How to Set Up Your Office to Facilitate Deep Work
by Joe Frabotta
Finding success as a remote worker requires an understanding of productivity and how to be the best at your job. You should always be learning about work-related concepts and thinking about how you can master them. One crucial element of career success in the modern world is deep work. Here’s what it is and how you can optimize your office space to achieve it.
What is Deep Work?
Deep Work is a productivity book by Cal Newport that describes the concept of – you guessed it – deep work. Newport describes this as a period of work in which you are intensely focused on a single task. All your attention is dedicated to it and you’re in a flow state, where you’re finding yourself utterly absorbed by the task at hand.
This is the ideal state for remote workers. You’re able to get through your projects in record time, without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. This is also the kind of work that is most valued by employers. While traditional manual jobs don’t require as much intense focus, modern tech jobs revolve around a worker’s ability to concentrate.
The more you can achieve deep work, the more highly paid and professionally successful you’ll be. However, somewhat paradoxically, in an age when it’s never been more important to do deep work, it’s also never been harder. The same tech jobs that require concentration have created endless distractions.
Social media, remote communication tools, and breaking news alerts all interrupt your workflow. These prevent you from achieving deep work and getting all your tasks done. Without being able to go deep into a topic, you end up stuck in shallow work, which is relatively low-paid.
If you’re a remote worker looking to progress in your career, then here’s how you can help yourself achieve deep work more often.
Create a Work-Only Space
Deep work is a mindset and one you need to trick your brain into activating. The simplest way to do this is to keep your work and leisure separate. In the same way that you can improve your sleep by only using your bed as a place to rest, you can improve your work by having a work-only space.
If you opt to rent an apartment from Anyplace Select, then your workspace will be clear. You’ll have a desk set up with all your tech, prompting your brain to engage work mode. You can even put up your green screen to create a physical barrier between the office and the rest of your living space.
Ideally, you’ll have a separate room to work from. This could be a home office, a coworking space, or a local coffee shop. As long as you only use that coffee shop to work from and not for social meetups, then it can help you get in the zone.
Not everyone has this luxury, of course. Even if you’re working in your bedroom, though, you should carve out a space for deep work. This won’t guarantee that you achieve it every time but it at least gives you a fighting chance.
Fill Your Office with the Best Tech
Your career will only be as successful as how much you’re willing to invest in it. Many people are happy to splash out on Netflix subscriptions and social events but how much have you set aside for your job? If you have the best office tech helping you become a better remote worker, then you’ll achieve more deep work more consistently.
A fast computer helps you get through tasks with ease and efficiency. A stable internet connection allows you to conduct research in record time. Noise-canceling headphones will block out distracting noises and create a focused mindset. Ergonomic furniture helps you to maintain a healthy posture so you aren’t distracted by your aching body.
Tech is designed to help you work with efficiency and without the stress that comes with slow products that break often. You don’t have to buy it all at once but over time, you should aim to build up a solid collection of the most productive gadgets. Once you do, you’ll find it easier to achieve deep work.
Adopt a Minimalist Mindset
Minimalism aids focus while clutter acts as a distraction. Start learning about minimalism and understand exactly what it entails. It’s not about having as few possessions as possible but rather ensuring that anything you do own improves your life in some way. From a professional perspective, that means keeping the products that aid deep work and ditching everything else.
A clean, relatively empty desk limits distractions. If it’s just you and your laptop, then you’ve nothing else to look at but the task at hand. Naturally, your laptop is full of distractions, too, so block any sites that you don’t need for work.
Again, it’s not about getting rid of everything. Bringing in some plants can reduce stress, and increase well-being without causing a distraction. Artwork and gentle music offer a similar effect. You’re trying to make your workspace into a pleasant place that makes you feel calm and happy. Don’t opt for boring, white minimalist furniture if it doesn’t do that. If you feel at your best when working on an old solid oak desk, then go for it.
Do the Work You Love
The final thing you can do to increase your chances of achieving deep work is to try to do the work you love. It’s not always easy but it should always be a goal. If you can, turn down projects that you know you won’t enjoy. Even if it means lost income now, it can help you achieve more in the long run.
By taking on projects that you’re passionate about, you’ll find it easy to do deep work. You’ll be so invested in them, that you’ll focus more and dig deeper to achieve better results. Your clients will notice this and be more likely to offer you more work. You’ll receive resounding reviews and build up a more impressive portfolio. This, in turn, attracts more highly work that you love.
Everyone has to do work that they don’t enjoy but try to steer your career towards the stuff you really care about. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, then you’ll never achieve deep work. You’ll do the bare minimum and spend all day being distracted before turning in something that’s subpar and past the deadline. Avoid this by prioritizing the tasks that excite you.
Deep work has never been more important and yet harder to achieve. If you can master it, then there’s no limit to how far you can take your remote work career. Implementing the above tips won’t guarantee you always manage to achieve deep work but they’ll give you the best chance of doing so.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Joe Frabotta is the Director of Marketing at Anyplace. He's a part-time nomad, traveling + working throughout the year but also having a home base in the mountains of Asheville, NC. When he's not working, you'll probably find him playing guitar, doing a section hike on the Appalachian Trail, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.