6 Productivity Tips for Working at Your Desk

focus at your deskThere was a point in time when sitting down to work at my desk meant that more than 60% of my to-do list wouldn’t get done. Having a work station in my room is super convenient (especially as the weather gets colder), and I wasn’t making the most of it at all.

During the summer, I’d use my lack of focus in my workspace to explore different coffee shops and outside locations with wifi and a charging station that promoted getting things done. But now that autumn weather has slowed the frequency of my productivity adventures, I’ve made a few changes to my work habits and work stations to make it the perfect place to #GetThingsDone.

Design wise, I made sure that my workspace as a whole is conducive to actual work. I like to keep the walls around my desk clutter free, to avoid feeling too shut in or overcrowded. My desk decor is kept minimal: a mug to hold pens and utensils, two small containers for odds and ends, a lamp for late night work (natural light during the day), and always a generous supply of post-it notes at the ready.

Still, when I sit down ready to get into my work zone, these six tips help me focus hard and end the session with a conquered to-do list.

01. Stock up & bring all you need.

There is nothing worse than digging into work only to find I need to go out and re-stock on some desk essentials. It may only take my 15 minutes to run to the store and back, but that’s 15 minutes of work lost and a good amount of distraction gained. When I know I’m in for a work day, I always gather any and everything I need to make sure it’s in reach. Need coffee to keep you going? Brew enough to fill your entire work day (put the extra in the fridge for iced coffee later).

02. Separate yourself & make it known.

I usually keep my bedroom door open, but when I’m working at my desk, I shut the door so my roomies and any visitors know serious business is happening. You may not only have to separate yourself from physical people, the online world should also take a break. Share a post that you’re doing work and won’t be responding to emails, tweets or social media in general. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and close all tabs unrelated to your work.

03. Come ready for work

Working from home means you can totally spend hours working in your pajamas. But PJ’s make me think of bed, and sleep, which usually leads be away from my desk and under the covers. There’s no need to break out your favorite outfits, but coming to your desk ready to work makes a world of difference in your productivity. A simple outfit (that you’d run grab coffee in) can be the up your focus levels tremendously.

04. Eliminate distractions.

This seems obvious, I hope. The less distracted you are, the more likely you are to get things done. Clear your desk of any objects that you don’t need to get work done. Aside from the physical distractions, take a moment before you sit down to clear out the mental clutter, too.

05. Schedule a break.

If you know there’s lots to be finished, be sure to give yourself some time to stop and stretch. There’s nothing worse than halting your work just because you’re trying to work through antsy-ness. Take 5 minutes to walk around your home/workspace, stretch, take some deep breaths or have some water.

06. Make a done list!

Because nothing makes you feel more accomplished than celebrating all that you’ve gotten done!

Are you more or less productive in your workspace?


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  1. This is a great list! I think the thing that I need to work on most is stopping to take stand up and move around breaks.

  2. Great list, Amber! I find that I have waves for whether I’m productive at home or not. Living and working in a studio, it’s easy to get distracted. Going to a coffee shop has always helped me focus and be 10x more productive in a smaller amount of time, but come winter I have one major trick up my sleeve: to rearrange my apartment! Having a fresh arrangement tricks my brain.

  3. I love the “make a done list” idea…being a lover of list-making, I can definitely do that! 😉

  4. Do Not Disturb on the iPhone has to be the best feature EVER! Putting my phone on the other side of the room def helps a ton too. Great tips!

  5. I get distracted super easily with every intention on finishing everything that I need to get finished aaaand it doesn’t happen. I’ll definitely try these tips 😀

  6. 15 minutes to go down to the stationery shop turns into two hours after I’ve been to the supermarket to get my dinner, checked out what’s new in my favourite costume jewellery shop and while I’m out, might as well have lunch!
    Scheduling a break is a must. Even if its just to go outside and hang out the washing or take my dog for a walk for an hour. Must dos. Love the post, babe!

  7. Great tips! I totally agree with not working in your pj’s – I always feel so much more productive in regular (comfy) clothes! Just discovered your blog through Jen Purr + am a fan already 🙂

  8. These are seriously great tips! I’ve implemented most of them in the past but have gotten out of the habit (you’re right winter is such an unmotivator) Looking forward to kicking it up a notch again now

  9. I also get a lot of mileage out of disconnecting my computer from the internet.

  10. Nice list, Amber! Oh, perfect place to #GetThingsDone – is it real?))
    I can`t suggest more useful tips, like yours. But I can suggest you a couple of great tools, that I use at my home office: Asana and https://casual.pm/ – they increase my productivity. Casual, for example, lets you organize tasks & ideas the way they look in your mind. You plan and execute your activities as visual workflows. Maybe, you’ll find it useful too!

  11. I love these tips – I’m awful at staying focused so definitely need to do more of these! x

  12. I’ve come to realize that I’m more productive if I put my desk a) in front of a mirror or b) in front of a window. Haha I know that sounds really weird. The first seems to work better than the latter. For some reason if I can see myself, it makes me want to work. Maybe I don’t like seeing myself looking lazy? lol!

    • Haha! That’s really interesting, but at least it works!!


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