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This article was published on December 15, 2011

9 Steps Towards Creating An Efficient Work Environment

9 Steps Towards Creating An Efficient Work Environment
Harrison Weber
Story by

Harrison Weber

Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.

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No matter if you work from home or have an outside office, there’s nothing worse than a terrible work environment. Optimizing your workspace makes a world of difference in your life; helping you pull yourself out of a rut while saving tons of precious time. Look below for 9 steps towards creating a more efficient work environment, and then share you best tips with us in the comments!

Separate Your Work and Personal Life

Creating boundaries between work and personal duties will, above all, help you stay focused. Simply setting aside a place for work is all you need to do. For example, leave the kitchen for cooking and eating, and keep the bedroom for sleeping and, ahem… This way, you can make sure your mind automatically goes into ‘work mode’ as soon as you enter your work space. Keeping your job separate also helps you leave your career stresses out of relaxation time, and everybody deserves that.

Take Pride In Your Workspace

Once you’ve established a your workspace, taking the time to customize it makes work that much more enjoyable. Your environment matters, including everything from how comfortable your chair is to the color you paint the walls. Feel free to think about every detail, because it’s refreshing work somewhere that reflects your own personality.

Get Lost

No matter how hard of a worker you are, you’re going to start lagging after you’ve sat in the same spot long enough. So get lost. Take short breaks every few hours, and do whatever it takes to keep your mind fresh. Catch your breath while eating away from your desk during lunch, or try setting aside a relaxation space. These are just a few simple ways to keep your energy level high during the day.

Remove The Negatives

Noisy distractions. Poor Lighting. Clutter. What robs you of motivation? Find out what bums you out and do something about it. There’s nothing worse than falling behind on your work because of unrelated stress. If there’s anything bothering you that can be resolved with a few simple changes, stop what you’re doing and remove the negative aspects of your workspace.

Motivate Yourself

Similarly, find out what motivates you to work better and take advantage of whatever it is. If starting off your day with a fresh cup of coffee or tea puts you in a calm and focused mood, then make that a routine. Morning exercise, despite how difficult and annoying it be, is a huge energy booster for the rest of your day. Boris, a founder of TNW, suggests taking a cold shower every morning to fight the urge to stay comfortable. While this may sound crazy, it’s hard to argue with it once you give his reasoning an honest chance.

Invest In Technology

Once your computer starts freezing up during simple tasks, it’s time to invest in an upgrade. There’s absolutely no reason why your tools should be slowing you down, especially because their sole purpose is to make your life easier.

Buying what you actually need, when you need it, is the most practical thing to do in the long-run. But if you can’t afford a major purchase, consider upgrading your hardrive and memory, or try deleting programs you don’t use. There’s tons of tips related to speeding up PCs and Macs, so do some research and fix the problem.

Stay Organized

Look around your workspace right now. If you trash or anything you don’t need to save, throw it away immediately. Ridding yourself of clutter keeps you focused on the task at hand, and should make a positive impact on your mood.

The old saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” rings true to this day. Organizing your desk drawers and keeping color coded files means you’ll be able to find things when you need them. A sloppy environment also leads to sloppy work. Stay on top of this and you’ll notice a difference.

Create A Manageable Workload

Being realistic reduces stress, so keep your expectations high, yet realistic. Knowing your limitations helps you push them in a sustainable way, and taking enough time away from work fights burn-out and keeps you coming back for more. It’s amazing to love what you do so much that you enjoy obsessing over it, but staying healthy and setting aside time for friends and family is equally necessary.

Look To The Future & Set Goals

As with all advice you’ll ever receive, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. Everyone’s different and sometimes a-mess-of-a-work-environment works. Some people, perhaps like Jack Doresy of Twitter, need less sleep than others. Take the time to observe your own behaviors and habits and act accordingly.

Setting goals (e.g.: like completing these 9 steps) is one of the best ways to assure a bright future for yourself. Besides, the simple act of working towards something — and accomplishing it — keeps you moving in the right direction. If you’re unsatisfied with how or where you work, outlining what you need to do to resolve your problems is the first step towards solving them. If you’re in a great situation, plan ahead for the all the ways you can maintain what you love. Above all else, do what you love and love what you do. In the words of Steve Jobs:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

What do you do to stay efficient? Share your recommendations for what works and what doesn’t in the comments below! 

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