How do you keep up with your work and stay productive when you are working from a place where, let’s be honest, work is the last thing that comes to mind? Working from home has become a completely normal concept and sounds enticing to most of us, but it’s not as easy as it sounds when you have your every day distractions within a few feet from you at all times. The best way to ensure you are staying on-task and getting your work done is to create a space that separates your daily living from your work.
These 5 tips below will help you create a home office that not only looks great, but helps you stay on task and continue getting your job done!
The first thing you will want to do when creating your home office is to dedicate a space where you will be doing your work. Not all of us have a room that we can claim as an office, so you might have to get creative and create a space that you now claim as your work-zone. This can be something as simple as a room in the house with little traffic, a reading nook, or even a part of the dining room table that never gets used.
Try to avoid choosing a space where you perform other key daily tasks, such as a bedroom or living room. When you work in the same place you sleep it can be easy to get back into bed at any time for “five more minutes”. The same goes for the living room and/or kitchen, as it’s easy to stop working and find something else to do. You will want to separate your work life and your actual life as much as possible to make it easier for you to eliminate distractions and give your full attention to your job.
Once you have your workspace picked out, it’s time to create a place that you WANT to work in. This will make it easier for you to “go to work” each day and spend time in the place you are most productive. Simple things can really pull your workspace together and make it an enjoyable area for you to be in – you’ll be there a lot so may as well enjoy it!
It can be helpful to place yourself near a window to give yourself a view, or find some inspirational quotes to have nearby that can give you that extra boost of energy on some days (Monday). Think of it as finally getting an office with a window! Additionally, investing in a quality chair and/or desk can be a really good idea to ensure you are comfortable – especially if working from home is a long-term reality for you. Get some speakers and allow yourself to enjoy music or podcasts while you work, this can really help keep your mind on your tasks and not wanting to get up and find a distraction.
Even if you don’t choose to create your workspace near a window, try to allow for your space to have some natural light. Natural lighting has many positive effects on the body, such as boosting vitamin D, warding off seasonal depression and reducing health risks of fluorescent lighting. But aside from the benefits of natural lighting (which are important), it’s nice to let some of the outside IN while you are working and can be a nice way to create a peaceful environment to work in.
Additionally, if you have a workspace with adequate natural lighting you can start to introduce plants to your home office. Plants have been proven to improve your mood, reduce fatigue and improve office performance and focus. These friendly green friends also can help to give your home office a vibe and make it aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big plant or small one but consider one for your space!
Now that you have your home office exactly where you want it, (you’ve added a chair and bought a plant you aren’t sure how to keep alive but are going to try anyway) you want to make sure to keep it clean and clutter-free. Make sure you take your morning coffee mug to the sink each day and pick up any notebooks or utensils that you used throughout the day. This is especially important if your home office converts to something else after hours, such as a dining room table or a study room for kids. Having a tidy workspace will also be easier to go back to the next day, so your future self will thank you.
Once you have your computer set up, keyboard and mouse plugged in, speakers set up, and webcam attached you might notice a lot of cables running free across your desk. This can seem like a nightmare but is very easy to fix with some simple cable management. With a quick online search you can find multiple different options to solve your cable nightmares. However, if you need a quick fix you may also manage cables with basic household items like zip ties or tape.
Lastly, you will want to give yourself some scheduled breaks or an area away from your desk to step away to. When you are working from home you don’t get the break room conversations or typical socialization that gives us those little mental breaks from our jobs. Those are important not only for our sanity but to ensure you are able to maintain your productivity throughout the day.
Give yourself an area away from your desk that you can go to for short periods throughout the day or schedule small gaps to do some household chores while you give your mind a break from your work. The last thing you want to do to your home office is create a space that you feel trapped in for 8 hours a day, so be sure to give yourself time away and then come back to your workspace ready to get back to it!