The environment around you can have a profound effect on how you feel and function and whether you feel creative, focused and relaxed. Creating an energetic environment around you can have positive effects on your health,efficiency, enjoyment and speed of completing certain tasks.Top 10 tips for your ideal workspace:

  1. DESK – position and shape. A curved desk is better than one with hard, sharp lines and corners.
  2. SURFACE AREA – ensure there is sufficient space for your computer equipment, phone, papers and documents.
  3. SPACE – ensure there is enough space under your desk and not cluttered with boxes, bags or other items.
  4. LIGHTING – ensure you have direct lighting on the desk area but not causing a glare on the computer screen.
  5. CHAIR – adjust your chair for comfort. Ensure your feet are firmly on the floor. Your lower back should be supported to maintain the natural curve of your spine. Adjust the height of the seat and seat angle so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees.
  6. KEYBOARD – if you are using a keyboard, you should be able to rest your fingertips lightly on the keyboard with your elbows at approximately right angles to the surface of the desk, with your upper arms relaxed at the side of your body. Your wrists should be straight and your forearms parallel to the desktop.
  7. SCREEN – adjust it to ensure your head is upright and not pushed forward or back to see the screen.
  8. VIEW – what is it like from your desk? Can you rest your eyes by looking out of a window or focusing on something else in your office.
  9. SOUND – if you have an office area at home or can use personal audio equipment, consider listening to background music to help enhance creativity. Certain music such as Baroque has been found to be particularly effective in enhancing creativity, stimulating learning and memory.
  10. PLANTS – consider fresh flowers or plants. Not only are they nice to look at but they also help remove harmful ions which are found around electrical equipment such as computers, faxes and photocopiers and can cause people to feel lethargic and tired.

To find out more about courses on Managing Energy Levels, including nutrition and physical exercise, visit the Illumine website.

This article first appeared in Teaching Expertise, April 2005.