Here’s how to organise your workspace to become more productive
By Abbey Warne
Productivity and achieving your goals go hand-in-hand. In fact, they all seem to evolve around a positive mindset. That’s what the process of manifestation revolves around – and whether you believe in the concept or not, it seems conceivable that being able to visualise an end goal will make you more likely to work towards it.
Something that also seems to motivate people is having a clear workspace on both their desk and computer. Becoming Minimalist is one of a number of websites that covers the benefits of having a clear desk or desktop – and as well as meaning there are fewer distractions around you when you need to knuckle down, decluttering brings plenty of freedom to your workspace too.
ACHIEVING A PRODUCTIVE DIGITAL SPACE…
Your desktop is probably the most important thing to tackle. If you’re constantly working on your laptop, then you will likely find it can get cluttered easily. A simple way to clear your desktop is to buy an external hard drive to save everything you could ever need on. That way, you won’t have to search for ages for that one pesky file.
There are loads of handy organisational tools readily available on your laptop too, like your calendar, or the Stickies feature on a Mac (basically, virtual post-it notes). And there’s something similar on Windows too. These will not only help you minimise paper use – leading to less physical clutter around you – but will also help you keep track of the things you really need to do, and access them much easier.
Other apps which can help enhance your productivity and organisation during the work day are less direct – not no less effective. A prime example is Forest. Designed to help you concentrate on the task in hand with a little visual motivation, Forest is the grown up, digital equivalent of a sticker chart – the longer you’re focused on your work, the more your virtual trees will grow. So that, pretty soon (if you’re diligent enough), you’ll soon have your very own Forest!
Another fantastic tool is Pocket, which helps you keep track of aaaall the useful info you find online. Save articles, videos and stories from any publication, page or app and curate your own space filled with everything you can’t wait to learn or remember. An ideal alternative to bookmarks or Pinterest.
And we’re going to leave you with Evernote which, if you fancy a change from the notes app, might be perfect. Evernote allows you to type up and organise everything you need to remember, whether that be for work or play. Whether it’s to-do lists or travel itineraries, you can make your notes more useful by adding images, audios, scans, PDFs and documents, and the app has powerful search capabilities so you’re always going to be able to find that one note fast.
ACHIEVING A PRODUCTIVE PHYSICAL SPACE
If, like us, you spend a lot of time at your desk, typing away and calling clients on Zoom, you’re probably going to want to keep it tidy to help yourself stay sane – and professional.
But we can’t deny that sometimes it’s great to have things written down in front of you. Take your daily to-do list: a handy block of post-its always come in handy for this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go for the bog-standard cardboard-yellow variety from the office store cupboard. Sustainability comes into play as much as aesthetics, too – you’re way more likely to stay on task if you’re not worried about how many trees you’ve helped sacrifice just getting all your ducks in a row. With both of those in mind, we’d recommend checking out Pith – a small business based in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, who sell beautiful and super-sustainable notebooks. You’ll even get your very own desk meadow to plant with your first order!
While we’re talking about paper, it would be negligent for us to forget about pens. We all collect more and more pens and highlighters over time (we don’t know where they come from, we don’t know where they go), and there’s nothing worse than having them all strewn carelessly over our desks as though some stationary bomb has just dropped. Our advice? Simple, really: invest in a pen pot. Or make like us HLNers and make your own – we popped down to Jesmond’s The Pottery Experience and did ourselves a little throwing. The result? Some gorgeous boob pots which handily hold all of our pens. Plus, we had a really fun day out and indulged in a little mindfulness.
Another pro-minimalist tip? Make sure you have a decent light to brighten up your desk, even if it’s small. Perfect for those dull days (and brightening your features up over Zoom), if you go bold or super-stylish, a light can also add that aesthetic focal point to your workspace, which can’t help but instil some positive vibes.
Speaking of positive vibes, adding that little extra something special can really help keep your chin up at work. A little personality reminds you of you – and reminds you of why you’re working so hard. Photographs are the best shout for this, giving you that instant reminder of the friends, family and places you can get back to once that next deadline is met. We’re also real suckers for small plants and succulents, although anything a little quirky and colourful seems to work wonders.
Investing in a basket or desk organiser is a great way of keeping all your stationery, notebooks and miscellaneous desk paraphernalia all in one place. There are loads out there to choose from, and it could doing up as your little something special if you opt for a fancy design. Could be time to get organising that long-awaited IKEA trip with your mates.
Fancy doing a little manifestation of your future goals? It’s important you have something tangible to work toward first. And this is where visual aids – aka, more photographs – help. Whatever your ambition may be – whether you have dreams of getting onto the property ladder or you plan on moving to a different city, there’s a holiday you’re saving up for or a night out you can’t wait for – if you can see it right there in front of you, then you’re more likely to work harder to reach it.