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A view of an office desk next to a window with computer, chair, bookcase and freestanding plant.

If you’re wondering how to make your workspace more productive then we have crowdsourced some fantastic ideas which are proven to work.  Whether you work from home or in an office, there are small things you can change to help you get more done in less time.  We also cover ideas from people with medical conditions which means they have to take extra care with their workspace to maximise productivity.

We think everyone should work smarter, not harder, and these simple ideas can really help supercharge your day.

Using a standing desk

According to our Founder and Chief Problem Solver Kelly Goss, standing desks are a winner.

A business woman is standing up, leading a team brainstorming session, writing in a notebook with two male colleagues sitting down next to her and looking at her, smiling.

 

Kelly tries to stand during meetings, and sit only when working on her laptop, or if her legs need a rest.  She usually has a split of 70/30 split of standing/sitting in the day and finds that it works really well for her.  She also has an anti-fatigue mat which she loves.  These are designed to encourage small muscle movements to improve comfort, blood flow and energy.

There are proven health benefits to standing more, but standing for long periods of time may not suit everyone.   This article on Healthline reports the pros and cons for working on your feet, and it’s worth reading if you’re considering making the change to a standing desk.

Keeping your phone out of reach

It sounds so simple but Clair Sturzaker always keeps her phone just out of reach to stop her from picking it up all of the time.  Clair, from Digital Nomad Cities, also has a portable laptop stand and bluetooth mouse and keyboard, which she finds much more comfortable than just using a laptop.

Use old-fashioned methods to stay productive

Mirela Latailleur from The Travel Bunny  uses a blackboard calendar and to-do list with colour-coded tasks and events that she updates and changes as necessary.

Mirela is pleased that using blackboards is more eco-friendly than printing planners on paper and also finds it’s faster to check them compared with electronic planners or trackers.

A happy worker is a productive worker

When thinking about how to set up her workspace to be more productive, Francesca Baker doesn’t think it needs to be clear and sparse.

Francesca, from marketing consultancy And So She Thinks surrounds herself with photos in her office because when she’s happier she’s better at her job.   The photos remind her that she wants to have a full and rounded life, and work is part of it.

Using natural lighting and room temperature for optimum productivity

Justin Fox’s biggest tip is to consider the temperature where you are working, with the optimal working temperature being between 20-25 degrees.  Justin, from Courses Online, also recommends as much natural light as possible as too much artificial lighting can lead to headaches and eye strain.

An office desk next to a window with laptop computer, notebooks, glasses, calculator and tablet.

 

Charu Goyal also recommends natural light and a tidy desk.  For Charu’s physical workspace she keeps her desk near a natural light source to try to get the most of her work during daylight.  Charu is a travel blogger at Travel With CG and tries to keep only work-related documents around her desk to make sure she doesn’t get distracted easily with other things.

Mary Charie also sets up her table near a window, so she can take a break from staring at her computer screen to look at trees, roofs, or even street signs.  She also recommends using an ergonomic office chair as a comfortable worker will be a productive worker.  It’s vital that your office chair be set up correctly, and this excellent guide from Posture People explains exactly how it should be configured.

Ali Richards from Summerley Digital also loves natural light but recommends suitable window coverings that can be easily adjusted to restrict glare and direct sunlight on screens.   Ali has adjustable venetian blinds in her office which are perfect for when the sun moves around the room during the day.

Keeping your workspace tidy and organised

Jeni Machon shared a few top tips with us, all aiming to cultivate a more productive workspace to become more effectively organised.  She uses separate to-do lists for work, home, children and groceries.  Keeping her planner organised is also key, and she uses time blocking and to-do lists to ensure she keeps on top of tasks.

Jeni sells a subscription service for planners and stationery via Blue Raspberry BoxShe has a set space for desk items, with post-it notes in one corner and notebooks-in-use in another.  She loves keeping her space happy with fun pen pots and desk accessories.  She believes that having nice things around you makes it more likely you’ll keep your space tidy.  Jeni also takes 5-10 minutes to tidy up her workspace at least once a week.

Using a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamp

Isabelle Hoyne runs the Cultured Voyages website and for the last few years has had a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamp beside her desk.  She says it makes all the difference in terms of maintaining energy levels, motivation and general mood during the darker times of the year, or when she doesn’t get to go outside too much.

We think this is a great tip if your workspace doesn’t have much natural light, particularly during the winter months.

Using a laptop stand

Lisa McLachlan’s favourite item from her work from home survival kit is an extendable aluminium stand that raises your laptop screen to perfect eye level and your keyboard to a more comfortable typing level.

A laptop on a riser stand.

 Since Lisa started using one, her neck ache has completely disappeared.   It’s very portable too, as it folds down, so you can take it with you to the office or wherever you choose to work – which is so useful.

With so many people working from a laptop we would recommend ensuring the screen is at head height to avoid back strain.  This is also important for monitors which should be raised if needed, even if you just use a pile of books or packages of printer paper (two reams is usually perfect!)

Productivity tips for those managing chronic pain or fatigue

Freelance writer and social media manager Jo Jackson knows that being productive when you have a chronic illness or pain condition requires a bit more thought.

Jo experiences chronic coccyx pain and is extremely limited with when she can work.  The same will apply to anyone experiencing ongoing pain or fatigue.  To maximise productivity from your work period, Jo advises ensuring everything you need is with you, including a timer if you have to pace yourself.  It’s easy to get carried away with a task but working longer than planned can have a severely detrimental effect on your health.

Make sure that you have the full instructions for your work task, and try to address any queries before you start working.  You will also need to make sure you have no distractions that will eat into your precious work time so, if possible, set aside a separate workspace away from others if you are working from home.

Jo’s blog, Tea And Cake For The Soul also offers advice for workplace ideas to reduce coccyx pain.

Productivity for those with ADHD

Charlotte Millington runs The London Local blog and organises her workspace in a very specific way as she has ADHD.  She uses dual screens as it prevents her from having too many tabs open, to reduce distraction.  Charlotte also uses the ‘Background Sounds’ feature on her iPhone to play white noise which helps to block out everything else.  This is a feature available on all new iPhones and can be found under the Accessibility and Audio/Visual option in Settings.

Charlotte also has a bottle of water directly in front of her to make sure she stays hydrated.  If she gets thirsty, she doesn’t want to have to get up from her desk and break her workflow.

A simple but effective productivity hack

Allison Banfield is a massive fan of double computer screens.  Using two screens means that you can use both at the same time and drag information from one to the other using your mouse.  There are so many occasions where you need to look at one window whilst working in another, so having two monitors means that you can see both at once.

An office desk with two computer monitors along with keyboard, notebook and desk ornament.

It’s really easy to set up two screens and this article on howtogeek.com explains how to hook them up as well as the different options that Windows has for using them.

Tips for managing different roles

Helen Costello juggles two roles and separates her physical documents to avoid overwhelm.  She keeps her blogging information completely separate from her day job information to prevent overload.  She also employs separate paper diaries for each role which stops the to-do list appearing too big.  The day job is to the right of the desk, blog info to the left.  It completely works for Helen and stops her from being distracted.  Helen writes for travel, family and lifestyle blog Two Adults Three Children.

Other ways to be more productive

As automation experts, we recommend taking productivity to the next level using no-code automation tools like Zapier.  We have a really useful article about how to get started with Automation and our free Introduction To Zapier e-book explains the benefits of business process automation.

We also have a free cheat sheet with a checklist of Zapier’s inbuilt function which can supercharge your automation.  

Where can I find out more?

Our free articles are great for finding out how to get started with automation, but if you really want to dig deeper then Kelly’s book, Automate It with Zapier, is available on Amazon.  It takes you through everything step-by-step and includes some ready-made templates for various examples so you can get started really quickly.

 

The book is perfect for new Zapier users as well as seasoned pros. Here are links to Amazon (.co.uk) and Amazon (.com) to get yours now.

Check out our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too! 

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

 

Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

 

 

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