10 Things I Hate About Your Workspace

Posted on 04. Oct, 2009 by in Lists, Motivation, Workspace

10 Things I Hate About Your Workspace

The journey toward success will begin from your workspace. A bad workspace will leave your amazing mind uninspired. I was recently asked by a colleague, “How can I change my workspace to become more inspired?”. I gave him the following advise.

I hate the following about your workspace:

1. It is grey

People are such that their mood will reflect their surroundings and colour is perhaps the first thing which defines a surrounding. Bright vibrant colours will make you feel bright and vibrant and similarly a dull and grey workspace will make you feel depressed.

Try injecting some colour, it is the most effective way of lifting your mood and creating an inspiring workspace.

2. Lifeless

Plant”life” will add life into your workspace. A workspace full of lifeless machinery and lifeless books could really do with some life. A plant is a perfect way of adding nature to a dead workspace.

The best plant to use, in my opinion, is a bonsai tree. Any household plant, however, can be a healthy addition. Remember photosynthesis – the plant will even give off a creative juice known as oxygen.

3. It is dark

Try to have your workspace near a window. The scenery is secondary to the light which will flood onto you and your workspace making you feel bright.

An alternative of moving your entire workspace is to install mirrors and lights in order to reflect the light around the room.

4. Your wooden chair

Okay, it may not be wooden, however my gluteus maximus would disagree! A comfortable bottom will aid you to work for longer and more efficiently and productivity will thrive. I would not worry about price too much, as I believe my chair has paid its due.

5. Your dying desk

A crumbling brown grazed desk is a minor point perhaps, but compare it to a glass table, or one with more colour and you will see the advantages before you. The majority of your work is done on your desk, so it should help elevate your creativity.

6. One monitor

This may not apply to everyone, but personally, an extra monitor has really helped my productivity rocket. I have found that the brain will work certain areas at certain times and I can take advantage of this by using dual monitors. For example, I can write in one monitor and when I am tired of that, continue with something else on the other monitor and thus multi-task.

7. Wires

Wires can look unpleasant and sometimes even be dangerous. I would recommend that you buy a wire tidy, it is hardly expensive and will hide any wires around your monitor and on the floor. This will look better and could save your life (I know how cheesy that sounds!)

8. No whiteboard

A freelancer spends a lot of the time planning and scheduling their work. This is because of the level of self-discipline which a freelancer must possess in order to become successful. A whiteboard, therefore, is a mandatory investment.

A whiteboard can help you in several ways. If you choose to have it near your monitor, you will be forced to look at it several times a day and therefore help keep you on top of your objectives. If you have it further away, it will give you the opportunity to get off your arse!

9. Smell

Your workspace can begin to smell of your body odour or even smelly socks. This can be off putting and hardy helps creativity to thrive. Try an air refresher or some incense, although personally I hate incense sticks, they may work for you.

10. Lack of Oxygen

This ties in with the above point, however this is not only just about odours. I have experimented with workspace and found a park, river bank or any part of nature is what gives me the most inspiration. One of the core reasons as to why it is such an inspiration is due to the fresh air and good supply of oxygen. Your workspace does not have to be any different, open windows and let that outside freshness in!


One of the privileges of being a freelancer is the freedom to manipulate our surroundings to our taste and liking. An employee sitting squashed at a desk in a grey office does not have the freedom to do all of the above points. You do, so appreciate it and make the most of it.

Now it’s your turn. What changes have you made to your workspace to boost inspiration? Please tell us below, its great to share knowledge and experience.

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28 Responses to “10 Things I Hate About Your Workspace”

  1. Jennifer

    05. Oct, 2009

    I’m ancient. I only have one monitor! I keep telling myself to add another. I must! I need a big whiteboard too. The little on no longer cuts it. Thanks for the post

  2. Pam - Ryvon Designs

    05. Oct, 2009

    Great tips!

    I have a combination whiteboard / cork board because I always find I am scribbling notes when not in the office, and posting them up really helps to keep me motivated and on track…in addition to expanding on them with the whiteboard.

    I’ve also found that bringing in nature in HUGE. Not just an open curtain or open window….real plants. SO glad you mentioned them. They’re always growing and changing, they freshen the air, and just make the place more alive. I can’t imagine not having them draping around. I’m a bigger fan of big leafy vines and cute ferns. I’d feel terrible if something happened to a bonsai, and I think I’d miss it and have trouble working for a bit. LOL

    I also know having TOO many trinkets can be a bad idea and distracting, but I like to do what you mentioned….bring in color. Few fun items spaced around can also be inspiring ^_^

    I can’t wait to hear the other comments!


  3. Catherine Azzarello

    05. Oct, 2009

    #9…LOL! I’ve been seriously trying to talk my husband into installing an exhaust fan in my office.


    Because I have two dogs who must be as close to me as possible all. day. long.

    The older dog, Louis, farts. A lot.

    I want an exhaust fan under the desk to suck the odor out into the garage–before it reaches me!

  4. Matt

    05. Oct, 2009

    I really need to get on the chair-buying. In fact, I don’t even have a chair, I have to borrow my girlfriend’s when she’s off at school all day.

  5. Neil Sweeney

    05. Oct, 2009

    I have a gerbil in my office so smell can be an issue. Despite being clean creatures, the particular gerbil in the office hates having litter in her toliet bowl. So incense sticks are an absolute must for me and I think they work better than any other smelly stuff.

    Also, being next to a window is so important for oxygen and heat (and smell!) as I often have mine open even in the colder months. But becareful of light with those glossy iMac screens. Unless you got a good matt screen, make sure the light doesn’t reflect off the screen.

    Finally, the chair is as important as the computer and screens. A good chair means the diference in back issues and comfort. I’ve messed my back up so much snowboarding (badly) so I decided to go out without a budge and by a chair. If I was allowed, I would sleep in my office chair!

  6. Shoaib

    05. Oct, 2009

    Pam – well said, things must be in the right proportions and I have seen some workspaces in which naught was going wrong until they started putting up too many paintings or overcrowding.

    Catherine – LOL. I have this image in my head of Louis farting and you running away from a fart cloud! Although I’m sure that’s hardly what happens!

    Matt – You can probably get a cool deal on ebay or craigslist. If money isn’t an issue I would recommend a leather one.

    Neil – you raised an excellent point about the screen reflecting light, I forgot to mention that. Thanks for the tip.

  7. Adam Haney

    05. Oct, 2009

    I totally agree with the comfy chair advice. I just changed chairs a few months ago, and not only am I more productive, my neck doesn’t hurt anymore which makes my general quality of life better.

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  9. Yofie Setiawan

    06. Oct, 2009

    Really correct! i need to buy new comfortable chair haha…

  10. [...] gente de FreelanceShack hizo una lista de 10 características que los escritorios no deberían tener para ser perfectos. [...]

  11. Arvii

    07. Oct, 2009

    The chair! The desk!

  12. [...] debido a que con estos no logramos tener la atención al máximo en nuestro proyecto.Vía – Freelanceshack Esta entrada ha sido publicada por: Jorge Salinas el Miércoles, 7 de octubre del 2009 a las [...]

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  14. Alex Peterson

    08. Oct, 2009

    The only thing wrong with my workspace is that it’s at home! Otherwise i have a great green view from the window and tea on tap!

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  19. Lynda

    16. Oct, 2009

    I agree with everything said, and I have most of it. I’ve worked with 2 monitors now for about 3+ years, and I just recently added a 3rd monitor. It, too, has made a BIG difference in productivity even over the 2 monitors. Biggest advice is to get a VERY good chair; one that’s 24/7 rated, very adustable. This can be expense at first, but it should also survive well past its investment compared to the cheaper chairs having to be replaced more often due to breakdown.

  20. Mondo Print

    17. Oct, 2009

    I hate gray, dull workspace more than anything. I like bright colors, inspiring art and other creative things surrounding me. It really keeps your own creativity and overall moral up and soaring. I even keep a bulletin board up that I can swap out cool images I’ve found frequently so that my surroundings are always changing.

    Thanks for the advice! Odor is a major turnoff too LOL.

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  23. Kathryn Robinson

    25. Oct, 2009

    Get organized! Nothing kills my inspiration more than a cluddered or dirty work area. Nothing is on my desk except for my computer and project. Everything else is tucked out of sight in trays and files. The less on my desk the less chance I will be distracted.

  24. clippingimages

    28. Oct, 2009

    WoW :) Awesome tips on workspace. Thanks for sharing this nice post.

  25. Agustin

    30. Oct, 2009

    Multitasking IS A MYTH!!! no such thing, brain doesn’t work that way, not even for women (who usually claim the multitasking feat).

  26. Twitted by 107designs

    18. Nov, 2009

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  28. guest

    23. Nov, 2010

    My “workspace” is hell. I had a modest but OK office for many years, and they restricted locally and needed more room for more people (which is a good thing, of course). However, I was annexed to a “cubie” if you can call it that in a room that used to be ONE person’s office and now is THREE-three “cubicles” but are really just counters with a couple drawers. It’s grey, it’s ugly, there are no windows, it’s stuffy, there is no such thing as an iota of privacy there… how many monitors? I HAD 2 in my old office, but this hell hole only has room for one. All this, in a CREATIVE field/job…. I think I need a new job.

    Thanks for listening to my rant.

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