Achieving good workflow while at the computer is essential to completing work quickly and efficiently. There are plenty of aspects regarding your personal environment that you may not even consider as hampering your workflow until you consider how they affect you. Poor productivity is usually related to poor workflow which can be enhanced by distractions. Countering these distractions relies on your own work ethic, but there are some improvements you can make to your working environment to help increase your productivity.
1. Dual Monitors
Dual monitors are a great way to increase your productivity because they give you twice the screen real estate for performing multiple tasks. This is especially useful for people who work in spreadsheets and other documents, because you can dedicate a monitor to your spreadsheet, while having your browser or other windows open on the second screen. Dual monitors takes a bit of time for getting used to the massive boost in screen real estate, but once you find the right set up for you, you’ll find that you’re able to do more at once without constantly hunting for the right windows.
In addition to dual monitors, there are plenty of applications available on the Internet that will help you arrange your windows according to how you want. One of the must useful of these programs is UltraMon, which extends the Windows task bar to the second monitor. With this extension, all windows and tasks that are moved to the second monitor will have their process moved to that monitor as well, so you don’t have to hunt around a single taskbar for two monitors.
The cost of purchasing a second monitor is not as expensive as one might think. For a decent 19″ monitor that provides more than enough space for a workstation, a person can expect to pay about $150 to $200. This minor investment in the time saved makes the purchase well worth it.
2. Making The Most of Desk Space
If you find yourself constantly rifling through loose papers and folders and rearranging your keyboard and mouse on your desk because of lack of space, you probably need a larger desk to accommodate your workflow. If you are confined to a specific desk with no way to change it, then making the most of the space you have available becomes a priority. Organizing your loose papers into manila files or envelopes and then categorizing them is the best way to store these papers.
For papers that you need frequently, a three drawer in and out paper organizer can often work wonders. You can access any forms you need to fill out because they’re immediately available, and for paperwork that is not needed on a daily basis, the envelope system with tabs for easy reading works well. It is a proven fact that most people work better when their desk environment is clean and less cluttered. Therefore, spending the time and money to organize your desktop in a way that makes the most sense to you is often the most cost-effective method of improving your workflow.
3. Comfortable Seating
One of the many complaints people have about working behind a desk all day is that sitting for long hours can cause back pain and other problems. It’s recommended that you get up and exercise, but if you find yourself dreading sitting in your chair to work, then you’re focusing more on the pain the chair causes and not on the work you should be doing when sitting. Ergonomic office chairs exist that provide a number of benefits, such as keeping the spine aligned, offering a mesh back to keep heat levels down, and adjustable arms and height for the best posture available.
Purchasing a new chair is one of the most expensive things you can do for your office set up, since most ergonomic chairs start out at around $200 and only increase in price according to the features offered. Many people don’t realize that they are truly uncomfortable with their current office seating until they experience the difference an ergonomic chair can make. Having a chair that provides the proper support can go a long way to increasing your productivity since it needs less adjustment and you’ll focus less on the chair and more on your work.
If you perform numerous repetitive tasks such as setting up formulas in excel or typing out introductions for headers of letters, you can set up macros to help you get the job done quicker. There are several programs available on Windows that allow you to set up complex macros to perform many tasks. For example, you could set up a starting macro so that when you begin work, with the press of a single key, you can open Excel, your browser, and Outlook, all in the last position you left them in.
Additionally, you can purchase a USB macro keyboard addon that will add up to 16 keys to your keyboard set up so that you can define these to specific macros you have set up. This way, instead of spending hours setting up spreadsheets you use frequently, you can program a one time macro to set up everything for you. Most macro software is available for under $30 and the USB macro keyboard can be obtained for around $60.
This article was written by Philip Russell. Philip has been a freelancer in writing, and offering SEO services for quite some time. By day he helps to run link building services at www.inetzeal.com and in his spare time he likes to write on topics such as SEO, SEM, Internet marketing, and all things related to the online Internet that catch his interest.