For just a bit under two years, I was in a living situation where I was not able to have or use a desk. So, I was innovative: I turned the kitchen table into my desk space by adding different organizers and setting it up just like a desk would be. It wasn’t ideal – there was a lot of distractions being in the kitchen – but I made it work for me.
Now, I have a room and a desk for me to sit at, and I’m LOVING it. After weeks of tweaking and reorganizing, I’m finally ready to share my desk with you, as well as some explanations and tips to create a workspace that works for you.
3 Tips to Follow to Use your Workspace Wisely
- Only Use it for Work – create the connection between the space and productivity. This can be difficult if you have a small space and your desk may need to serve other functions, like a vanity. If you have different non-work uses for your desk, try to create visual distinctions between the uses, like converting it to a vanity by putting makeup things in a certain arrangement.
- Have all of your Materials at Hand – it’s important to minimize distraction by having what you need in reach. I find that if I have to get up to get something I’ll inevitably get distracted and then forget what I was actually looking for. So, I try to make sure I have everything I need for my work before I start working.
- Keep your Space Clean and Organized – this is SO important. Reference #5 below for more explanation – the same rules apply. This also goes for your desktop!
5 Essentials you Should Have in your Desk:
- A “Catch-All” Notepad – you’re going to have those moments when you need something handy to write something down. This seems to happen when creating appointments or suddenly remembering a task you need to do. I like to use sticky notes and this sticky stand so I can keep it to the side but still be reminded until I transfer or take care of whatever the note contains.
- Essential Oils – I like to keep peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils in my desk to use as aroma therapy to keep me focused. The gentle smell in the background keeps me reminded that I’m in a time of focus and achieving. Over time I’ve associated the smell with productivity and achievement, so now if I’m having trouble getting started I can put a little dab on my wrists or below my nose and it gets me started! It’s a nice little trick of the mind to get started on sluggish days.
- Water and Snacks – I know that when I’m getting a bit hungry at my workspace it’s so easy to get distracted, get up, walk to the kitchen, and I won’t return to focused work for 30 or so minutes unexpectedly after loitering through the kitchen cabinets. Keep a couple granola bars or tide-over snacks in your desk space in case you get peckish in order to keep focused even in times of hunger.
- A Focused Calendar to Reference – of course you should have a calendar at your desk, but don’t overwhelm yourself with a master calendar right in view. I only have calendars with information I need to reference frequently at my desk. My master calendar is on a wall to my left if I need to reference events or meetings. But, when I only need to reference a day of the week, I have a blank calendar on my desk wall for that. I also have an ALT content calendar where I reference what needs to be posted each day – this keeps me on track. You want to be able to keep your work as focused as possible and having a clean calendar or specific calendar can help keep your mind calm and focused on the task at hand.
- Blank Space – this is essential for focus and productivity. If nothing else, have this. The way your workspace looks when you’re working is a good indication of your headspace. If your workspace is cluttered and messy, your thoughts will be the same; and, if your workspace is clean and only has one main thing on it that you’re focusing on, your mind will reflect that. So, clear off your desk before work and ensure that it’s easy to keep everything else off of the desk that could be a potential distraction.
There are some tips on using your workspace! I’d love to see pictures of your desk and tell me how you use it effectively!