A Tidy Desk Can Increase Your Attention Span by 167%
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, a messy home office workplace undermines your persistence to stay on task. Their study supported this claim when they found that participants with tidy workspaces stayed with their assignments 167% longer than those in messier office workspaces.
So, while it can be comforting to relax in your mess of bamboo plants, piles of paper, action figures, or whatever mess your desktop clutter takes, it can be a real obstacle when you try to do something.
Fortunately, according to the researchers, solving the messy-environment problem is relatively easy. We just need to become more aware of the value of an ordered environment and create a home office we actually want to work in.
Here are 10 great tips to create the ultimate home office: one that makes you productive and happy, too.
1-Upholstered dining room chairs may look amazing in the home offices shown in design magazines, but they won’t support your back. Splurge on a chair that makes you want to stay put for hours. It sounds obvious, but you should love the chair you’re sitting on. Otherwise you will never sit at your desk.
2-Tiny vintage desks won’t accommodate your project files, which means that you’re going to have desktop clutter. Plan for a desk that will allow you adequate storage. Also consider the height of your desk, your computer screen should be at eye level or a little below. Position your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Modern offices have lots of cords. Run a power strip behind your desk and plug everything into that.
3-Filing cabinets aren’t the most attractive pieces of furniture, but you do need a place to put papers you use frequently. Or, you might consider a credenza for extra storage.
4-If you need bookcases, get nice ones—big enough that you don’t need to overstuff them. If you have a closet in your home office, consider tricking out that closet with a shelving system, so you minimize the need for storage in the main office area.
5-Your desk is for active work, but you probably need a place to think or read, too. If you have the room, consider adding a nice comfy chair for curling up—potentially with an ottoman for your feet—plus a table for your coffee and a great lamp. Add a luxurious throw and a colorful pillow and you’ll have a great place to take thinking breaks.
6-When putting a new desk into a home office, try to move your desk close to your windows, if you can, place it parallel to the panes. This ideal set-up gives you the happiness benefits of natural light, and a good reason to turn away from your computer every few minutes to take in the scene.
7-Even with great natural light, you’ll still need additional lighting for darker hours of the day. Most overhead house lighting is inadequate for work. Try a few table lamps, which offer a nice soft glow.
8-Add greenery. Plants make people happier. It’s like bringing what’s outside your window into your space.
9-Putting photos of family on your desk or nearby is great, as well as mementos of success, cartoons that make you laugh, even a scent that makes you happy.
10-Keep all your office supplies—pens, scissors, stapler, stamps—well stocked and handy. You don’t want to spend valuable time looking for supplies when you need them.