1. Add an extra screen.
It may look absurd, but more screen space can shave some serious time off your day. Rather than toggle between different windows, tabs, and applications, more screens means being able keep everything open and accessible all the time.
2. Surround yourself with things that make you happy.
Spoiler alert: happier people do better work. To keep your mood up, it’s recommended that you keep photos of friends, family, or pets on display. You may also want to consider adding a small plant or two, as they’ve been shown to increase productivity in the entire office by up to 15%.
3. Sunlight is your friend.
Do what you can to get a desk near a window, since exposure to sunlight has been proven to make you more productive. If you can’t swing that, switch your screensaver and desktop background to a scene of nature—exposure to them has also been shown to increase health and productivity.
4. Go offline.
Cutting the cord to the web may sound drastic but it’s a fool-proof way to double down on whatever task you need to finish. Put your phone in Airplane mode and turn off your laptop’s WiFi. If you’re just looking to put an end to the distracting ping of new emails, consider installing the wonderfully liberating Inbox Pause plug-in.
5. Clean up!
Sure, some creative geniuses live behind a train wreck of a desk and turn out some of their finest work. Until you become one of them, clean it up. An organized workspace has not only been shown to motivate people, but a cluttered one often undermines productivity.
6. Kill the noise.
As much as the open office may improve team communication, when you really need to focus it’s good to have a pair of quality noise-canceling headphones. Pro-tip: listen to ambient sounds as they’ve been shown to significantly help keep you on track.
7. Get off your ass
If you haven’t made the leap to the standing desk quite yet (or even if you have), get up at least once an hour to grab a glass or water or take a lap around the office. Not only is it important for your physical health, but it can help you come back with fresh eyes to whatever project you’re working on.
8. Abide by the 2-minute rule
If something interrupts what you’re doing in the moment but can be addressed in under two minutes (responding to an email, confirming an appointment, etc.) do it immediately. Letting those little tasks stack up can royally mess up your schedule later on.
9. Taking breaks to look at things you like.
Studies have shown that taking little breaks to look at photos of cute animals can boost productivity.
10. Get some colour.
Don’t let the bland beiges of your cube kill your soul. Surround yourself with colorful accents (or even sheets of paper) to help you do your best work. Green has been shown to make you more creative, while yellow helps you concentrate (it subconsciously tells your brain to decrease production of melatonin).
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