A career in web design demands that you are continually operating in creative mode and maintain the ability to switch gears frequently to accommodate your client’s needs. Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that you keep those creative juices flowing and avoid burnout or creativity block.
Your workspace is one of the most important factors in enabling you to do your best work, so it is essential to optimize your office. Here is a list of things you may want to include in your space to get the most out of your workday, and keep your clients more than satisfied.
Water is essential for hydration, and dehydration can cause mental fog, fatigue, and lack of concentration. A mini cooler close by eliminates the problem of not having cool, clean water at your disposal all day.
Snack Drawer/Mini Fridge
Similar to dehydration, hunger and a sudden drip in blood sugar can cause problems with focus, creativity and sense of wellness. Having a place to stock a few healthy snacks to boost energy and improve your mood is a must. Nuts, dried jerky and fresh veggies are all great snacks that metabolize slowly.
A Comfortable, Ergonomic Seat
Seating is so important at maintaining comfort and proper body mechanics while working at your desk all day. Height should be at a level that the knees and hips are at ninety degree angles. You can choose from a nice traditional desk chair, or go for a more modern, core friendly balance ball chair to help with core strength and posture while you work. As a bonus, the proprioceptive input you get from a stability ball will keep your body sense alert and decrease the amount of distracting “fidgety” behaviors many people normally exhibit when seated for long periods.
A Proper Desk
Make sure the height of your desk is a level that allows proper body mechanics for typing, and puts your monitor at a level that is at or slightly above eye level. This will encourage an upright position, and prevent fatigue of the neck and upper back, which can be distracting. There are also several options for standing desks on the market. There is some evidence that suggests standing desks allow for optimized body mechanics and decrease the negative health effects of sedentary desk work, such as diabetes and heart disease.
A chaotic workspace makes concentrating difficult and interrupts creative flow. Office supplies and projects can be stored away in bins, cabinets or binders to avoid this issue. A clean desk is important in avoiding unwanted distractions.
Working in web design it is important to be able to anticipate your client’s needs and their desired outcome. Reference books can help you fine tune your design to appeal to their target market, while taking into account all of the requirements the client has placed on the project. Books on color psychology, marketing psychology, etc. will help in creating a strategy for building an effective website for your client.
Good lighting can keep you energized, and prevent eye strain. It’s best to avoid overhead fluorescent if possible. Natural light through windows and sky lights are nice, but if that’s not an option you can find a nice desk lamp and use a “natural light” bulb to mimic the sun’s rays in your office. LED lights are, by far, the brightest and most environmentally friendly option out there.
Whether you have a green thumb or not, having a small plant or flowers at your desk is shown to elevate your sense of well-being and decrease stress. Fresh cut flowers are nice, but the smell might be overwhelming, and leafy plants require a creating level of maintenance tend to be finicky indoors. A good choice is a cassoulet garden or air plants. They are low mess, low maintenance, and beautiful to look at.
For creative jobs, congruency in office materials can create a barrier to your flow. Mixing materials in your decor and furniture gives a more free feel. For example, a modern desk with a stainless base paired with natural wood or glass top can add character, as well as a small therapeutic fountain or a desktop mediation sand garden.
Road noise, coworkers chatting, phones ringing in…all of these can create distractions from your projects. Having an iPod dock for music or podcasts, white noise machine or even a small oscillating fan can provide you with enough sound to drown out environmental “static”. Make sure that it’s not too distracting for your coworkers.
One of the most difficult things to overcome when confined to a small office or desk space is the clutter of notes, lists and ideas. Sticky notes are convenient, but get lost easily and are difficult to organize. An LCD notepad can solve the clutter an disorganization while saving trees. Notes, sketches and doodles are written on the pad, then can be synced via USB to your tablet or computer for future viewing. There are a wide range of smart devices out there that offer similar benefits.
Digital Smart Pen
Much like the LED notepad, the digital pen will record your notes and download to your computer for future reference. What is unique about the smart pen is the ability to record audio and track back to specific points of the conversation using keywords. Extremely portable and convenient, this gadget is great on the go.
If you red seated in front of a computer all or most of the day, a set of computer glasses can save you from eye strain and potential headaches or other strain related conditions. They improve contrast and focus of the screen and can be made with prescription lenses to accommodate for any vision problems.
“JUST FOR FUN”
“Fidget” toys like magnetic sculptures or magnetic balls can help when distraction is needed, and can act as a therapeutic outlet to get you back on track.
Tangrams are ancient geometric puzzles that have been shown to increase spatial awareness, boost creativity, develop logical thinking and enhance problem solving abilities. They also help with perception.
A little pile of kinetic sand can go a long way. It’s an interesting combination of sand and silly putty, moldable but melty. Kinetic sand creates a calming, therapeutic effect and can calm while giving some extra sensory input that might be lacking in those that work long hours behind a desk. Especially for individuals that have difficulty with attention, a little sensory and proprioceptive activity can help them feel more grounded and ready to focus.
Let’s face it. If you love coffee, the office machine probably appears to be producing brown liquid that barely qualifies for java status. Espresso machines can give you a fresh cup of liquid gold any time you need it, and with the pod systems available, cleanup and filling is mess free and easy.