In my early days of working from home, my biggest challenge was being productive. Luckily we live in a technology-driven world where apps and Pinterest are our friends among others. Both tools can help you boost your day-to-day productivity, thus help increase your bottom line.
A defined space increases productivity
Define your workspace. Having a room in your house that is a dedicated office space is non-negotiable. This space can be any room in the house that allows you to close the door to eliminate distractions and use as an office when you need to work.
You know that closet in the hallway that’s packed full of overflow and old stuff like that first version of the Cricket that you swear you will use again? Yeah, that one. Maybe repurpose that as an office space. Maybe it’s a corner in your bedroom that has just enough space for a small desk and a laptop. Maybe it’s an unused space in the garage or basement. Why is this important? A designated workplace programs your brain to work the moment you sit down.
Regardless of the size of your space, make sure it’s in a low-traffic area. Constant distractions and interference is the ultimate buzz kill of productivity.
Get creative and make it your own
If you can have your own room for an office, make it a space you truly love. Those Instagram posts of entrepreneurs showing their panoramic ocean view mobile office or in a swanky café looks very tempting. It is a great option if you need a break from the norm to brainstorm or check emails, but it isn’t functional for those who are serious about working remotely full-time.
Now that you have your private space get creative. Paint the walls an inspiring color. It’s no secret that color can affect your daily mood. Studies show that there are two colors in particular that can stimulate your creativity and increase productivity. Apartment Therapy, a popular decor website, released an article that discussed the findings of studies on the effect of color. According to an experiment from the University of British Columbia, blues were ideal for the work environments of creatives, as the color promotes communication, trust, and efficiency. Blue is a naturally calming color that proves to spark creativity which works well in a workspace.
Another color that is proven in the study to enhance the performance of creatives is green. The second-most abundant shade on the planet (blue is first), promotes harmony and balance, which triggers innovation, according to a study led by the University of Munich. The research team lead, Stephanie Lichtenfeld, reported that the nature-derived color “has implications beyond aesthetics” and even just a glimpse of green could trigger “the type of pure, open (mental) processing required to do well on creativity tasks.”
Working from home is an excellent perk. Don’t inadvertently create a workspace as bleak and uninspiring as a dusty, burgundy-lined cubicle. The goal is to create a space that you’ll actually want to work in.
Productivity requires comfort longterm
Use Pinterest for inspiration but browse responsibly. You can’t or shouldn’t pin all of the internet. The setup that you love and pinned may not be conducive for a 40-hour work week. Upholstered Parsons chairs are chic, but will send you straight to the chiropractor. It sounds obvious, but you should love the chair you’re sitting on. Otherwise, you will never sit at your desk. That small vintage desk you found at a yard sale for $40 won’t hold your project files, even if it makes your office look Instagram worthy.
Storage is essential
Get creative with storage. There’s nothing sexy about a file cabinet, but you do need a place to organize and store papers you frequently use. Not having a home for your paperwork will result in you having paper everywhere and not being able to find it when you need it the most. If you’re the type of person, who needs to see it, to remember it, try wall organizational units such as corkboards, magazine racks, or display shelves.
If you need bookshelves, get nice ones that don’t take up too much space but functional and artful enough that it will look great as a backdrop in your Facebook Live videos. And if you’re using the guest bedroom, there’s likely a closet. Pimp out the closet with a shelving system so that you can minimize the need for storage in the main workspace.
Remember a good home office needs to be functional first and beautiful second.