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Your Ideal Workspace

When we consider the number of years we dedicate toward studying and working, we can sometimes wonder if we spent enough time doing anything else. Since the largest part of our life is invested on our career, it begs the question to ask if we’re utilizing that time most efficiently. Every type of workspace we can encounter offers different challenges, and we all have distinctive needs and preferences. Therefore, an important question to consider is this: Do we ever truly have control over our work environment?

The answer to this question should be, “Yes.” Whether you work from home or away in cubicleland, an open-plan workstation or corner office, you need to consider which environments are most productive for your personal efficiency. Some people can work in a variety of different environments, while others have specific preferences. Some people prefer solitude, while others are more motivated when working around others. When you think about an ideal workspace, what comes to mind for you? Is it an outdoor environment such as a quiet park, or is it in a busy public location where people are coming and going? Is it an indoor environment such as a private office, a spacious empty conference room, a coffee shop, or the library? Does your preference change according to the task at hand?

While some employers will determine your workspace for you, others will allow more flexibility. Those individuals who fall under the self-employed umbrella generally have the greatest variety of options available. Whatever your circumstance, it is important to know what type of work environment allows you to maximize focus and creativity while minimizing distractions. For those of us who work in the arts, we are generally more attuned to our aesthetic environment, so taking the time to set up a space that is aesthetically pleasing is important for our daily motivation and function.

In addition to your general work setting, your environment’s physical features can also play an important role in work efficiency. Consider how cluttered or sparse your environment is, whether it feels stuffy or airy, and the type of lighting and sounds in the space. Additional details include the furniture, such as the size of a desk, a comfortable chair or couch, or a stand-up workstation. Other considerations include the textures in the room, which include anything from wood floors, carpeting, plush upholstery, metal surfaces, and everything in between. The overall “vibe” helps set the stage for your work to be the most enjoyable for you.

If you typically work in an indoor setting, here are a few suggestions you can try to discover the perfect “sweet spot” that works best for you. First, try experimenting with different spaces: public or private; an open floorplan with others nearby; or a personal office. Second, consider if you prefer your space to have a lot of items in it, or rather like it to be more minimalistic. Third, try different lighting options. Something with windows and natural light, or, if using artificial lighting, consider the types of bulbs used that can impact the temperature of the light and the brightness of the space. Next, experiment with different sound settings: a space with music playing in the background or one that is in absolute silence; one buzzing with activity or one with a gentle background sound such as a tabletop waterfall fountain. Finally, consider the type of furniture and textures that help you stay alert and focused. Choose comfortable and ergonomic items to help prevent injuries. Avoid items that would make you feel too sleepy in the space and also avoid items that are uncomfortable and impede your work. Do select items that make you feel inspired and motivated to work for long periods of time. If you need to discuss particular furniture issues or other needs with your employer, then certainly do so. It is their job to ensure your safety and in their best interests to aid your productivity.

When you take the time to establish your ideal workspace, the area becomes more inviting to your aesthetic preferences and allows your productivity to flow more naturally and effortlessly. Providing for these preferences creates a comfortable space conducive to deep work and satisfying performance over time. Optimizing your work environment reaps benefits over the months and years ahead, sustaining your productivity while keeping you healthy, motivated, and at peace.

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