With the Right Tools, You Can Get Work Done in a Crammed, Loud Office

Has the following question ever crossed your mind: Are my workmates methodically trying to unravel my ability to get anything done? Well, maybe no one's deliberately trying to sabotage your productivity, but when you cram 30 people into a tiny space, it can happen. From the two coworkers loudly spoiling your favorite TV show to the newbie's alluring image search results for "adorable puppies," an office can be a minefield of distraction.

So how can you make sure you're maximizing your efficiency in a shared office space? One way is using office equipment you can rely on, like 21st century Post-It notes and equipment that helps you print like a boss. Read on to learn about a few simple changes you can make to keep you and your office focused and productive.

Eliminate Noise

People talk. You could tell them to put a sock in it, but that's kinda gross. Solution: headphones. Turning up the volume on your music is one way to tune out and focus on what's in front of you. And if you get noise-canceling headphones, you won't have to blast your music at top volume to block out conversations — hell, you'll even be able to listen to something quiet as you work. Try Bose's QuietComfort 15 headphones — they effectively cancel out noise while staying comfortably on your ears for long periods of time. (If you need more help choosing a pair, check out this guide.)

If listening to music kills your focus, try the Nature Sound Mixer. This free online app offers a selection of ambient sounds — rain, birds, fire, crickets, and so on. You can pick one or combine your favorites into a perfect mix of soothing sounds.

Prioritize

Prioritizing is essential when you want to complete pretty much any long-term goal. Every Monday, you most likely create a list of your to-dos for the week. The simple act of making tasks visible and allotting specific time for each ensures your days are spent actually accomplishing them. You can do this with Poketo's weekly and monthly Stick-Up Calendars. They're like Post-It notes, but way more action-inducing.

Another great tool is Behance's Action Method collection of notebooks and notepads. Each page is designed to help translate your thoughts into action. Take the Action Pad, for example. It provides four main areas for your notes:

  • Focus points before going into a meeting
  • Action items you identify during a meeting
  • Notes and sketches
  • Thoughts to put on the back burner

Bring your notebook into a solo or collaborative brainstorm, and you'll come out with a solid plan of action from the notes you jotted down.

Surround Yourself with Reliable Work Equipment

A successful workplace must be equipped with tools that facilitate productivity, not impede it. This means having a reliable and fast Internet setup, from your wireless router to your provider. It also means installing a backup system just in case — go for an external hard drive to save copies of your files, and set up regular auto-backups. When deciding on a computer, keep in mind the kind of work you do. If you're using hefty programs, you need a processor that can handle the load.

And of course, you need a dependable printer. Canon's Color imageCLASS LBP7110Cw printer is the speedy device that lets you print like a boss. Its wireless connectivity* means you can print from your desk, during a meeting, or even from your phone as you're walking in the door. A free Canon app** lets you print straight from your phone or tablet, so you can skip having to pull something up on your laptop. In just 18 seconds***, the first print will be in your hands — and with super fast print speeds of 14 pages per minute****, even big projects won't take long.

Canon also gives you the option of using a high-capacity toner cartridge for large-volume printing, which also enhances efficiency. This helps you save on both cost and the time you'd normally spend replacing lower volume-serving cartridges. And when the Canon imageCLASS isn't hard at work, its efficient energy-saving mode drops down to just four watts of power. With these features packed inside one desktop printer, it's the workhorse you can rely on to do what anyone at the office might throw at it, all without a hitch.

Get Comfortable

Our bodies are kind of like our own personal office equipment. If they're not working, we're not working. If you're uncomfortable at your desk, that great idea you just had might give way to "What's that weird pain in my wrist?"

Here are a few recommendations from OSHA on office ergonomics. Adjust your chair so your feet are on the floor and your hips are level with your knees. You'll want a chair that supports your lower back; if it doesn't offer enough support, use a small cushion. While typing or using a mouse, your wrists should be straight and not angled, your forearms should be level with your wrists and hands, and your upper arms should be perpendicular to the floor. Lastly, the top of your monitor should be at or just below eye level — this prevents neck strain.

Having the option of a standing desk is a good idea, too. Treadmill desks are even better. Studies show that sitting every day for eight hours isn't good for our health: standing helps us stretch our legs, prevents us from being overly static for long periods of time, and takes pressure off our vertebrae. Try a desk like the Terra by NextDesk (other options can be found in this roundup of the best standing desks. Studies have also shown that natural light and plants improve productivity and boost energy, so consider sitting next to a window or adding a fern to your desk to increase your efficiency.

With a Canon imageCLASS printer zipping through your biggest projects and noise-canceling headphones drowning out show spoilers, maybe you'll be able to ignore the fact that you have to share one bathroom with 30 coworkers. Maybe.

Lisbeth Ortega is a writer based out of San Francisco. She was head editor at Photojojo from 2010 to 2013. Her speciality is cameras, mobile photography, and tech. She waits years to develop film.

*Wireless printing requires a working network with 802.11b/g or 802.11n capability. Wireless performance may vary based on terrain and distance between the printer and wireless network clients.

**Requires Canon Mobile Printing app, available free on the App store and Google Play. Compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPad mini, iPad 4, the new iPad, iPad 2, and the original iPad running OS 6.0.1 - 6.1.2. Supports Android OS 2.3.3 - 4.2.2.

***May vary depending on the output environment.

****Print speed is based on internal testing. Print speed may vary depending on the number of copies selected as well as on the settings for size, type, and orientation of paper.

Canon makes no representations or warranties with respect to any third-party products mentioned herein.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Canon and Studio@Gawker.