You would not believe how many work spaces I scoped out before finally deciding on one. I’m not an especially picky person, but I am very sensitive to my physical environment. Always have been. Too noisy? Forget it. Too cluttered? Stress! Too stark or sterile? Yuck. When it comes to my workspace, I’m like Goldilocks; it has to be juuuuust right.
Get me in the wrong space and I’m frustrated, brain fried, and distracted. But in the right space I’m a better coach, better writer, better businesswoman, better everything. Why? Because physical environment is one of the most important factors in creating my ideal work conditions.
In choosing the right space, I’m creating the conditions for successful work. The right conditions (and physical environment is just the tip of the iceberg) can raise the quality of your work and elevate your level of happiness and fulfillment. Here are four things to consider when creating ideal conditions for your work:
Consider your work schedule. Even if you keep a rigid nine-to-five schedule, you have some autonomy in how you split up your work tasks, how you group various work activities, and how you manage your time. I only recently discovered my ideal work schedule and it has made a huge difference. (I hate task switching. I prefer working on one thing for long stretches of time, so my schedule now reflects that.) Your schedule is definitely one of the ways you can create ideal conditions for successful work.
Working With Others
What about your ideal level of interaction at work? How much do you like connecting with and working with others? A little or a lot? And how many people do you like working with at once? These questions largely depend on your level of extraversion.
I’m extremely introverted, so I manage my time with others very carefully. Large groups (hell, even small groups) are just not my thing. In fact, I find them exhausting. If I’m speaking at a conference I’ll take regular “recharge” breaks by finding a quiet place to walk or sit by myself before joining the crowd again.
Digital vs. Analog
Something as simple as choosing to work using digital or analog tools might also play a part in creating your ideal conditions for successful work. Many of us are hunched over our computers and phones all day, but there are often opportunities to kick it old school with pen and paper. Sometimes switching from digital to analog makes your work drastically better, not to mention refreshing and more enjoyable.
I do too much editing and self-censorship when I write directly into my MacBook. I’m not as creative. I’ve heard similar remarks from graphic designers who prefer to sketch on paper before using software, and from business professionals working on everything from proposals to copywriting to events – people who say they think more creatively when they’re sitting with a writing instrument and a blank page. Haven’t stepped away from your screen in a while? Give it a whirl.
Other things to consider when you’re thinking about creating your ideal work conditions: Do you like to work with your hands? Do you want to make something? Be creative? Indoors or outdoors? Use your imagination? Use logic? Problem solve? Help others? How much structure do you like? How important is flexibility to you? What kind of people do you like to work with, if any? Do you like novelty or routine? How do you feel about commuting? Do you like mental work or physical work or a combination of both? What kind of office culture do you like? Do you prefer a big company or a small one or a startup or your own business? How important is salary? Commission? Benefits? Security? Mentorship? Creative freedom? The list goes on and on and on.
Even if you’re a traditional nine-to-fiver, you have more freedom than you think you do. But most of us rarely use it. Use that freedom to make some adjustments to your work conditions, and your work will feel better instantly.
Published at Entrepreneur
This is an adapted excerpt from Careergasm: Find Your Way To Feel-Good Work.