Picture this: you're home from a long day at school, bringing enough homework with you to last an eternity. Or, you know. A good 4-5 hours' worth. You head to your desk, and it's not a pleasant sight — papers and books strewn around, chargers tangled up on the floor. Where did that super important math packet go? Chances are, your motivation to work went down a few notches.
Although there are many factors to feeling (and ultimately being) productive, an unorganized, don't-know-where-anything-is workspace definitely won't boost your enthusiasm. Even if you have a system that might seem messy but works for you, accessibility is vital to creating a functional workspace. Here are 10 tips to arrange your workspace efficiently.
1. Less is More
You may think this is a classic "minimalist" approach to organization. But limiting how many things are on your desk maximizes space, which can be beneficial. You'll have room to rest your elbows, have a snack close by, and in the best-case scenario, keeping your workspace clear of unnecessary items will reduce distractions and could help you with focus. Stick to essentials like computers/devices and writing utensils.
2. Ambient Lighting
Something we all depend on to work is light. Place your desk lamp in the back corner of your workspace. If you don't have a proper source of light that illuminates your workspace, as the day goes on, it could take a toll on your eyes. Invest in a good desk lamp that'll keep you covered. You'll be able to concentrate better and increase your productivity. Here are some cool lamps.
3. Keep a Water Bottle Nearby
Staying hydrated helps with more than your physical health. Studies show that drinking enough water improves your ability to think and stay alert. If you're like me and you struggle with your H20 intake, seeing a water bottle might just help you remember to drink from it. Providing your body with an adequate amount of water can help you stay on task as well, especially when you're studying. Learn more here.
4. Utilize Storage Space
Building on the first tip, sometimes it can be hard to cut down on items you need. This is why storage space is your best friend. If your desk has built-in drawers or a pull-out compartment, stow your stationery, notes, and other desk supplies away. Everything you need to get some work done will be at your fingertips. For workspaces lacking inbuilt storage, consider buying a desk organizer that you can keep either on your desk or nearby. Find a wide variety of organizers here.
5. Accessible Charging
In this day and age, a lot of our work is done on a device. Whether it's a computer, phone, or tablet, chargers are what these electronics run on. Instead of untangling wires every time you need to prevent the death of a device, use cable clips and separators to keep it easy. See what I'm referring to here. You can also use some good old tape to bring the wires up to desk level. Consider using a charging dock as well.
6. Keep a White Board on Hand
Whiteboards are underrated. You can write out to-do lists, notes, or doodle, erase, and repeat! Originally, I had this point as "keep sticky notes on hand", but upon further thought, I decided whiteboards are more efficient. Think about it — if you scribbled down every thought you had on a post-it and tacked it somewhere on your desk, they'd build up and the point of the idea being urgent and novel would be lost. An occasionally sticky note won't do any harm. But putting up a whiteboard just on top of your workspace or in a desk drawer can have a big impact on your productivity levels and ensure you'll never forget about anything.
7. Hang Up a Calendar
Technically, a wall calendar wouldn't be something you put on your desk, but it's a great way to increase the functionality of your workspace as a whole. You'll be able to check dates at a glance and plan out upcoming events. Generally, meeting deadlines is crucial, and a calendar will ease up any worries about forgetting dates.
8. Keep Functionality in Mind
Remember that your workspace is the place where you ideally get the most work done. As tempting as it may be to decorate and have photos and trinkets where you'll always see them, always ask yourself if the object will contribute to your focus and desk space. This isn't to say that you can't make this area your own, just use this place for its intended purpose.
Assess what needs to be on your desk based on what you do. For example, computer-based work would need techy accessories like a mouse/mousepad, whereas a study space would need a headphone stand or textbook holder. Try not to get caught up in making it look "aesthetic" and visually pleasing, as what works for others may not work for you.
10. Declutter Often
It's reasonable for your desk to get a little messy sometimes. It's normal, even. This is why you should set aside some time every week or month to declutter and clean up your space. It may seem like a chore, but in the long run, it'll help you stay organized and remain as productive as you can be. In your downtime or when you're bored, tidying up can be a good way to relax and reset as well.
Organization is a skill, and it takes time to master. Set up your workspace to suit your needs and complement your workflow, and you'll be unstoppable.