Spruce up the home office

A standing desk, potted plants and a to-do list. There’s a lot you can do to structure your workspace, says Teja Lele Desai

The pandemic has made working from home the norm, for the near future at least. However, it isn’t easy to get used to with the many distractions that pop up throughout the day.

With working smarter being the new mantra, it’s imperative to ensure that you work at a desk that maximises your productivity. After all, you’re there nine hours a day, 45 hours a week so shouldn’t you get more done faster?

Place the desk right

If your desk doesn’t get ample light, it’s sure to hamper your productivity potential. Try setting your desk by a window; if not possible, get a lamp.

Declutter and organise

A messy desk may be symbolic of a creative bent of mind but there’s nothing like organisation if you want to get things done. Declutter and purge regularly to ensure that the desk gives you space for what it’s meant to — work.

Get a potted plant

Research done at University of Exeter in 2013 found that the presence of plants at the workplace aids concentration, boosts productivity and enhances staff well-being by 47%. Get one today.

Make it happy

According to Miguel McKelvey, co-founder and CEO of WeWork, which transforms offices into productive workspaces, happiness “really is the foundation of productivity”. So add happiness with personal items such as favourite photos, quotes and mementoes.

Heavy items to the left

Kayla Matthews, a Pittsburgh-based productivity blogger, suggests a simple productivity trick — placing larger and heavier items, such as the computer and books, on the left side and smaller items, in descending order, on the right. The mind — trained to look from left to right — registers the important things first.

Work standing up at times

Continued research shows that standing can make you healthier. But a study conducted by Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health on call center workers showed that working standing up can increase productivity by 46%.

Apart from getting the desk right, we suggest you follow these basic rules to ensure you work well every single day:

Get priorities in order: The most productive people know that the secret to getting more done in a workday is to begin the day with a to-do list and end it by putting together the to-do list for the next day.

Eat the frog first: The 80-20 rule applies to productivity as well with 80% of your accomplishments coming from 20% of your efforts. So figure out what comprises this 20% and focus most of your time and energy — especially when you’re fresh — on that .

Work in time blocks: It’s not easy to be productive when there’s so much that needs your attention. So time block towards specific activities; setting aside a half-hour block for a task without any phone calls, social media distractions or chit-chat will help you get there faster.

Sift & sort through the day: Maintain a productive spirit and environment by remembering the 3 T’s: Tuck, transfer or trash. Whether it’s an email or note, file as “pending” if important, delegate if you need to immediately or trash if completely irrelevant.

Schedule time for calls: There’s absolutely no need for answering phone calls as soon as you receive them or replying to emails within the hour. Allocate a half hour in the late afternoon as phone time — it’s possible to get everything done!

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