Feeling Uninspired? 10 Office Tweaks to Renew Your Productivity

Joel Lee 30-10-2017

Productivity and motivation go hand in hand. When you’re inspired, work flows out of you like water out of a spring; when you’re uninspired, it’s like taking blood from a stone. You can’t be motivated all the time, of course, but it sure does help when you are.


What can you do when motivation is elusive? You have two options.

The first is to wait and hope it strikes, which could take weeks or months. The second is to somehow force inspiration to strike. How do you do that? By injecting a bit of freshness and novelty into your workspace. It really works! Here are some ways to do that.

1. Use Different Fonts

Fonts absolutely matter. Whether you’re working on project reports, thesis papers, short stories and novels, or programming projects, you must read onscreen text. Text is displayed with fonts. Some fonts are easier on the eyes than others, and some fonts can even read faster.

Feeling Uninspired? 10 Office Tweaks to Renew Your Productivity productivity fonts sans serif

Did you know that changing fonts can inspire new motivation? If you’ve been using Arial or Times New Roman or Courier New for years, you may feel like work has grown stale. Try changing to Roboto, Georgia, or Source Code Pro. Try serif to sans-serif, or vice versa.


Such a tiny change can breathe in new life. I personally change fonts every 6-8 months, and it always helps. Seriously, every time!

2. Change Desktop Wallpapers

We all know that the paint color of walls can have subtle but real influences on our attitudes, mindsets, and psychology. Why don’t we treat our desktop wallpapers the same way? If you feel like a room is stale, you paint it something fresh. Why not give your desktop a makeover?

We have an article on boosting your productivity through desktop wallpapers 6 Desktop Wallpapers to Increase Your Productivity Your desktop wallpaper may be the last untapped productivity source. We show you how to harness it to get more stuff done. Read More , but you don’t need a “productivity wallpaper” per se. Just the simple act of switching to something new can be mentally refreshing, enough to inspire you — at least for a time. As with fonts, I change my desktop wallpaper every few months for this reason.

3. Change System Themes

You probably don’t take much notice of window borders, colors, or the Taskbar, but your mind certainly does. These things sit in your periphery and subtly influence you, much in the same way as paint on walls. The default blue of Windows 10 is pleasant, but is it best to keep it?


Feeling Uninspired? 10 Office Tweaks to Renew Your Productivity productivity windows system colors

Again, any color is fine as long as it’s different. I went through a phase where I used the “Iris Spring” color on Windows 10, and I believe the atypical color played a huge part in my productivity during that phase. You could also try these Windows 10 dark themes The Best Windows 10 Dark Themes for Your Eyes Windows 10 has its own dark theme now. But try these other Windows dark theme customizations too and prevent eye strain. Read More or use this nifty color-changing utility How to Customize Any Color in Windows 10 With One Free Tool Despite cries to the contrary, Windows 10 does offer a healthy amount of personalization. But what if you want to do more? You can either dig through the Registry... or use this free tool. Read More for more control over what you can color in Windows 10.

4. Clean Up Your Desk

Have you heard of cognitive clutter? The act of seeing or hearing clutter, even only in our periphery, requires our brains to continually process that visual and audio information. This subconscious processing adds to cognitive load and consumes brain energy. Even so-called harmless clutter can speed up mental fatigue.

You can learn more in our article on why clutter is really bad for you Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You — But Why? Decluttering is a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment — but there's more to it than that. This simple habit can improve your life. Read More . Fortunately, addressing it is relatively easy: clean your desk! Not just what’s on it, but everything around it and below it — including messy computer cables 5 Ways to Clean Up Computer Cable Clutter Under Your Desk Cable clutter is one of technology's biggest annoyances. Here's how to organize and arrange the cables under your desk. Read More . Going completely wireless would be ideal, but if you can’t, we have some tips on concealing cable clutter How To Conceal Your Computer Clutter: Same Cables, More Space Despite decades of technological advancement the average home computer is still plagued by one obvious yet complex issue – cable clutter. Many home PCs are still plagued with more grasping tentacles than a low budget... Read More .


5. Rearrange Your Desk

Once your desk is clean and decluttered, you may want to consider shifting things around. Some things have to stay put of course, such as computer monitors, keyboards, and mice. But anything else that can be moved around should be moved around.

Feeling Uninspired? 10 Office Tweaks to Renew Your Productivity productivity workstation arrangement

Is your computer tower on your desk? Move it to the other side, or move it to the ground. Got photos of your family? Shift them around or hang them on a wall. Relocate paper inboxes, desk organizers, printers, etc. Something as simple as this can stave off that feeling of “same old, same old” that creeps up on you after a while.

6. Move Your Desk

Not everyone can do this, but if you can, I highly recommend it: move your desk to a spot with as much natural light as possible (i.e. sunlight). Humans thrive much more in natural light environments than artificial light environments. Find a window and relocate.


Furthermore, aim for a spot that minimizes distractions. The ideal spot is a comfortable (i.e. neither too small nor too large) room where you can be alone and is solely dedicated to work. You enter, you work, and you leave when you need breaks or when you’re done for the day.

But even if you can’t do any of the above, the simple act of moving your desk anywhere else can jumpstart the part of your brain that loves novelty (i.e. new experiences), and this alone can inspire you with a boost to motivation and productivity. I try to change desk locations at least once a year.

7. Add a Light Therapy Lamp

Does your workspace lack natural light? Are you cooped up for hours on end, only getting outdoor exposure when you travel between indoor locations? Do you often feel tired, listless, anxious, or fatigued? Does it get worse in the winter?

Feeling Uninspired? 10 Office Tweaks to Renew Your Productivity productivity light therapy lamp verilux

If you answered Yes, then you may suffer from a kind of environmental depression, and this can severely impact productivity. It’s not the same as clinical depression. It’s a state of mind that comes from spending too much of your time in artificial and unnatural conditions.

Light therapy lamps aim to replicate the benefits of natural light. Just 30 minutes of exposure per day can work wonders, and you can keep it tucked away by your desk. Here are some recommended light therapy lamps The 5 Best Sunlight Lamps for Winter Depression and Light Therapy If your depression only occurs in the winter months, it's likely seasonal and may be treatable with a sunlight lamp. Read More to get started. It’s truly a tech purchase you won’t regret 11 Tech Purchases You Won't Regret Making Buyer's remorse is no fun -- but with these 11 tech purchases, you won't have anything to worry about. If you're on the fence about any of them, it's time to buy. Read More .

8. Add or Repot Plants

According to a 2014 study by Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, researchers found that plants in an office workspace can increase productivity by up to 15 percent — and not just productivity, but also workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality.

Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.

Previous studies have also shown to that plants can reduce stress, increase attention spans, and improve overall mental health. Is your desk spartan and greenless? Consider buying a few plants — desk-sized ones aren’t too expensive — and see how they impact your own work.

9. Adjust Room Temperature

According to a 2006 study by a researcher at the Helsinki University of Technology, the optimal temperature for office productivity is between 70 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 22 degrees Celcius). Every additional degree results in reduced performance, with a 9 percent decrease in overall productivity at 86 degrees (90 degrees Celcius). Presumably, colder temperatures are also worse.

Feeling Uninspired? 10 Office Tweaks to Renew Your Productivity productivity office thermostat

Obviously not everyone has the same optimal working temperature, and maintaining a 70-72 F range can be expensive during hot summer months, but use it as a guideline. Aim for a temperature that’s slightly colder than “comfortable.”

10. Drop and Give Me 10

According to a 2008 study by a researcher at the University of Bristol, exercising during the workday improves performance and mood for the rest of the day. On days without exercise, performance and mood may not change but “sense of calm” decreases over time.

Exercise-related improvements include better time management, better mental sharpness, more tolerance of self, and more forgiving attitudes toward colleagues.

So if you feel a slump coming on during the workday, or if you feel a mental haze and lack of motivation, then a few minutes of physical activity may help. Check out these exercises you can do at your desk Get Fit at Your Desk With These Quick Exercises With so many easy office workouts and fitness apps available today, not exercising is no longer an excuse. Get fit while you're at work with these tips. Read More , and supplement them with these stretches for office workers 6 Stretch Exercises to Fix Your Posture & Change Your Life Simple stretch exercises can fix "Computer Back" and "Text Neck". Spend five minutes on these videos and a few more on the exercises to reverse the damage caused by sitting at your desk. Read More .

How Do You Renew Work Productivity?

These tips and tricks may help boost motivation and productivity in the short run, but don’t look to them as permanent solutions. You may have drains in your life that are weighing you down and sapping your energy. If so, you have to tackle the root issue, whatever it may be.

A few more tips and tricks that may prove useful:

How often do you feel slumps at work? What do you do to renew your motivation and productivity? Got any tips for us? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos

Related topics: Creativity, Inspiration, Motivation, Productivity, Workspace.

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