Remote workers might be more productive than most office employees. We’re an under-appreciated class of workers who produce more at less cost.
But if you’re a freelancer/solopreneur, you understand that your workspace is sacred. If the balance is off, it becomes more difficult to be productive. You want your inner sanctum to be a place that promotes deep focus.
How do you engineer the best possible environment for productivity? Let’s find out together.
1. Manage the Light and Set the Mood
Just like sex, work requires the right mindset. While your partner might get turned on by a dark candle-lit room, your working brain doesn’t.
What kind of lighting does your office allow? How much natural light?
It’s winter as I write this. The days are short and even if you have a large window, you won’t receive much light. A lack of natural light will lead to more sleep disturbances through the night and thus less ability to concentrate and produce during the day.
You’ll need two things to help with mood and concentration during the winter months.
If you’re going to work late into the evening, you’ll want a UV lamp or a happy energy lamp. Don’t worry, it won’t cause a sunburn. It simulates sunshine to give you the vitamin D you need and tell your brain that it’s still daytime.
Next, especially if your office faces south, you’ll want window tinting. Companies like this commercial window tinting distributor recommend cutting the glare with tinting film.
This means you can work facing the window, still get that sunshine during the day, and not induce a migraine. It also means you won’t have to drop a ton on a new window.
2. Upgrade to Business Class Internet
Imagine this: You schedule a conference call with your top client. You’re dressed in your best and ready to go by 9 A.M. You turn on your computer, open up skype, get your webcam in the optimal position aaaaand, the internet is down.
You quickly grab your cell phone, shoot an email with a quick explanation and head to the library hoping for a quiet spot.
Has this ever happened to you? You can’t blame the cable company because you bought their discount internet. You could have gone with business-class internet.
Why would you do this? Because even if the internet drops, you can blame it on the internet company. Be sure to get guarantees and coverage from the internet company so that your butt is covered.
3. Build a Power Nap Station
A power nap in the afternoon is more effective than caffeine. So, instead of investing in an espresso machine, invest in a nap station.
How do you fall asleep best? Is it laying flat? Propped up? Suspended above the floor?
How big is your office? Could you accommodate a couch? Or would you only have enough room for a small bedroll.
A nap station doesn’t have to be a huge investment. When I worked in an office building and my office featured a door, I kept a sleeping bag and a pillow in my office. I’d take ten-minute naps when I needed.
If you’re unsure how to take such short naps, it’s easy. Set an alarm for fifteen minutes later. Lay down. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply until you doze.
As soon as your alarm goes off, get up. Don’t lay there wishing you could sleep more. Your body will take care of the rest.
4. Upgrade Your Desk
You’re going to spend a lot of time here. It’s your home. It’s your solid rock. It’s your desk.
Your desk is like your bed. When you approach it, you should only think about work as you only think about sleep when you approach your bed.
If you’re a PC gamer like me, create a separate space for your rig and a special place for work. Never the two shall meet.
Why? Because your brain changes with the environment you inhabit. If you walk into your office, your brain should automatically go into work mode. If you play PC games in your office (especially late into the night), your brain will automatically go into play mode before work mode even if you work in your office too.
This is why you need a dedicated desk that is large enough for your projects and separate from your play spaces.
5. Buy All the Plants!
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you will want to heed this advice. Why? Because plants can boost your productivity by 15%.
But you can’t just buy a random plant and shove it in your office and hope it survives. You need the right plant for the conditions your office provides.
If you don’t get light in your office, you’ll need plants that survive with little light. These could be things like Philodendrons, snake plants, zz plants, staghorn ferns, etc.
If you have a window, you could upgrade to even prettier plants. Orchids are a wonderful winter plant and they’re fairly easy to take care of.
6. Get a White Board
Your computer is incredibly powerful. It is more powerful than the computers aboard the Apollo rockets from the 70s that brought astronauts to the moon and back.
Your computer hampers your ability to think. For some reason, our brains have adapted to working in physical space. And using physical analog space for brainstorming is the best way to boost brain activity and make connections.
Get a whiteboard to write notes on and plan your week out. You’ll quickly find motivation mounting as you physically write out your ideas and your schedule.
7. Buy a Smart Assistant
Save yourself some time and keep everything on track. How? With a smart assistant.
The phone you have will determine which you buy. But the ability to just turn off the smartphone and not miss a thing is important.
You will be able to keep the distraction of your phone at bay, keep your real-time IQ intact and still get the important notifications and phone calls.