One HUGE advantage to our little home in Alabama is that I have a dedicated home office. I love having a space for my desk that’s not about one foot away from where I sleep (like it was in Miami!). I also have a closet (for overflow crap), some drawer storage for craft supplies, a book shelf, and a comfy chair by the window (mostly for my cat/office assistant lol).
But one piece of my home office puzzle that I haven’t quite figured out yet? One big, blank wall. I have my desk against one wall, and all the others either have a door or a window, but then there’s a HUGE blank canvas on the other side.
I’ve been picking up pieces here and there for a potential gallery wall…but then I stumbled upon an idea on Pinterest. A command center! Many examples that I found seemed to be more geared towards household/large family management, yet I think they could be adapted to fit a freelancer’s needs! What do you think?
The place you choose to work makes such a big difference to your productivity levels. Thankfully, if you work from home, you have maximum creative control to design your work-space exactly as you see fit. (Score!) In this post, I’m gonna lay out some aspects of home office design that will make your home work-space a hive of productivity. Many of these changes are simple and don’t require a huge investment, while others may take a little more time and expense. Find the fixes that work best for your working flow and budget…
Light the Way
Office lighting can make such a big difference when it comes to your productivity. Bad lighting can lead to headaches, fatigue, eye strain, and tiredness. Conversely, natural light can play a big role in boosting your mood. So consider positioning your desk nearby a window where it is going to attract as much sunlight as possible. Rather than having one main overhead source of lighting, having a lamp or two allows you to adjust the brightness as necessary.
If the position of your chair and desk ends up leading to neck and back pain, this is inevitably going to impact your productivity levels. There are a couple of quick ergonomic checks which are easy to perform. First of all, the top of your computer screen should be around eye-level. Your feet should either be able to rest comfortably on a foot rest or on the floor. Make sure that your chair is slightly reclined to minimize lower back pain. Investing in a good-quality chair is one of the best purchases that you can make for your office.
Your senses all come into play when you are creating a comfortable office space. Starting off with what you’ll spend the day looking at — the room color. Studies have shown that the color blue helps with productivity. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s a shade which isn’t too harsh on the eyes. You can also hang some pictures to give yourself something fun (and maybe motivational) to look at during the day.
You may never have thought much about the smell of your office, but the right scents can actually help to focus your mind and boost your mood. Fresh flowers are a great way to provide a scent in a natural way. It is worth going for some which you can easily smell such as Alii Hawaiian Tropical flowers. Another option is to use candles or essential oils. Otherwise, you could always try simmering a few herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your whole house with pleasant smells.
The type of noise which works best for your productivity levels varies from person to person. Some people prefer complete silence. In which case, it is worth looking into soundproofing options in the room. Others like to have some background music, so it check out wireless speakers so you can cut back on the need for wires criss-crossing around the room.
While you may create a lot of clutter in the creative process, you should make it a habit to store away the things that you need and throw everything else away. Mess is generally not helpful when it comes to productivity levels. Make sure that you have enough storage systems to contain everything comfortably. And don’t forget your digital clutter as well. The best way I’ve found of keeping on top of your clutter (actual AND digital) in a home office is to schedule time each week to organize. Pick a day and time and jot it down in your diary weekly. You’ll likely just need a half hour or so each week to go through papers, computer files, etc and get it all sorted. Consistency is key!
There are plenty of ways that you can bring nature into your indoor office space. We already talked about fresh flowers, but house plants are also a great option. They will last longer and are usually straightforward to maintain. Open the window on a regular basis to allow fresh air into your office space. If you can’t see anything natural outside, the next best thing is to put up some “nature pictures” – think: a picture of you and a loved on a recent hike in a pretty frame on your desk or a painting of the sea!
Achieving the right temperature balance is one of the best ways of boosting your productivity levels. Studies have shown that people tend to work better when it is a little warmer inside, but you don’t want to make it SO warm so that you feel drowsy. A smart thermostat will give you maximum control over the temperature in your office. And you can always bring in some extra heaters or fans when you feel like you need to adjust the temperature up or down.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to creating a work-space that provides maximum productivity levels. Essentially, you need to create an environment which works best for you. No two people work in the same way, so it is important to learn as much as you can about your own working habits. Good luck!
Do you work from home? An office? What changes have you made to your working space to increase productivity?
After I’ve worked from home for a few hours, I tend to get fed up with my surroundings, and need a change of scenery. You too? There are definitely benefits of having a place in your home that allows you to get shiz done. Whether you work for yourself, remotely, or hustle on the side. At the same time — when you wake up, punch the clock, and fall asleep ALL within a few steps of each other? It can get a little monotonous! So let’s talk about how to break up the day when you’re hard at work in your humble abode…
Stand Up Every Hour
To protect your lower back and improve circulation, stand up and stretch every hour. I use the Pomodoro app to set timers for work and when I need to peel myself out of my office chair. (I love a good power hour followed by a 15 minute break!) Oh, and if you’re feeling uninspired, use the time to get some fresh air (outside or open a window). The fresh oxygen is great for your body and brain!
Coffee Break Around the Corner
Instead of having coffee at my desk, I like to take a walk to the ventanita up the street for a freshly brewed treat. Breaks like these give you something to look forward to when you are hitting a wall. Plus, motivating yourself with a coffee…or a healthy smoothie or a cupcake(!) or whatever treat might be close by is a great way to incentivize the big push you need to meet a looming deadline.
Check the News
Instead of checking the news on my computer or phone, getting a newspaper to flick through or flipping on the TV for a few minutes allows me stay tuned in to current events throughout the day. WITHOUT getting sucked into the inevitable internet rabbit holes.
Five Minute Yoga Routines
No matter how small your home office is, you can always find a spot to unroll a yoga mat! Look on YouTube for a few yoga stretching routines you can complete in five minutes or less. Bookmark your favorites so you can return to them whenever you need to stretch, restore your breathing, and energize. Your attention span will thank you!
Call Your Friend or Colleagues
For a complete break, return that phone call to your mom or give your friend a ring to hammer out weekend plans. Want to stay on task but still have an excuse to pace away from your desk? If you generally collaborate with your colleagues through email or Gchat, switch it up and call them instead. You can talk about the project you are working on, ask about the next steps, or simply clarify issues.
Water the Flowers
One thing I really want to start getting more into is houseplants! And I’d like to keep up with their maintenance by choosing a set day and time to go around the house and tend to them. This would give me a short break, a reason to unchain myself from the desk/computer, and a sense of accomplishment. You can create your own schedule based on the watering and care needs of your plants. For example, Hawaiian flowers (my current obsession) need less water less often to stay healthy and bloom, while some houseplants need attention every day.
Plan Your Office Redecoration
Feeling like your home office needs a reboot? Take some time to brainstorm how to improve your home office to suit your needs better. Think about the colors you want to use, the carpet, look for inspirational images and quotes, and think about ways of improving your lighting. You might even download an online app that allows you to design the perfect space online. Get ideas from blogs and magazines, and use your imagination. My current set-up is fine for now but I love daydreaming and planning for a future office overhaul!
Complete a Mandala
While you might think that coloring is for kids, it is actually a super relaxing activity. You can print a mandala (for free!) and get your crayons or colored pencils out to complete and design it. Sometimes when my work is feeling more monotonous than creative (think: spreadsheets and analytics), I like to bust out the art supplies for a little bit to break up the monotony.
Watch Funny Videos
For some fun and energizing entertainment, save your favorite YouTube videos for when you need a pick-me-up. Get a collection saved on your desktop or bookmark bar, so you can access them when you need them. A bit of laughter goes a long way. It will help you release stress so you can carry on with your daily work more focused and motivated. I’m starting a new playlist for this very purpose! So far I’m feeling this one and this one. LEAVE ME LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE FUNNY VIDEOS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
Thanks so much for reading, friends! Happy working (and breaking!!) ❤
P.S. Want to spend your break time working with an experienced counselor? Check out BetterHelp.
What are you up to this week? I’ve been focusing on healthy routines (morning, nighttime, and SLEEP). After the Golden Globes results, I’m really hoping we can make time to see I, Tonya this weekend. Have you seen it? Oh, and today is Day 9 of TRUE – a 30 Day Yoga Journey. Happy to say I’m still going strong and LOVING this challenge. Hope you have a relaxing week, and here are a few amusing and thought-provoking links from around the ol’ internet…
Peruse the site of any beauty blogger worth her weight in products and you’ll start to get a sense that organization assistance of the acrylic variety is very on-trend and very must-have. A wander through the hallowed aisles of The Container Store will not only corroborate but will also showcase how this glorious plastic can extend far beyond the dressing table and into all sorts of realms of sleek home decor meets chic organizing. However, clock the price tag on a few of these items and you’ll realize the DIY route is the way to go. And if you’re down, you’re in luck. Basic acrylic sheets can be found at home improvement stores or even online. Check out this Acrylic Sheet supplier, if you’d like. Here are 5 fantastic projects that used this modern material and achieved superb results…
What do you think? Which would you make? Do you have any acrylic pieces in your home?
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The folks at WeWork, a co-working company that builds communities to empower people to do what they love, inspired me to share my current workspace and what I love about it. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! This past weekend, after a morning trip to Ikea and a good few hours of flat-pack furniture assembly, I got to work setting up my NEW home workspace! I thought I’d give you guys a peek at the finished product. I’m already SO in love with it! I can’t wait to spend my days creating and writing at this gorgeous command center. I knew I wanted a color palette of white, gold, and Tiffany box blue so the Micke desk was a perfect fit for that aesthetic. Add to that my custom desktop computer, a few gold trinkets, and some stationery from the Target dollar spot and – wam BAM – the perfect little corner for productivity. Shall I show you around?
My monitor was painted white to match this mounting arm, a feature which allows me to position based on my viewing needs. And since my work-space is in our bedroom, those needs CAN include watching Netflix in bed.
Bits and bobs to keep me smiling.
I’ve picked up quite a few desk accessories from Target over the past few months, including; post-it notes, page flags, bulletin/chalk board, and owl pushpins. All super affordable. I believe everyone should have a few desk trinkets to personalize their space. The stone was a gift from a co-worker. It says “Trust” and is the perfect size and shape for rolling around in your hand when you’re having a good think. The dino skeleton was a present years ago from my friend, Katie. And the gold wheel was thrifted. I’m sure it used to belong on a contraption that spun around but I just liked the way it looked and it functions quite nicely as a coaster. The bird mouse was a must-have as soon as I saw it.
Chet built me my very own computer, including painting it to my aforementioned color scheme, and presented it to me for Christmas last year. I’d say not many people are lucky enough to have a computer cute enough to proudly display on top of their desk LET ALONE such a tech savvy individual as their BETROTHED!
Plenty of drawer space.
A big selling point for me for this particular desk were the 2 large drawers that run the whole length. They’re the perfect place to stow my notebooks, stationery, cords, current reading materials, folders, and adult coloring book(!).
Thanks so much to WeWork for encouraging me to share this post. I always find other people’s creative spaces quite inspiring so it’s fun to have an excuse to show off my own!
If you’re a freelancer (like me), run a small business or startup, or work remotely, and you’re interested in joining a coworking community, do check out WeWork. They have lovely office spaces located all across the world and offer tons of benefits.