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Boost Your Productivity by Hacking Your Workspace

This is a collaborative post with Pall Mall Estates as part of the #WorkspaceWonder campaign. All words and opinions are my own.

If you work from home in a freelance role or as part for a flexible working arrangement with your employer you'll know it can be a blessing and a curse. Having the option to hit pause on your work so that you can to go to a GP appointment or playdate is fantastic but late nights to make up the time or breaking out the iPad to distract your kids whilst you catch up is the other side of that coin. I do try to do the bulk of my work in the evenings when Luisa is asleep or out with her Dad/grandparents but it doesn't always work out like that. You'll often find me struggling to make sense of spreadsheets on my phone or quickly replying to emails whilst standing in the kitchen making lunch.
One of the things I have struggled with in the past is getting 'in the zone' when I do have an opportunity to work uninterrupted. Luisa usually goes out with her grandparents on Fridays and I need to use that time really wisely. In order to be as productive as possible I try and get housework out of the way on Thursday and make a list of 'must do' and 'try to do' work for the following day. Although we don't have a spare room that can be used as a dedicated office I knew I needed a workspace in order to help me focus and improve my productivity. I found sitting in the kitchen meant I got distracted by mess, my mind would wander to dinner plans or I'd start playing with the dog.

I knew I needed to create a dedicated workspace to help boost my productivity and help me to get in the zone faster. At the top of our stairs we have a small nook which previously housed the worlds biggest washing basket. I thought it would be perfect for a small workspace if we could find a desk small enough to fit. As ever, Ikea provided the solution! Unfortunately they don't stock in any more but there are lots of compact desks on the Argos site. Once we'd solved that problem we had somewhere to house a desktop PC and printer, the mini office was starting to take shape. There's quite a big window which makes it a really bright space and I was conscious that although I needed some extra storage I didn't want to block out any light. We used some thin picture shelves to create the perfect space to house cameras, notebooks and small electronics.

We recently moved the echo dot upstairs which has been a lovely addition to my workspace. I listen to music to drown out the sound of Matt and Luisa playing downstairs or ask Alexa to turn on the lights if it's getting gloomy. Matt and I also use this as a family workspace to carry out tasks like keeping track of our spending, list clutter on eBay, or fill out various forms for Luisa.

Photo by Elsa Noblet on Unsplash
When you're a parent, wether or not you work from home in a freelance capacity there is always 'work' to be done at home. Even if your job is office based you'll have chores and family admin to take care of at home. Keeping on top of appointments, bills and your families social calendar can be a tall order. It's something I've struggled with in the past but now I am doing better. I approach 'lifemin' like a job, because keeping myself and Luisa organised and on top of things is my job, and it's as essential as all the other things which actually earn me money!
 
I've talked before about how I'm using a bullet journal and a lot of my goals for the year centre around organisation and work/life balance. I think this office space is a really positive step towards my goals and it just goes to show that you can have a dedicated workspace at home even if you don't have a spare room available.

Pall Mall Estates have done some research into productivity and how to create the perfect workspace for you - I've included their infographic below so you can read about their findings more fully. Apparently I am in the minority of people who like to listen to music whilst they work, I certainly wouldn't have the tunes blasting while working out complex calculations but when doing admin or writing I think it helps me to focus. Something I'm keen to bring into our office space is greenery, I love plants and if they'll give me a boost even better! 

I found it really encouraging that a messy workspace doesn't meant you're not organised - I've always been a bit messy but I know where things are and like to have all my bits and pieces to hand. Sure I'm never going to have a very minimalist workspace but I have one that works for me.

Is your desk an organised mess like mine or do you need a clear space to help you focus?

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1 Comment

  1. Julie A
    16th February 2018 / 2:19 pm

    Haha I’m like you – well I work in an office but I like to listen to music, it helps me concentrate.

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