It’s time for the second post in my productivity series! (Catch up on #1 here).
Any advice I give here is based on my personal experience and learning. I often receive emails asking for help with organisation, which is mostly what prompted this series. I’d like these posts to be a conversation between us all. I want you to ask questions and to share tips and tricks in the comments to. Up for it? Ok!
Today I will be sharing advice on working environments. It is mainly focused on small business working, but you could certainly apply this to a writing or craft space too.
The Home Office (not the place for immigration, but that desk space you set up)
I am lucky to have a good space in which to work. Our spare room was previously a dumping ground and rarely got used for visitors. So I transformed it into a productive studio space! Here are my tips for a maintaining a functional workspace:
- Keep regularly used items such as favourite pens or craft tools close by and easily accessible. My pegboard is brilliant for this.
- Arrange the room so your desk or working area isn’t in direct sunlight. You don’t want to be answering emails whilst squinting into the sunshine. Also source a good lamp for darker days.
- Have a comfortable chair. If I am having a blog writing session I want to be able to sit there for a while without discomfort. Cushions and blankets feature!
- Remove distractions when working. No Netflix and no phone notifications telling you someone has retweeted you. Add a do not disturb sign if necessary.
- Keep it tidy. I have a box which I use to collect any stray items together which need returning to their storage spots. I’m either hugely tidy or a massive slob. (See the first image of this post for proof).
- Make it inspiring. Pretty up the space. Add motivational quotes to the walls, get a cute desk phone. Whatever makes you want to spend time in that space.
Even if you only have a small corner of your dining room to use, you can consider some of these points to help your productivity.
The Cafe Space (may include treats)
On occasion, I schedule a working session away from home, usually in a local cafe. For me these sessions are likely to be joint working with friends such as Lucinda or Kate who are also running small businesses.
We share ideas and plan for the months ahead. Or maybe tackle some admin on the laptop. Solo working can often be difficult, so having someone to discuss things with is always positive for gaining a new perspective.
PLUS, WE HAVE BRUNCH OR CAKE. OR BOTH. Full belly = motivation.
There are downsides to this working environment. For example, you can’t block out the noise of the coffee machine, or you may be interrupted by a friend you haven’t seen for a while (this happens often in Cambridge – it’s so small). Distractions will be out of your control, so you must be aware of this. You may also want to scope out plug sockets/WiFi availability beforehand.
On the go (ain’t nobody got time for that)
In my commuting days, I used to be super productive on the train. I would do my knitting and study for my Masters. Now, I have a 7 minute cycle to my day job. I use that time to escape all work for a brief moment, to enjoy the outdoors and to wake up my body. I think this is productive for my well being.
So my ‘on the go’ has changed. I now have small tasks which can be done whilst waiting in line at the post office (uploading to social media, sending shipping notifications/quick emails). If I am walking somewhere, I make a phone call to catch up with family. Multi-tasking is my on the go focus.
You might find that you can listen to a Podcast whilst at the gym (here is my favourite) or that you can crochet in the car as a passenger (not for me as I get travel sick). Being on the go is not always a dedicated time for working (sometimes it is nice just to enjoy your journey!), but you may find you can accomplish some micro tasks on the bus or whilst you are waiting for the dinner to heat up. (I use my slow cooker tons to free up my evening time, but more on that in another post).
Hot Desking / Shared Studios (cos some people like company)
You may find that you have one day a week on which to work, or perhaps an afternoon when the kids are at nursery. Why not try a hot desking / co-working experience? In my city, we are lucky enough to have Cambridge Business Lounge where you can hire a desk space for a reasonable hourly rate. Often such places will have facilities for computing, WiFi and coffee making. Plus you get to see other people and to network.
Cambridge also has some amazing working spaces for creatives, including places where you can utilise shared (expensive) equipment such as laser cutters. Makespace is a great example of a skill sharing/project based work set up and encourages collective working for a membership fee. Maybe there is something like this in your city or town?
Paying for space is bound to increase your productivity!
Where do you usually work? Are you a TV watching crocheter? Maybe you write your blog posts at the dining room table? Or are you one of those weird people that reads a book whilst walking along?!!
Do share your thoughts in the comments below!