I’m going to step outside of the normal topics we cover and talk about the environment we work in instead of the work we do. I’ll share a few of my favorite things to brighten up how I’m working. These tips will help you work more efficiently, do better work, and enjoy your work more.
Lighting & Nature
I can’t stress the importance of good lighting. If I can’t be outside, I prefer to be in a well lit space with natural sunlight bulbs. I’ve also found a green environment to be the most conducive to relaxation and getting things done. Most of us can’t work outside so I keep a short palm tree on my desk and a few other plants near by.
I know this tip has been covered a hundred times over but drinking enough water will give you a massive energy boost throughout the day. Herbal drinks(hot herbal tea, etc.) also tend to have relaxing qualities. Strong hot tea and coffee have their place but should be kept to a minimum. Too much caffein can leave you jittery if you’re not used to it and too little can leave you sluggish if you are. It’s better to avoid it in large doses to avoid either. Sodas should simply be avoided.
Desk, Chair, and Computer
I can’t stress enough how much it helps to keep your desk, your desktop, and your Email clean. Sitting down at your computer and only having the immediate task to complete in front of you is one of the best ways to make sure you’re working efficiently in a stress free environment. I also recommend a good ergonomic mouse and keyboard, at least two screens, and a comfortable chair. Alternatively, depending on the complexity of the task at hand, a laptop and a lawn chair work beautifully. The goal here is to be relaxed and to avoid technology or desk related stress or strain. Clear your work area, clear your mind.
Get up and move! Spending 10-15 minutes walking, lifting weights, or otherwise moving kinetically every day will help you be more relaxed, energetic, and productive. I’m nowhere near fit but I’ve found a quick workout after lunch can do wonders when it comes to staying awake and doing the job well. If that’s not an option, getting up and doing something else every hour or so is also a good idea. If you’re in an office, walk around for a bit. If you get to work from home, get up, stretch, and visit your spouse/kids/dog or gerbil.
Take a little time, once a day, and try to broaden your horizons. Pick up a language, write a new algorithm, but do something that stretches your mind a little more than it was the day before. Our jobs aren’t always all that challenging so it’s important to keep pressing the limits of what you’re capable of doing to keep you fresh for the future.
That’s it for now. I hope some of this has been helpful. Feel free to check back in for the usually techie stuff soon!