10 Tips for Making Your Workspace Work, with Minimum Effort
Staying inspired at work isn’t always easy, especially when working out of a home office. There are all the usual demands – too many emails and too much paperwork. Then there’s also the pitfalls of working at home, like laundry and TV, for starters. For a little boost, try to find ways to keep your home office an area of inspiration in order to get your best work done.
1. Location, Location, Location
Choosing the location of an at-home office is vitally important. It should be an area that will be quiet and out of the way to enhance concentration, but also one where you are reminded why you’re there. Work won’t happen if the TV or the kitchen are nearby. Instead, make it something of a retreat, with bright sunlight and a good view.
2. Separate Spaces- to a Degree
Whoever came up with “keeping your home and work life separate” didn’t understand that family is the reason for a lot of work. Keep your office area clean, but don’t neglect reminders of the most important people around. One or two pictures of loved ones can provide an extra oomph when it’s needed most.
It tends to be more difficult to work in a cluttered office. The mind reflects the environment it’s in, so taking time to organize and clean up is vitally important. This can be a simple five minutes of organizing and taking out the trash at the end of the day, and providing a nice, fresh start for tomorrow.
4. Get Yourself a Green Thumb
Having plants in a home office is more important than simply providing decoration. Some studies have shown that office environments that include plants improve a person’s attention capacity, although it is undetermined as to how long this effect lasts. In addition to improving attention, plants in an office setting can help to prevent fatigue during work. No one works well when tired, so take a minute to water the plants and collect yourself.
One often-overlooked aspect is making sure the office has proper lighting. Reading, writing and computer work are all good at straining eyesight, so there’s no reason to make it worse. If you’re confused about wattage or best lighlbulb colors, have a look here at this simple primer on the subject, or an article that notes that blue bulbs seem to let people read for hours with no strain.[CC1] Also, seeing well under shelves and cabinets is often difficult, but some simple undercabinet lights can fix that problem in no time. Additionally, the effects of undercabinet lighting can give the office a sleek, chic look.
6. Relax, Re-Write, or Focus in Your Reading Corner
More than likely, any professional is going to have a high number of things to read. No one wants to do all of their reading hunched over a desk, so find a corner and set it up as a reading area. A big comfy chair, side table, lamp and maybe a throw blanket for cold days — and suddenly, going over those contracts doesn’t sound so bad! A notebook is also a good idea to keep on the side table. It’s an easy place to jot down inspirational quotes, ideas and whatever else reminds you of why you’re working.
7. Design Around the Flow
Set your office up so that things come in on one side and go out the other, giving you a good idea of where a particular project will be even if you put it away in a hurry. This is helpful in understanding which areas need a boost, or what may need some improvement. If the entry side is filling up, but the exit isn’t, then maybe it’s a sign to work on the current clientele. If the exit is filling up and there’s no more work coming in, it’s time to start making some calls.
8. Look Around
What do you want to see when you look up from your work: a blank wall or a beautiful view of your backyard? The way a natural scene affects a person has been shown to have tremendous impact. Being able to see trees, flowers or water can reduce stress levels. That view, and the potential urge to get outside and see it close-up, can sometimes be all the inspiration needed to plow through the remaining paperwork or close the last deal.
9. Choose Furniture Carefully
Consider the amount of time spent in your office. At a desk. In a chair. Staring at those same cabinets for hours on end. Instead of looking up and getting depressed, try getting some stuff made just for you, including customized cabinets. They’ll stand out and will help to make it yours. The desk and chairs are also important; make sure you are comfortable and supported while seated with the perfect chair.
10. Create a Vision Board
Creating a vision board is a good way to combine anything and everything that might offer inspiration. This would be a good addition to the reading corner as well. Essentially, it’s a board that has images, quotes and goals on it, with the purpose of reminding you of what you want. Pictures of a dream house, quotes by Hemingway, a copy of a house key or a listing of where to sign up to swim with dolphins can all be on the same board. When the energy starts to drain or the clients aren’t coming in, a few moments of contemplation can get the creative juices flowing. Additionally, it’s a great way to showcase style and add a little wall art.