaction of completing these personal tasks is seldom worth the long-term costs of neglecting your professional responsibilities. This is why you need to set boundaries with your friends, family members, and loved ones. Urge them to try not to disturb you during work hours unless there is an emergency at hand.

According to the Journal of Consumer Research, the mere urgency effect prompts people to do tasks that aren’t always best. Breaks are undoubtedly important, but tackling personal tasks during work hours causes more distraction than achievement.

The researchers recommend workers separate work from personal tasks and keep their minds focused on each type of task at the most appropriate times. This means finding a quiet space to work and focusing your full attention on it during working hours.

7. Keep a Wins List

Keeping a list of your successes helps to keep you motivated while keeping a clear record of your progress and professional abilities.

Your wins list doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to big work successes. Add every win you think of, however small, to keep yourself motivated to work hard, even when times are tough. You could, for example, add personal wins to your list alongside how many sales you made this month, the paperwork you filed this morning, and the number of clients you have managed to contact so far this week.

8. Make Notes

Taking notes at work helps you keep track of your responsibilities, meet deadlines efficiently, and reduce stress levels.

According to women’s health and wellness writer Krissy Brady, taking notes at work can seriously benefit your productivity and overall performance. She says that note-taking relieves stress by helping you to reduce cluttered thoughts and keep track of everything that you need to do without having to remember it all. Use a simple note-taking app or simply jot things down.

Brady advises that taking notes helps you keep your schedule intact and creates high-quality reference materials that you can refer back to whenever you need to. Plus, it allows you to share notes and information with your co-workers and team members. It also improves the quality of your work by encouraging you to focus on the details and keeps you feeling organized on the job.

9. Opt for Automation

Using automated technologies streamlines or eliminates repetitive and menial tasks, saving you time and boosting productivity.

Automation describes technologies that help to reduce human intervention in processes and streamline them using data and machine learning. It comes in many forms, including computerization, AI, robotics, and mechanization.

A 2017 McKinsey study shows that more than 60% of all occupations have at least 30% technically automatable activities. So, most administrative tasks can be partially or fully automated. This will save you time and free you to tackle more important tasks and responsibilities.

There are plenty of cost-effective automation technologies available today that can automate sending emails and reminders, CRM data entry, prospecting across multiple channels, researching information, drafting presentations and proposals, etc. Automation can help you streamline or even eliminate menial and time-consuming tasks, making you more productive.

Furthermore, automating your tasks may also make you happier. Research shows that 74% of employees in the most automated companies say that automation improves their job satisfaction, compared to 53% of employees in primarily manual companies.

10. Set Yourself Up for Success

One of the best ways to set yourself up for everyday success is to get an early start and tackle big tasks during the morning hours.

Setting yourself up for success may look different from person to person. But there are a few things that you can do to reliably improve your productivity and set yourself up to win every day. One efficient approach is working early to capture your motivation at its peak.

Most successful people employ Eat the Frog method to tackle their most important task early in the morning since that’s when productivity peaks. From that point, productivity decreases throughout the day. Indeed, there are different energy spikes, but most workers complete their high-impact tasks at around 11 am each day.

Starting working as early as possible is a great way to set yourself up for success. However, this doesn’t mean grabbing your laptop and staying in bed—especially if you’re working remotely. Research shows that working in bed is unhygienic, and it seriously affects your productivity.

It’s recommended that you complete your morning routine—drinking coffee, having a shower, going for a walk, and eating a healthy breakfast—before sitting down to work.

Use your productive morning hours to tackle the most challenging tasks you have ahead of you for the day. Or keep track of time and timeblock to get many smaller, more manageable tasks out of the way as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The Takeaway

Designing your workspace with intentionality is a proven way to improve your productivity and motivation at work consistently. This is true even if you work remotely.

Start hacking your workspace for productivity by clearing your desk of clutter, curating the items you keep in your work environment and choosing comfortable and ergonomic office furniture.

Let as much natural light into the room as possible, and use productivity-boosting software and automation tools to simplify your daily tasks.

Keep notes, limit disruptions as much as possible by setting firm boundaries, and keep a list of your recent successes to motivate yourself to achieve great things.

These are just a few of the many science-backed approaches for beginners that you can use to optimize your productivity levels and remain collected and organized on the job.

Clara Jones

Content Writer


Clara Jones is a Dutch-American editor in the field of business processes, business communication and project management. When she has the extra time, she enjoys reading books and doing yoga.

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