DIY Hacks: Set Your Desk Up for Awesome Productivity


It’s Wednesday afternoon at the office. Productivity is down, and you can feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into that middle-of-the-workday slump. Don’t despair! With just a few simple DIY hacks, you can create a desk space that will enable you to reach your optimum productivity levels and keep powering through your day.

If you think the way you set up your desk doesn’t affect productivity, think again.

Study after study has linked better workspace design with higher levels of productivity. And workspace design includes how you arrange your desk.

Chances are, your desk is where you spend a significant chunk of your time at work. In fact, one study found that in a typical week, people spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk.

Since so much of work takes place at the desk, it’s essential that you take the arrangement of your desk seriously. Because if you aren’t happy in your personal workspace, you’re just not going to be as productive as you could be.

So, set yourself up for success!

Keep reading for our DIY hacks for your office desk design.


Ergonomically improve your set-up.

The arrangement of foundational items such as your desk, chair, and monitor can have a huge impact on your productivity throughout the day.


Place these items within easy reach.

Of course, you want to keep all the things that you use regularly within close reach. This comes pretty intuitively for things like sticky notes, pens, and telephones.

However, here are some items you may not have thought of:

  • A stress ball. Squeezing a stress ball is a proven method for increasing productivity. The stress ball serves as a distraction. It takes your mind off work, which in turn helps you to focus better once you return to the task at hand.
  • Your water bottle. Research has shown that staying hydrated can significantly improve your productivity, in some cases by as much as 14%. Keep your water bottle close by and drink up!
  • An aromatherapy diffuser. A study by Northumbria University found a link between using aromatherapy and increased productivity levels. Herbs like sage, ginseng, rosemary, and lavender have all been shown to enhance mental performance. Get an actual diffuser or simply spritz your workspace with a spray bottle.


Give in to the tiny succulent craze.

If you’ve always wanted a tiny colored cactus, you finally have the excuse to buy one. Just consider it a “work investment.”

Research shows that having a plant at your office desk significantly increases productivity. In one study, adding houseplants to the office increased employee productivity levels by as much as 15 percent!

An added benefit of investing in a desk plant is that the color green has been shown to boost productivity levels as well.


Try these DIY hacks for file organization.

Create a system for managing paper flow, so you don’t end up neck-deep in disorganized files. Sort incoming papers into active, action, and archive piles.

This hack can also help you keep your online file flow in check. Immediately sort files you receive electronically into folders. This way, important documents won’t get lost deep within the banks of your computer’s memory banks.

The key to optimizing your files for productivity lies simply in creating a system of organization that allows you to stay on top of your game.


Include inspiring or feel-good mementos.

If you compare the desks of successful business people, you’ll discover that many will include personal items that inspire them or make them happy.

For example, the CEO of Mortgage Bankers Association keeps a framed copy of a commendation letter he received from President Obama in a place where he can see it from his desk. The letter reminds him of a personal career accomplishment, and that reminder subconsciously motivates him to do his best work.

You may not have a letter from the President, but there’s bound to be some other personal item that would inspire and motivate you to be more productive.

Framed photos of loved ones are a good option, as well as any small souvenirs or mementos that make you smile. As long as it makes you happy, it’s not clutter!

That leads us to our next hack.


Keep it clean (but not too clean).

Tidiness can certainly help with productivity. It’s hard to get much done if you’re constantly having to wade through old paperwork, trash, and other supplies in disarray. That being said, if your work involves creativity, you might not be doing yourself any favors by obsessively trying to tidy your desk.

If you take a look at the workspaces of some of the most creative geniuses ever, including Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs, you’ll notice that their desks were far from orderly. While you want to avoid having a slobby-looking desk, a certain amount of clutter is acceptable if that’s what gets your creative juices flowing.

And that point leads us into the last of our DIY hacks.


Customize your space to match your personal preferences.

Don’t feel obligated to follow these DIY hacks for your desk exactly in order to be more productive. While they’ve been proven to be helpful in some cases, every person is different. The most important thing is that your workspace is comfortable and functional to you personally.

Whatever approach you choose, these desk setup tips can help give you some ideas about how to optimize your desk for productivity.

Make your life easier. Try our DIY hacks for desk-optimized productivity today.

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