With the launch of Luce rapidly approaching, I find myself thinking of how easily I’m distracted when I have a lot of work to do. It’s too simple to pull up Facebook or Instagram, and suddenly my entire focus is on a friend’s new baby, or some Buzzfeed article about why Lindsay Lohan has still got it.
However, I have found a few ways that help me keep focused and productive. Here are four pitfalls to avoid in your work space, whether that’s at home or in an office somewhere.
1. Too Many Papers. When I used to work in an office, it boggled my mind to see desks drowning in stacks of papers towering on either side of a computer monitor covered with sticky notes. Especially because, with today’s technology, there’s no reason for most of the paper clutter!
Do you really need to print that email? Wouldn’t it be easier to save it in file on your computer? Rather than writing out a paper to-do list, use Asana.com, a tool that helps me prioritize and be productive even on the sleepiest of Mondays.
Plus, it’s better for the environment to have fewer papers. Go green!
2. Not Enough Screen Space. I’m a big fan of having more than one computer monitor. Great monitors are cheap, and getting a big screen is better for your eyes! I really believe that my productivity quadruples when I can have an Excel sheet open on one monitor and email open in another.
Even when writing I have a thesaurus or dictionary open here, and my Word document open there. Not losing time or focus on finding that correct tab can pay off in the end.
3. Not Having a Place for Things. It sounds vague, I know! But I’ve found that if I don’t have a hook for those keys or a drawer organizer for those paper clips or note cards, I end up losing track of everything.
Lately I’ve been realizing I need to do some spring cleaning. If I look through my stuff and fix ‘er up a bit every now and then I won’t be thinking, “Where’s that pen?” when I should be thinking, “What happens next in my story?”
4. Ignoring Your Health. Earlier this year I upgraded to a standing desk. I’d been having back aches a lot, and realized it was likely from crouching over my desk like Scrooge counting his pennies. By setting up my standing desk properly, my monitor is now at eye level.
For some people, it’s one of those ball chairs. For others, it’s a standing desk. Still others might find that just adjusting the lumbar support in their chair helps them feel better, stay focused, and be more productive. No matter what it is, you only have one body and one life. Take care of it.
S. M. Peterson