Whether we like it or not, the home office seems to be here to stay. I am a fan of it, and I work so much more productively within my walls. I have set everything up familiarly and comfortably. However, how much home and how much office should there be? Here is how I see it.
I am not my work – practically. A home office should not happen on the sofa. Neither should it happen on the kitchen table. To keep your life and work separately, you should make it easy for them to be separate even when life and work happen in the same apartment.
As side benefits here, you will develop a habit of working whenever in this separate space. It will boost your productivity and creativity because your mind will get used to all work happening at this exact spot. I have gathered my reference books, vision boards, reading materials and notes in my home office and made the working process much more enjoyable and comfortable.
Infrastructure and technology
Start basic: Office table with regulated height, ergonomic chair, second screen, external keyboard, mouse, enough sockets and good internet connection. Don’t go overboard – it should be comfortable, convenient and ergonomic. It might be a bit of an investment first; however, if you intend to work from home regularly, your health will thank you for it.
I tend to overwork whenever I am home. During the day, I work to ensure my living; I then take a break and return to the office to write and work on my projects. In the end, I spend a lot of time in the office, and I have come to realise that the light is essential. Correct lighting increases your productivity, makes you feel better, is healthier for your eyes and can influence your mood without you even knowing or consciously noticing it (look here for great advice on home office lighting).
Fresh air is crucial for me. I have learned to use certain etheric oils to increase my focus, lighten up the mood, or ease anxiety in the moments of stress. I have installed green plants in my office, and I regularly air the room. Exploring how aromatherapy can improve your productivity is worthwhile and here is an article which covers the basics quite nicely.
Sound for me is not less important than air. I usually don’t need background noise, but I do some specific work better with a musical background. I prefer classical piano playlists for assignments that require concentration. Surprisingly, I have recently recognised that deep house helps me to a writing flow where I stop noticing the time and everything around me.
Make it personal
Hey – this is your home and your home office. Make it personal. Make it you. It will make you feel good in return. Pictures, paintings, chairs, cactuses, massage balls for your feet, jello-candies and some candles – you know best how to be you.
Coming and going
Yes! Go for a short walk in the morning and a short walk in the evening. Even if the exercise is 10 minutes on the balcony with a cup of tea or coffee – do it. Sometimes commuting to/from work might seem tiring and you might welcome the idea to step into your office right from your bed, in your pyjamas. However, switching gears and going outside if even for 10 minutes will make you feel so much better during the day to come. You will also be able to switch off your work so much more effectively if you physically leave the space where you’ve spent the whole day and take a short walk outside, even if to take the trash out.
You will be tempted to order some delivery food or take your pre-prepared lunch with you to your office and eat while working. Well, don’t. There are recipes on the internet that anyone can do within 20 – 30 minutes. Use the time to turn your working mode off and enjoy a completely different experience while cooking and eating self-prepared food. Serve it nicely, use proper cutlery and excellent dishes, serve yourself water in a nice glass and sit down to enjoy your meal with delight.
Nothing replenishes your drained energy as good as your pet. Whenever I have been through some difficult phone call or demanding assignment, I cuddle my cat for a minute and feel much more at ease after it 🙂
More office, less home
When you are home, you feel tempted to take care of the laundry or mop up the floors during your working hours. In the end, there is no-one there to check on you minutely.
Don’t. You don’t want to be reminded of those unprocessed emails whenever choosing the right washing regime for your favourite pullover or watering plants.
Get a mascot
Something that reminds you of your “why”, something that inspires you, gives you comfort, makes you smile – you choose. For me, it is Mr Nivens McTwisp. I have quite a beautiful figure of him sitting right under my screen. Whenever I look down, he reminds me – I am not crazy; my reality is just different from yours.
I think this is important. I believe you should make your living and working space as comfortable for you as possible. And I am not only talking about physical comfort here. You should be able to relate to the place. My home office is as much a part of me as any other room in my apartment, and I am happy that it is this way. Suppose the primary emotion you experience is happiness. In that case, the chances are high that it will be complicated, if not impossible, to spoil your mood over some external shit happening somewhere not here.
What is your home office like?