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This space won’t work: how to make your workspace more productive

Aug. 23, 2017
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The “To Do” list is filled, but nothing is getting crossed off. After all that time you’ve spent planning your day, that list looks just the same as when it was first written. Getting stuck is normal. Productivity can be stopped by many distractions or setbacks. Fortunately, small changes can make a huge difference—you just have to pay attention to what is not working, and then figure out how to change it. 

One thing that people don’t pay attention to is their workspace. This space can be an office, in a dorm room, at your home, or outside at another location, and it can have a huge impact on your work. If you’ve ever tried to get stuff done in a well-designed workspace, you know the difference is obvious: it puts your productivity on a totally different wave.

The space you choose for work can be invigorating or draining. A person working in the wrong environment can have motivation and work ethic and still not get anything done. That’s why the best way to counteract a draining vibe is to keep the structure of your work environment in good shape. A little bit of care and modification can completely change the mood of your space.

Classify the Aesthetic.

To start modifying your workspace, take a look at your style. Are you someone who likes bright colors, dark colors, neutral colors? Do you like a space to showcase a variety of elements? Are you more of a minimalist? Have an idea for what aesthetic helps you concentrate the best. Applying that style to your workspace will help it be more comfortable for you. On top of being comfortable, you will actually like being in the space! This applies to choosing a workspace, too: if you’re dreaming of a quiet table hidden by tall bookshelves, go to a library. If the thought of a chai tea aroma and the soothing background noise of small talk gets you inspired, try a café.


Set up your space so that you know where everything important is. Invest in folders, including multi-folder binders. Figure out where on your work surface you’ll be placing your folders and notebooks, and make sure that surface is clear of any clutter. Keep up with your supply of pencils and pens. You can add other office supplies as well: buy highlighters, stickers, sticky notes, paperclips, and whatever you need to work your best. And always clean up after you’ve finished!

Decorate with your favorites.

Looking at things that inspire you can be great for motivation. Add quotes, pictures of people you admire, song lyrics, something to do with your favorite book, or art from your favorite cartoon to your workspace or office supplies. You love the New York Mets? Get some logo stickers to put on your notebook. Can’t get enough of Red Velvet? Create a playlist for some background music. Don’t go overboard, though, or you’ll risk getting sidetracked by your faves. 

Those are the tips! Yes, there are only three—when it comes to work, it’s better to keep things simple. Work can give you a lot to think about. Your mind will be all over the place. When you keep the small stuff simple, that is one less task for your brainpower. Why do you think Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day? It was his uniform—clean, simple, and easy to execute without too much effort. Where will you put your effort? What kind of workspace would be best for you?