If you work from home, your home office workspace is where you spend a considerable chunk of time during the week. Working from home brings up many different distractions you didn’t have to worry about when making the daily commute to work.
Maybe your significant other sing along to his or her new favourite song while doing the dishes when you’re on a video call. Maybe your dog loves barking at every car that drives down your street, and you were unaware of that fact until you started working from home.
It becomes more challenging to separate work and life when your professional space merges with your personal space. Because you’re home, it’s tempting to catch up on household tasks you otherwise would be unable to do from a traditional office.
Whether you’ve been working from home as a freelancer for years or are new to the home office arrangement due to COVID-19, here are the top five ways you can improve efficiency in your home office today.
Invest in a standing desk
Aside from the noted health benefits, you’re able to reap while using an adjustable height standing desk, standing up while you work re-wires your brain for production and efficiency.
Image Credit: UpDown Desk
Instead of sitting at the dining room table where you’re more prone to snacking and staring out the window or on your couch with the remote control within grabbing distance, using an ergonomic workstation in a dedicated room enhances work engagement, memory, and focus.
Humans were not made to be sedentary. We need movement, action, and body engagement. Standing up while working promotes these body functions along with blood flow, brain cell regeneration, and a new sense of energy.
Need some more convincing? Standing up while working does wonders for back pain, lowers blood sugar levels and reduces your risk of obesity and heart disease.
If you don’t yet have a dedicated office space in your home, find one. Add in a standing desk and watch your investment immediately pay dividends in your professional efficiency and personal wellbeing.
Get in the groove with some mood-boosting music
Need to strategize and be creative? Try some chill folk music. Are you pumping out some copy for a client? Maybe it’s upbeat pop music for the next few hours. Are you pulling a coding binge with a pot of coffee right next to you? Perhaps it’s time for some hip hop or metal.
Whatever mood you are in or music you like, having some good tunes while you work is always a good bet. Whether you like having a smart desktop speaker that syncs up to your phone or a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to jam out with, work efficiency shoots through the roof when you combine tasks and music.
Your brain starts to associate specific playlists with tasks, so get busy creating some mood-boosting playlists for different work tasks. You’ll be done with that pitch, article, or project before you know it.
Add a living, breathing friend
Humans have an inherent need to be around nature. Lock yourself in a windowless basement with nothing but the technology for a few weeks, and it will make an impact on your mental and psychological wellbeing.
Biophilia, defined as “a love of life and the living world and the affinity of human beings for other life forms,” proves that humans thrive when within nature, but suffer when isolated from it.
On top of reducing all types of stress and just being a joy to look at, having plants around you can also help your concentration and memory.
Plants clean the air, freshen a room, and give lonely home office workers something to take care of. Plants also help their human counterparts increase mood and health.
The only choice left is to decide which kind of plant you’re going to add to your home office. Maybe a mini palm tree? Cactus? Spider plant?
The minimalistic home office theme is often fresh, crisp, clean, and modern. Usually consisting of a desktop or laptop computer, a lamp, a mouse, some storage, and a sketchpad for note-taking, there are limitless ways to customize a minimalistic workspace to tailor it to your wants, likes, and desires.
The thought is to only add necessary items to your workspace. When you approach your workspace, you’ll have an uncluttered mind that matches your office, inspiring better focus, ultimately increasing efficiency.
Don’t try to shove too much stuff into your space and keep visual noise to a minimum. By making your workspace appealing, you’ll enjoy spending time there. By eliminating distractions, you’ll be focused on one thing while at your workspace.
Make your breaks count
So you’ve got your standing desk to improve focus and physical health. You’re jamming out to music and crushing your to-do list in your bright and uncluttered minimalistic workspace. Your cactus is soaking up the sunrays next to the window, and your efficiency is through the roof.
Is that all you need?
Not quite. Everybody needs a break from work to avoid burnout.
Take time to do something for yourself; something you thoroughly enjoy. Make your breaks count. Thinking about work and taking work calls while you are on your break doesn’t count as taking a break.
Stare at nothing if you’d like. Play the piano. Go for a walk. Call a friend or family member to chat. Play with your pet. Lay down on the couch and watch one of your favourite shows.
Regular breaks encourage decision making, reflection, time optimization, and motivation. Once your break is over, you’re able to tackle tasks with a new outlook.
We can’t all be working robots. Take a breath, step away from the computer, and enjoy your life. Your mind, body, and employer will thank you.