Procrastination is too easy and obviously, very detrimental to productivity, so creating a workspace that stimulates efficiency is a significant move. If you work remotely, at home, or have the liberty to customize your workspace, these tips just might help you work harder and smarter. Based on personal experience and some research, there are quite a few ways to promote productivity (and fight procrastination) through your working environment. Two basic elements of a work-friendly environment are sensory satisfaction and positive reinforcement.
Satisfy Your Senses
What surrounds your faculties can affect what you do, how much you do, and how well you do it. When creating your workspace, consider the five senses.
- Sight: I have noticed that certain types of lighting make me more or less productive. Natural lighting is the best so if that’s an option, definitely set up shop near a window. If not, or if you will also be working at night, pick lighting that you work well in and that fully illuminates your workspace. Colors for your workspace (whether it be the walls, your desk, etc.) are very critical since different ones can solicit different moods. According to a study done by the University of Texas at Austin, they found that a variety of colors tend to enhance different types of productivity and impact performance uniquely. A couple of examples include that gray can be bland and drain your energy, blue is calming and good for creativity, and red is great for detailed work. Green plant life can be a very good stimulant that is calming, but also augments productivity levels— it just is refreshing.
- Smell: A neutral or natural environment is fine, but if you’re one that is particular about aromas or open to trying scent stimulation, this is important. Options that can alter workspace odor include air freshener sprays, solids, candles, etc. There are many options for scents that may make your space more enjoyable and thus more work- friendly and productive. Chamomile is well known for being relaxing.
- Hearing: Silence or a quiet environment is good for concentration thus it could be ideal for a workspace, especially if your work demands astute attention. However, if you do not like library standard noise levels to work in and usually has to produce/ create as a part of your duties, sound may be a good stimulant. Again, there are many options for each individual— just don’t spend collective hours browsing online for the “right song” when you’re supposed to be working.
- Taste: This sense is a bit harder to factor in as a constant one vital to workspace productivity, but it is important to satisfy it or be prepared to do so. Hunger or cravings can be so distracting— think back to how many times you’ve counted down to lunch time break— so it is an essential sense to consider. If possible, have light snacks available and make time for meals if you’re working on your own schedule.
- Touch: Although, it may sound strange. Touch is a constant faculty employed while you work. The contact you make with a keyboard, as you sit on a chair, OR if you think you can get away with working in bed— is critical. It is important to be comfortable, but not TOO comfortable to the point that you slack off or even just nap. Find the right chair, keyboard cover and more to improve your work environment.
Positive Reinforcements (ie. Reminders)
It is easy to get off track, but reminders are good ways to prevent this from happening— whether they be literal to- do lists or just pieces meant to encourage you to work.
- Literal Reminders: Being organized and aware are preventive measures against procrastination and creating visuals of this can be extremely useful. Having an objective list nearby or a calendar and a clock can prompt you to work by realizing that you have to.
- Motivation/ Inspiration: Personally, I find it encouraging to have sources of motivation and inspiration around that make me want to work, or at least, understand why it is worth it. Some examples of this are a framed diploma, a photo of your family, or a trinket of the landmark you’re saving up to see… An even better image to support this idea: think back to that collage Homer Simpson has in the nuclear plant that reads : DO IT FOR HER (although the actual message is far more morbid).
Procrastination versus productivity is an ongoing struggle, but there are several adjustments and personalizations to a workspace that can curb the battle. There are just two basic points to creating an environment for efficiency: stimulate your senses and create moving reminders.
Let Prosky and I know if you employ any of these tactics in your work environment and if they really do improve your experience! Follow up on my blog in July to see these principles in action in my very own workspace.
J. (@CollegeLifeG4G) is currently a junior/ third year at the University of California Berkeley. She currently lives in Berkeley, but Southern California will always be home to her. As a millennial in early adulthood and advocate for education (equity and attainment), she writes about different facets of life to help other college students maneuver through their own experience.
Check our her website here!