New-year’s resolutions are always hopeful and ambitious: losing weight, being more active, indulging less and being kinder to yourself. To be more productive at work and at home is another popular new year’s resolution, but without an action plan and commitment, your resolutions will be out of the window by mid-January.
We live in a world where distractions have become commonplace, where we are constantly connected and on call. Studies have shown that it takes 20 minutes to get back into a task once your concentration has been broken (Source) so making sure that you have undisturbed work time is essential.
Here is our 7-point action plan to set you up for success with a productive home office that will calm your mind and help you to concentrate on the task at hand.
You can clean you head space by cleaning your desk space first. You may have tried to remove the clutter off your desk little by little but bold clutter requires bold action. Your best bet is to remove everything from your desk and start fresh. This includes toys, photos and other distracting memorabilia. Place everything on your desk in a box, and only remove an item if you need it to complete a specific task. And if you really want to have pictures of your kids or happy memories, try to stick to only one. Once you have separated the essential from the nonessential, the next step is to set up a good workflow.
Life requires us to multi-task - now more than ever – and much like in a factory, an efficient workflow will increase your productivity. You may have to switch from typing on your computer to reading from a folder and from making a call on your landline to texting a business colleague on your mobile. Make sure that these items are already on your desk with each within easy reach, so that you can switch seamlessly between tasks.
Decluttering and an improved workflow will only manage the concrete distractions however. Distractions keep you from performing your best work. Internet technology is particularly distracting: the urge to check your smart phone for emails and text messages can be never-ending, and keep you from focusing on the task at hand. To keep this distraction in check, allocate time slots for when you check your email and messages. Turn off all non-essential notifications on your phone so that you won’t be interrupted by continual twitter feeds or Facebook posts and resist the urge to check social media in work hours.
The right chair is as essential to productivity as a decluttered, organized desk. Ergonomically designed desk chairs contributes to overall health by preventing undue strain on the body. Your chair should be adjustable so you can find the height that is best for you, and not strain your eyes, arms, or shoulders. Additionally, the right chair supports your lower back and spine. It is especially important to find a supporting chair because extended sitting strains the spine’s natural curve. The chair should be made of a comfortable material, and have armrests to relieve tension in the shoulders.
An optimum room temperature will ensure optimum efficiency. Studies have determined that an office with a temperature that is off by just 1 or 2 degrees can negatively impact worker performance.
But what exactly the right temperature is, varies from study to study. Most say that 21 to 23 degrees is optimal, but a respected study by Cornell places the temperature as high as 25 degrees. In the UK, the generally accepted temperature inside is 21°C.
Noise pollution is the intrusion of unwanted noise into our daily lives and has been called the modern plague. Noise pollution can be environmental (neighbours who play their music too loudly or cars driving past your house) or it can be industrial. Industrial noise can come from proximity to an airport or railway line, or to a business such as a factory. Unfortunately, people grow so used to noise pollution that they barely notice it after prolonged exposure, much less protest it. However, it is a serious source of stress and strain on our ears and it should be dealt with promptly.
Triple glazing can significantly reduce the amount of environmental and industrial noise coming in through your windows. The triple glass layers and Krypton-filled cavities are not only an efficient form of heat insulation, but also of sound insulation.
If you are temporarily unable to block out street sounds and other annoying noises, consider using white noise as a short-term solution. White noise is a soothing blur and can be either static (like an untuned radio) or nature sounds like the ebb and flow from the ocean. White noise can also be used to aid concentration while studying. Click here for a free white noise download..
The right lighting is as important to productivity as the right chair. Insufficient workplace lighting can lead to headache, neck soreness and eye strain, and have a negative effect on one’s mood.
Natural daylight is always first prize, so open your office curtains and let that sunshine in. Natural light is the best remedy against eye strain because it’s what our eyes evolved to see. Next, turn down the overhead lights. You may think brighter equals better, but too much light creates a glare which makes it hard for us to see. Make sure you have a desk lamp or other task lighting to light your work area with a controlled beam.
Computer glare also places great strain on our eyes. Technological advances like the anti-glare screen have made this problem much more manageable. Newer LCD screens are much softer on the eyes than old-fashioned computers. Additionally, you should adjust the brightness of your monitor for optimal comfort.
Air that is stale and oxygen-poor is known to cause health problems in workers while employee productivity and mood lifts dramatically when air circulates freely. Fresh air can be increased by simply opening a window. But where outside temperatures or window design prevents this, having triple glazing with trickle vents will ensure sufficient fresh air in your room.
It is also important that the air not be too moist or too dry. Air that is too wet or dry can cause damage to the lungs and lead to breathing problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Also, when air is too dry it can dehydrate the body and lead to skin and eye problems. Therefore, humidifiers and dehumidifiers are necessary to control air humidity.
With the correct thermal insulation in place, the cost saving benefits of solar energy systems are very clear. Solar can become a supplementary system to your utility-supplied power, or you can choose to go off-grid completely with a comprehensive system and benefit from all the cost-savings and incentives. Whichever option you choose, solar panels are the green choice for both your pocket and the environment.
Published on : 1st December 2016
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