One thing is true when you kiss the 9-5 goodbye and set out on your own as a freelancer: You find ways to work anywhere.
Screaming kids? Noisy traffic? Crowded kitchen table? No problem.
That’s the beauty of mastering digital nomad life, and those who are dedicated enough to commit to it. If you have WiFi and a cup of coffee, you can set up shop and bust out a project on deadline.
Still, there’s something about a well-designed workspace that practically beckons you to sit down and make major progress on your next assignment.
Smooth surfaces, good lighting, and other things elements can make subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences in the way you work. Conversely, a workspace that isn’t aligned with your needs can have a negative impact!
Wouldn’t it be nice to make your workspace more inspiring? Today we’ll show you how to design a workspace that really cheers you on.
Clean your ****ing desk!
As savvy lifestyle icon Martha Stewart once said, “life is too complicated not to be orderly.”
We’ve all seen clickbait articles that try to polarize opinions and present information for shock value, right?
I’ve seen this kind of post encouraging people who don’t want to clean their workspace. The articles claim that a messy desk is the sign of a brilliant mind.
It might sound tempting to leave candy wrappers, empty coffee cups, and other junk on your desk after reading one of those articles, but do they really hold water?
I can only speak from experience, but trendy new research isn’t swaying my opinion of clutter’s (not-so-hot) relationship with productivity. Physical clutter creates mental clutter and impedes you from getting through your to-do list efficiently. At least, that’s definitely how it works for me.
A clean desk allows me to work longer hours, access more creative parts of my brain, and embody my most productive self.
Don’t believe me?
Bust out the Clorox wipes, sort through those papers, and start your work day with a clean slate. Report back and let me know how you feel.
Bask in the color of productivity
When you google “the most productive color”, several websites quickly claim that a tranquil shade of blue is the color of choice.
If you care to dive a little deeper, however, you can uncover a custom productivity color that’s just right for you… and then you can put it everywhere!
Grab a cup of coffee and read about the different ways color impacts the mind.
It turns out accountants and technical thinkers could benefit more from blue, while creatives (including writers) might work well in the midst of yellows.
Those who need peace of mind to get through their workload should opt for green.
A splash of orange or pink can add some emotional inspiration to the mix.
Depending on your personality and work style, you might want a few of these colors in your workspace.
In our opinion, a clean white wall with a splash of the color you react most strongly to is the perfect formula—but this is one thing you should experiment with until it feels right.
Good vibes only
This isn’t just a cliche phrase you see all over Instagram.
As you may have guessed by now, this workspace breakdown has a lot to do with “tricking” the mind into optimal work mode—and positive energy can definitely help.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a terrible mood, I don’t get much done.
Actually, I had this experience lately. Aside from a cluttered desk, I was also feeling down about some personal stuff. It wasn’t until I actively payed attention to how I was feeling and picked my chin up that I was able to meet that week’s deadlines.
Keeping positive vibes around your workspace can really help with focus and efficiency.
If you need some ideas, think about putting a photo of someone you love (or a pet!), a souvenir from a recent trip, or a reminder of something you’re looking forward to.
In another scenario, I hung up vintage travel posters for destinations I was saving up for, and it inspired me to book the tickets even faster.
You could also play some upbeat music that puts you in a good headspace!
That, in fact, is a good segway into our next tip…
Get the tech you need
Stay with me on this one.
I’m not suggesting that everyone has the money to afford an expensive computer setup or next-level tech, but if you know certain things help you become more productive, it’s worth investigating ways to upgrade them.
Per my example above, if you know music helps you work, don’t let it screech forth from metallic-sounding laptop speakers.
Set up surround sound or get an awesome pair of noise-canceling headphones so you can enjoy music while you work.
If your projects call for printed transcripts or other steps that you need special equipment for, ease your stress and streamline your process by investing in a great printer.
When I was in fashion school, I was constantly freaking out at the last minute when something was due because I needed each project to be specially printed.
What if, instead of throwing my money at Kinkos each week, I had just invested in a dope color printer that met my exact needs?
I could have saved myself a lot of stress.
What can you invest in to smooth out your workflow, so you can focus on staying inspired?
Soak in natural light
One of the things I couldn’t stand about my one and only day job was how far away I sat from a window.
I would linger in the conference room near the huge full-wall windows or in the kitchen where I could see layers and layers of the NYC skyline before slumping back in my chair, surrounded by a white brick wall and another row of desks.
It wasn’t as bad as some offices (I’ve freelanced in far worse!) but it wasn’t ideal to spend so much time away from any view of the outside world each day.
Put your desk near a window, if it’s not there already.
Within an hour, you’ll notice the difference in your productivity.
Unless you’re a vampire.
If you’re a vampire, feel free to stay in the shadows.
Make it your own
At the end of the day, it’s all about you and your habits.
It takes a while to get to know yourself as a writer, especially if you’re accustomed to the 9-5 grind and sitting in a corporate environment for most of the week.
You now officially have the power to create your own atmosphere. There are no wrong answers if they work for you!
If you can sit down and get a serious amount of writing accomplished each day, your workspace design is a success.
When you find something that keeps you inspired, stick to it.
What is your writing workspace like? Join the conversation at the Wi-Fi Writers Club!
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