Optimizing Workspace for Productivity, Focus, & Creativity | Huberman Lab Podcast #57 - Deepstash

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The Science Of The Workspace

Optimizing Workspace for Productivity, Focus, & Creativity | Huberman Lab Podcast #57

Optimizing Workspace for Productivity, Focus, & Creativity | Huberman Lab Podcast #57

huberman lab


14.3K reads

Podcast: Key Takeaways

  • It will take about 6 minutes to settle into work and focus: unless you are very stressed or excited about something, don’t expect to be immediately focused the moment you sit/stand to work
  • As you optimize the workspace, the latency period (the time it takes to get fo...

The Light And The Noise

  • To be alert and maintain an optimal level of alertness, keep the screen or book at nose level or slightly higher up – ideally while standing or seated
  • For every 45 minutes you are focused on something, take a walk or relax your eyes and dilate your gaze for 5 minutes to avoid fatigue...

Attention And Posture

  • Tip to manage office interruptions: if someone enters your office or workspace, acknowledge their presence but don’t shift your body or reorient yourself
  • We weren’t designed to sit all day, but we shouldn’t stand all day either – a combination of about 50/50 is best

To build new habits & behaviours, leverage your body’s natural brain and body rhythms.

Phases of the day will invoke a shift in mood and mindset that are more conducive to building and keeping habits

Phase 1: 0-8 hours after waking up

  • This phase co...

Phase 29-15 hours after waking up

Levels of dopamine, epinephrine, and cortisol start to come down

Serotonin starts to rise and lends itself to a relaxed state of being – can be enhanced with a warm bath, yoga nidra, ashwagandha

Taper the amount of br...

Phase 316-24 hours after waking up

  • Keep the environment very dark or dim & room temperature low
  • The body needs to drop in temperature to fall asleep & stay asleep
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night, use as little light as possible
  • ...

Workspace Light: The Fundamental Variable Of Workspace Optimization

Vision and light are important components to set the brain in a high state of alertness

Being in a brightly lit environment can lend itself to increased productivity throughout the day, not just in the morning

Work in a space with as much overhead light as is safely p...

A ring light or light pad placed in front of you will also increase alertness and stimulate photons

  • Placing your desk near a window – and opening a window if possible – will stimulate eyes and send “wake up” signal during the first 7-8 hours of the day
  • Around 9-16 hours after w...

Lighting Tips For Night Owls

Around 17-24 hours after waking (shift workers or students): 

  • limit bright light to just enough that allows you to complete work to keep sleep and metabolism in the best shape possible;
  • if you want/need to be very alert, make the environment as bright as possible
  • It’...

Visual Focus

  • Where you physically place a screen or book in your workspace plays an important role in alertness
  •  When looking down toward the ground, neurons related to calm and sleepiness are activated
  • Ideally, work while standing or seated, not laying in bed or on the couch
  • Stan...

The High And The Low

Cathedral effect: thinking becomes smaller and more constricted in tighter visual fields, and vice versa

High ceilings versus low ceilings: high ceilings elicit abstract thoughts and creativity whereas low ceilings promote detailed and concrete work


Your Auditory Environment

  • Listening to particular sounds and in particular, conditions can improve cognition
  • Sometimes we want more background noise, sometimes we want less: our auditory tolerance can change from one day to the next and even fluctuate within the same day
  • Background noise to avoid: the...

Binaural Beats

  • Binaural beats place the brain into a state that is better for learning
  • Binaural beats: playing one sound in one ear and a different sound in the other ear
  • Low-frequency waves put the brain into a relaxed state versus high-frequency soundwaves which put the brain into more al...

Distractions and things that take away from tasks aren’t just bad in the moment, it takes time to get brain waves back into attention and focus

Tip: if someone enters your office or workspace, acknowledge their presence but don’t shift your body or reorient yourself

Sitting Vs Standing

  • We weren’t designed to sit all day – but we also weren’t designed to stand all-day
  • Just sitting for 5-8+ hours a day is terrible for us and can impact sleep, neck pain, cardiovascular system, muscular pressure  
  • A combination of sitting and standing throughout the day is best...

Active Workstations

  • There don’t seem to be any differences in cognitive tasks between cycling versus walking workstations
  • Active workstations are better for some tasks, worse for others: there appear to be improvements in attention and cognition when using active workstations versus seated – however – v...

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Conscious and unconscious salt intake and sensing modulate cravings for sugar, water, and other things have a direct relationship between the stress system (glucocorticoid system) and the salt craving system if you’re feeling anxious or stressed.



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