Ideally, your home has an extra room you can co-opt as an office. But if not, you can still manage by putting a desk in a corner of a room and separating it from the rest of the space. I don’t have my own room, but I put a desk against one wall near a window, and a low, wide bookcase behind my chair. On the other side of the book case is the living room sofa, which doubles as a space to meet my photography clients. You can also separate a section of a room with a curtain, a screen divider, or several tall plants.
If you can’t even take over a small corner of a room, then create a pretty work zone box where you keep your office supplies — like pens, a timer, a motivating quote in a frame, a candle, a small plant, notebooks, etc… — and set things up at the kitchen or dining room table when you are ready to work. Then when time is up, pack everything away and the table can be used for homework and family dinner.
Here are some more pointers to help you create a lovely and massively productive workspace.
Comfort matters. The height of your desk, the quality of your chair, the height of your computer relative to your eyes and of your keyboard relative to your wrists are all extremely important. You should be able to work for extended period of times without your wrists hurting, your neck aching, or your legs going to sleep. Physical discomfort reduces your productivity. This is a wonderful article from Cnet that describes best practices for ergonomics in the office.
Let There Be Light.
It’s nice if your workspace is near a window, as natural light is an excellent mood enhancer and it’s free. Make sure to position your computer in a way that minimizes glare however.
After natural light, your space should have some type of general lighting, like an overhead light or a large floor lamp that lights the room, and task lighting, which is a lamp on your desk that focuses on a specific area. Two things to keep in mind when purchasing these lights is to avoid florescent lighting when possible, and make sure you are able to control the brightness of your task light. I bought this one on Amazon and really like it.
You Can’t Have Too Much Storage.
Storage is critical for reducing clutter and keeping important supplies and documents easily accessible. An organized office increases efficiency as you don’t spend time looking for things you need. So make sure you have a place to store your files, a place to store your supplies, and a place for your books.
Your office should be a place of work. You don’t want to keep your guitar in your office (unless you have a job as a musician), for example, or your xbox/wii fit. You don’t want to use your valuable energy resisting temptation. Leave your office when you take breaks, so that your office becomes associated with productivity and work.
Make Your Space Beautiful
Finally, you should enjoy going into your office, in part because you know you’ll get major things accomplished, and in part because it is a lovely, special place. Scatter a few things around that inspire you or energize you. Light candles when you work if that helps. Fresh flowers or potted plants can make a space cheery. A beautiful vision board hanging on the wall to remind you of what you hope to accomplish can also be very inspiring.
Leave a comment below if I left anything out!