Close your eyes and imagine the space in your home where you work on things the most. Is it a separate room with a door that closes? A shared space with dual desks for you and your husband? Maybe it’s a simple corner of your dining room where your laptop and a cup of coffee fit nicely?
When it comes to setting up a home office space, it seems that no two are alike. The layout of your home and who you share it with may even make it a challenge to create a workspace devoted to you and the work you do. And while you don’t have to have a big fancy office to get real work done, you do have to have a plan for what to include (and what not to) to be your most productive at home.
#1 – Make the space work for you.
When some people picture a home office, they envision a large private room surrounded by leather-bound books and a cherry wood desk with gold framed pictures in every corner. This simply isn’t the reality for most home offices in today’s day and age. You can be just as productive sitting in the corner of your kitchen with your iPad as you can in a large formal office. You just have to make the space work for you! Take time to envision the type of work you’ll be doing and carve out space in your home that will support those goals best. For example, if you’re an artist, make sure you have a sink nearby and a large surface to work with. If you’re doing a lot of writing, on the other hand, a small space that offers peace and quiet may fit the bill.
#2 – Create visual stimulation.
What you see around you can have a big impact on the way you feel when you are working. Creating a space that has visual stimulation based on what you personally enjoy and find calming or energizing is important. Do you enjoy working in a room with a bold color pop on the wall or a soft shade of grey? Are there plants nearby? Think about the kind of lighting your space offers. Natural light during the day and white light bulbs instead of harsh yellow light at night can make a big difference. Lighting has even been proven to affect productivity and mental health.
#3 – Remember that comfortable seating is everything.
There is a reason a Queen sits on a throne to rule. That old barstool from the garage, although complementing the shabby chic look of your home, may not be the most fitting office chair. You need seating that keeps you comfortable and supported to get work done. There are even Fortune 500 companies who fit employees for the right chairs to ensure they have the correct lumbar support and desk to chair ratio! If you are moving around every few minutes trying to get comfortable, you’re not focused, and you won’t want to sit down to work on things long term. Do yourself a favor, and invest in a chair that feels good!
#4 – Distraction is your worst enemy. Make it feel unwelcome.
Remember in grade school when little Jimmy would have his seat moved because he couldn’t stop talking to his neighbor? It’s because he was distracting the class from his work. No matter what your setup is, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for things that may be distracting you from your work. And be honest with yourself! If having a T.V. in the room is too tempting, then out it goes. If having a play area in the same room for your little ones is stealing your attention, have your work area separate. Even something as simple as having a designated drawer for your cell phone to keep it out of sight may help you accomplish leaps and bounds more when working.
#5 – Think about what inspires you and keep it close by.
Often when you sit down to get work done, you are crossing things off a to-do list and typing away at emails, and you forget the simple importance of being inspired. Of course, you can’t expect every minute of every day to have a life-altering lightbulb moment. What you can do, however, is put yourself in a space where inspiration isn’t hard to come by. If there is an empowering quote that always seems to remind you that anything is possible, frame it above your desk. If you spend many late night hours crunching numbers on the computer, maybe add a beautiful family photo that inspires you to think outside the box and push harder. It’s important to surround yourself with things that inspire and even energize you.