5 Tips for Better Workspace Focus


Spring cleaning time is here and your workspace should not be left off the list. Your workspace environment highly affects your mood, energy, sense of clarity and production. These days more than ever distractions are abound!

The challenges of staying focused in your workspace have never been this difficult. What remains unchanged for most of us is that the more cluttered our surroundings, the more cluttered our minds. A “cluttered mind” on overdrive can greatly reduce our ability to focus and stay on task.

What does your office space look like? How do you feel when you are in your space?

Whether you are working out of a home based space or commercial office space, keeping your workspace neat and organized can truly transform your ability to not only get focused, but stay focused. By and large the majority of people experience increased performance and production when their workspace is in good order.

But for others it takes a true commitment and habit forming acts to achieve. Personally, while I can easily obtain tidiness in my workspace – sustaining it can be another story. As with many of us, although I have strong organizational skills, they are combined with a highly creative side.

I’m convinced those good ole creative juices lend a major hand to my at times, disarranged workspace. And by the way, I have no shame in this. I own and love my creative side. But it does require some extra discipline and continual maintenance to keep my workspace nice and clean!

For the often non-linear side of my thought process this definition resonates. “Human thought characterized by expansion in multiple directions, rather than in one direction, and based on the concept that there are multiple starting points from which one can apply logic to a problem. “ .

Whoa – just reading that makes my head spin a bit, but surely many of you can relate and your workspace may be a reflecting it.

So if you are a linear thinker or non, work at home or have an office that you go to, your workspace environment is extremely important. Again, I can’t stress enough the difference your workspace surroundings can make in effecting attention on workload, time management and performance. So now what?

There are with out a doubt endless detailed organizational tips and resources to be found on-line and in other publications. Although I encourage you to seek them out I know it can feel overwhelming. You can start with more of an overview by thinking about the following:

5 keys to eliminate distractions for better focus in your workspace

1. Desk duty

Keeping all of your workspace neat and organized can be a game changer. Yet no matter your surroundings, chances are your desk is your most personal and frequented area. No matter how many times I clean off and organize my desk the same disarray sooner or later takes over

The best way to keep your desk in order is to keep it simple. Having as little on your desk surface as possible is recommended. Other than your computer – what you are working on that day with folders that you can put back in their designated place as the end of the day? Keep desk accessories to a minimum and only have out what you use frequently.

My creative counterpart often leads to over multi-tasking along with frequently generating new ideas. Both in turn cause a feeling of urgency to document an idea, etc. which can pull me off my intended course. For this I keep one designated notebook on my desk for jotting down my spontaneous ideas, etc… I then can go back and reference and organize those thoughts at a later time. I find this helps to keep me on task and avoids tendencies to have multiple sticky notes everywhere – creating clutter.

Scheduling buffer times at the beginning and / or at the end of day to clear off your desk is a good cure for “messy desk syndrome”.  If you are dedicated to this practice you will begin your work day feeling much more fresh, clear and centered!

2. Visual

Set up your workspace with items that make you feel happy, calm and inspired. Pay attention to how you respond to colors and objects in your workspace vicinity. If there are inspirational quotes or reminders that are motivating and empowering, you can place them in your view. But try to keep it to a minimum.

Minimalism is key. De-clutter by getting rid of unnecessary objects such as furniture and random knick knacks that don’t pertain to your work. Also clear away what is no longer serving you. Remove past projects either out of your workspace entirely or out of your visual parameters.

3. Auditory

Unless you know that you actually work and focus better amongst noise, try to keep your area as quiet as possible. There is a reason libraries are quiet. Typically people concentrate at a much higher level without auditory distractions. Outer noise can also add to feelings of sensory overload. Mute or turn down the volume on your computers and phones, particularly if you keep notification settings on.

If you are someone who feels you work better with some background music, experiment with what best keeps you motivated and focused. For those easily distracted but prefer sound over silence, try something calm, soothing and perhaps simply instrumental.

4. Organized storage

Your ability to readily locate and retrieve information is crucial in organizing both your workspace and time management.

Virtual folders – With most work being done on computers these days, you can save a ton of time and space using digital versions for much of your “paperwork”.

Our computers are the main focus for most of us at our desks and in our workspace. It’s important to best reduce clutter on your devices as well. Creating good systems using organizations applications, folders, and bookmarks for your files is key.

Deleting emails and other information that is no longer relevant will also help “de-clutter” your computer and head space! Virtual storage is a major benefit to the environment as well!

Google docs and Trello are both great tools for getting organized and staying on task.

Physical Folders – With tangible “paperwork” prioritize your files and projects as best you can so you are working on one thing at a time. When you are done with the paperwork for a particular task remove it from your immediate workspace area, particularly from your desk and into a file.

Create well-labeled and designated file cabinets and or boxes for storage. Remember to put in place a methodical system to put paperwork in a specific place when done to avoid clutter building up on your desk.

5. Boundaries

If your workspace and environment includes other colleagues or people that work in close proximity to you. Do your best to have good boundaries about them coming into your space or interrupting what you are trying to achieve. Spatial boundaries are important for focus and not getting pulled off of task. This may be achieved by a conversation or if you have an office with a door or simply closing it to send a message that you are not available.

The same can go with turning off your phone and not checking email while working on a task or project. Try setting rules and limits around your use on your devices. I bet you will be amazing by the change you will see in terms of improved management of your time. Chances are our ability will soar to greater focus on and accomplish what’s most significant for your success!

Check out this great article from Inc. for 6 apps to help you reduce your smartphone addiction.

Hopefully you found these tips helpful!

It’s very important to keep in mind too that we are all “wired” differently so play around with what works best for you!

Do you have any workspace tips for better focus and efficiency? Please share in the comments or share this post on Facebook and leave your comment there.

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About the author, Lynn

Lynn is an expert Health and Lifestyle Coach. She founded her nutrition and wellness company, LB Inspired LLC, in 2006. She is also the founder of Burns & Partners Celebrity and Professional Health Coach Agency. Burns & Partners LLC creates relationships and partnerships with Corporations, Medical Facilities and Individuals to connect them with their team of specialized Health Coaches. The Agency's mission is to bridge the global health crisis gap and believes that healthy, thriving companies and individuals change everything.

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