5 Tips for Creating an Awesome Home Office
Most of us spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else. Yet, for many of us, the office is still a drab, uninviting place. If you work from home, though, you have total control over how fantastic your work space can be. So why not make it your favorite room in the house? Your body, mind, and maybe even your balance sheet will thank you. After all, the happier your are in your nest, the more productive you're likely to become. Here are five tips for creating a more lovely, amazing home office:
1. Bring nature in.
Incorporate a house plant, which helps to clear the air and beautify your space. The Areca Palm is a perpetual standout for air purification. For more, check out this list of the Top 10 Air Purifying Houseplants from the Mother Nature Network. For a pop of color, inexpensive grocery-store bouquets in simple glass vases or jars make cheery additions.
And then there's my personal favorite: food! I love snacking on healthy fruits and veg. So, in the darkest days of winter, I keep a bright bowl of juicy clementines at the ready.
2. Let there be light.
Natural light, that is. If possible, set up in the part of your home that gets the most sun throughout the day. Studies show that people who work in natural light (as opposed to the artificial, fluorescent kind) feel and work better. I'm lucky enough to work in a third-floor loft space with two skylights and one giant window. But if that kind of brightness isn't available to you, make a point to get outside at least once or twice per day. Breathe the fresh air and soak in a bit of sun. You'll feel refreshed once you head back in. And, ok, we all need to flip the switch from time to time. But there's an art to effective, comfortable lighting. Steal some tips from this post on how to light any room.
3. Invest in good seating.
After pulling a muscle in my back coughing earlier this year (yes, coughing!) I realized how important a healthy back is to everyday life. Sitting all day didn't help the twinge in my lower spine. And with more attention paid to my back, I realized how much I was slumping throughout the day. I visited a local office-furniture store and got fitted for a Herman Miller Embody chair. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but my next project fee is going toward one of those babies. Until then, I'm using a lumbar pillow for extra back support and incorporating more ab work into my workout routine. But the chair is a must. And at 8-hours plus per day of use, it's a worthy investment.
4. De-clutter (if you need to).
I find mess incredibly distracting. I can't work if papers, writing utensils and whatever else are swirling around my desk top. Some people find clutter comforting and even stimulating. If you're one of those folks, more power to you. Skip this tip! If you're not, I highly recommend creating a workflow system that keeps your surfaces and your mind clean.
I keep current projects in clear job jackets right on top of my desk where I can easily see and reach them.
I keep "file later" papers under a heavy paperweight (I LOVE collecting paperweights) to the left of my computer and clean that pile out once per week.
I keep extra supplies in stackable document boxes and a small can of pens, pencils and highlighters on my desk.
That's it. Everything else —old projects, expense files, tax files, etc. — gets filed away as soon as I'm finished with it.
I'm a firm believer in investing in stylish, cool office supplies (even file folders and doc boxes) you'll love to look at day-in and day-out. My filing cabinet is a brown vintage number my mom picked up at an antique shop. I buy my desktop accessories at See Jane Work and The Paper Source. Oh, and I moved to a paperless listing system last year. It has helped tremendously. You can read more about that here.
5. Surround yourself with things you love.
Be it family photos, beautiful art, some rare cool action figure you got on Ebay, a motivational quote or something your child made for you, it's important to keep inspiration close at hand. Here's what I display:
My diplomas. They're a reminder of how hard I worked to be able to do my dream job.
A capsule description of what I do (I'm trying to memorize it, so that I can more readily answer the question when it comes up.)
This vintage-looking magnet I got at an interiors shop back home in Indiana.
My co-worker, George. He's short on feedback but long on love and loyalty. His constant companionship makes long writing sessions way more pleasant.
What items would you add to this list? How do you create a workable, livable, lovable space?