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Matt Ventre


10 Ways to Improve Your Workspace for Positive Health and Creative Outcomes

    1. Declutter

    It's cliche, I think, but I notice a difference between my mental output and whether or not my desk or workspace is a disaster.

    2. Standing Desk

    I used to love sitting for hours, engrossed in my work, but now I just get so antsy and impatient and I want to be moving more. And, my sitting posture, no matter how much I practice, eventually turns to crap.

    3. Walking Foot/Treadmill at Desk

    They make these mini treadmills you can put under your desk so you can get some steps in while you're working at the computer etc. I can't wait to try it. Yes, you should go for walks in nature or outside and just think and decompress, but more steps in general = better health.

    4. Second Monitor

    If you're still on one monitor and you do creative or other intensive computer work you're missing out. You need two - and divide them intentionally. Don't throw things aroudn willy nilly. One is for once-in-a-glance items: music/podcasts, videos, chats or email. The central one is for flow-space work: Word/writing word processing, photoshop/visual editing, coding, etc.

    5. Close Social Media on Your Computer 99% of the Time

    There's no reason to have twitter open while you're trying to work. You'll just scroll twitter. Knock it off. Block it if you have to.

    6. Invest in a Hardware Ad Blocker

    I use a little raspberry pi device loaded with a special OS called "pi hole" that routes all ad traffic coming into my network into this dumpster where it never encounters any of my devices ever. Will drastically reduce the amount of distracting advertising you receive while trying to work or browse or study.

    7. Use a software blocker as backup

    I use uBlock origin. I also don't allow the media sob story popups that cry for my advertising eyeballs. If your story is good enough to read without ads, I'll pay (which is almost never because someone else will summarize it on twitter for free and better anyway). This also keeps your computer safer from spyware and tracking.

    8. Get a well-adjusted desk lamp.

    LEDs are now ubiquitous, but you can really mess up your energy with high lumen, mismatched color temperature diodes. I have a cheap snake arm ring light attached above my monitor that has a wide range of dimming settings and 3 colors temps (warm, medium and sunlight) and I match the color and intensity to the time of day and activity (and it acts as a nice key light when on camera).

    I can't understand how people function with 7000K 300 lumen LEDs blaring into the night - my head would explode.

    9. Yes, you can also play where you work, but be intentional about it.

    There is something to the "don't work where you play/vice versa" argument, but I think it's too extreme for most people to pull off if they work from home or are entrepreneurs with a home office.

    I know personally I don't have the space or even need for two high powered game-ready PCs. I have one place and one PC in that place. I use it for both work and play when necessary (I also have a Macbook for travel and some Apple-exclusive software I need).

    What this gets to is that people will tend to goof off if given the chance. Duh. And some psychology suggests that your environment triggers a learned response: so if I play here all the time, i'm more likely to want to get into a play zone than a work zone.

    I have to say: I engage in both deep work and deep play in this same spot and they both turn out great.

    Could they be individually better? Possibly, but I don't know how to measure the marginal gains in either direction so I don't sweat it.

    That said: should you work from a couch? Probably not. Should you try to put your desk in a room full of whacky colors, game boxes, and toys? I doubt it.

    10. Leave that space. Often.

    Even if you work in an office, get out of it a bunch when you can. Whatever you do, don't stew in that spot for 8 hours a day. You need to move, your brain needs stimulation that a computer screen or chuckling coworker can't provide you.

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