So, you’ve made it. You’ve achieved what is, for many of us, the dream—working from home, with all the
freedom, flexibility, and DISTRACTIONS
you could ever ask for. Gone are the romantic aspirations of astounding creativity, replaced with the not-so-colorful mediocrity of an unengaging home office, or better yet, living room couch.
Allow me to introduce Sarah Pugh, a graphic designer, sneakerhead, interior design enthusiast, and most recently, Showit support pro based in Arizona. From building websites on Showit to renovating the Airbnb she recently completed with her husband, Matt, Sarah is no newcomer to the intersection of aesthetics and productivity.
Sarah and Matt have started their latest renovation project just a few miles from Showit HQ, and having lived in and flipped a number of houses, Sarah's learned a thing or two about how a creative space can help you be more productive. So straight from the expert's mouth, here are 7 budget friendly ways to improve your workspace so you can be more productive this year.
A comfortable office chair with adequate support like this one can be monumental in improving your workflow. In fact, according to entrepreneur.com, simply upgrading your office chair can increase your productivity by up to 17.5%.
Along with productivity, why not find a chair that really reflects your personality? Sarah has been careful to keep her office setup cost effective, but she hopes to one day add her dream chair, in the ‘coral’ color selection, of course. The nearly $600 price tag on this chair doesn’t land it in the ‘budget’ category, but for those for whom the wallet is less of a factor, this would be a great option to consider.
For some it may go without saying, but keeping your caffeine fix within an arm’s reach can save you a mid-day trip to the nearest Starbucks, and in turn, increase your productivity that much more this year. A study from Honest Coffee found that the average worker spends 18 hours per year dropping out to get coffee, and while the research was specific to residents of the UK, we can’t help but see a correlation across the pond.
“But I can’t make it like they do,” you might say. Well friend, it’s easier than it looks, and with a bit of time on Youtube (here’s one of my favorites creators on the topic), you might just find yourself to be quite the barista after all.
For Sarah, coffee is about more than a boost of energy; she has a true love for the tastes and smells, adding a bright spot in her daily routine. “Every morning I make my black coffee (always hot, even if it’s summer) on my very old (and incredibly functional) Nespresso,” Sarah says. “When I have good coffee beans, I use my vintage drip coffee maker. I keep it simple (no sugar or creamer) and budget-friendly. I fit the box of pods into my grocery budget, and I don’t buy coffee out more than once a week, normally on the weekend, because who has money to buy a $7 cup of coffee every day! But I love coffee. Friends gift me coffee beans instead of flowers. I love my coffee.”
Functional artwork is a great way to liven up your workspace, particularly in small home offices where opportunities to fit decor in around the necessities may be limited. Sarah chose this wall calendar ($60 from Amazon) to combine form with function, adding a bold focal point to her home office. She finds that a statement piece like this boosts her creativity, while allowing her to visualize the tasks she has to do, and as a result, pushes her to stay more productive.
Sarah uses a highlighter to keep track of her schedule and tasks, preserving the bold simplicity of the calendar.
Nothing brings the good vibes like a great candle or a few drops of your favorite essential oil. And along with good vibes, according to self.com, research shows that aromatherapy can increase mental acuity and productivity. In fact, studies have even shown increased productivity and less stress between different scents, with lavender being one of the most effective, as it may lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone many of us could use a little less of.
We had Sarah’s diffuser running during our shoot, and I can confirm, it’s a game changer.
You may be surprised how much more productive you can be this year, simply by adding new plants in your home office. In fact, plants can have profound effects on mental health, and consequently, drive creativity and productivity. One way plants have been shown to benefit productivity is through an idea known as the attention restoration theory, in which studies have shown that plant-induced ‘restoration’ of attention can be quite beneficial to staying on task. The chart below shows the cycle of attention, and with plants filling the ‘effortless attention’ category.
Sarah is currently kept company by a montserrat and dracaena, both of which have been faithful companions for over a year. If you find yourself thinking, ‘I can’t keep plants, I always kill them,’ you can’t go wrong with these two, or a healthy pothos, found at any home store or nursery. If houseplants aren’t an option, a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park is a great alternative.
Adding an extra screen or two to your setup is a great way to organize your thoughts and visualize projects as they come together. Even a budget friendly option like this $100 monitor is sufficient to de-clutter your process, and in turn, help you be more productive this year.
While for some this may be the end of productivity, Sarah has found that playing her favorite playlists, TV shows and movies in the background keeps her productive throughout the day. Interestingly, she’s not alone, with studies revealing how background noise, even background noise from TV shows or movies, can increase productivity, in a similar fashion to how the ambiance of a coffee shop can get those creative juices flowing. Gilmore Girls, anyone?
With these tips in mind, take your workspace from lacking in creativity to highly productive, and watch your business reap the benefits this year. At Showit, we’re in your corner, and can’t wait to watch you crush your goals in 2023!
P.S. We live and breathe creative freedom, (it’s even in our mission statement), and if you haven’t given us a try, we truly think you should! You can read about why so many website designers prefer Showit over other platforms, or jump right into your 14 day free trial and start building the website of your dreams.
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