Simple Tweaks To Make You Fall In Love With Your Home Workspace
These hacks will bring order — and beauty — so you can get more done in less time.
Working from home can be messy business as it forces our work and home selves to get along. Our desks aren’t far from our beds, after all. Creating and maintaining a workplace that is orderly and beautiful helps us focus and promotes wellness. But it’s easier said than done! While we’ve long heard experts shouting from the rooftops about the importance of clean spaces, these hacks offer a fresh take, both directly and indirectly anchored in the ancient Indian practice of Vastu Shastra.
“Utilize natural light coming from the east,” says Jaya Jaya Myra, best-selling author and mind-body wellness expert. The east is the direction of the rising sun — which may help to stimulate creative energy, healing energy and getting your mind going, she explains. It may help you to a quicker and earlier start to your day. Julie Coraccio, certified life coach, professional declutter and author of the Got Clutter? 365 Journal Prompts series, explains the goal for lighting in two simple words: “Well lit.” She advises that even with windows, outfit your space with a variety of light options for evening work. Besides an overhead light, her office has a desk lamp that offers various options for color and strength. “It makes a huge difference,” says the award-winning life and end-of-life organizer. And for those who struggle to be productive during the long months of winter, Coraccio recommends a light appropriate for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Fun fact: How you lay out your workspace may affect productivity and well-being. Myra says that according to Vastu Shastra, your desk should face the north or east because “the north direction is related to financial and material success, and east brings vitality and energy.” (Myra’s latest book, The Soul of Purpose, incorporates Vastu.) Coraccio positions her desk so her back isn’t to the door as a way to welcome business. She’s an advocate of an adjustable desk that allows you to stand so you aren’t sitting all day. “The more I work from home, the more I need an adjustable desk.”
“I think color is so important and is often underappreciated,” says Coraccio, who is also host of the popular self-help podcast Clear Your Clutter Inside & Out. “I always tell my clients to choose what gives them energy, creativity and calm.” Paint the walls if you can, or add color through paintings, a beanbag or colorful throw pillows. “I covered up the area right behind my desk with a purple batik to bring some color in,” she offered as yet another idea.
Myra says a sterile white room not only is bland, but also can make you sluggish and fatigued. “It’s important to have a pop of color — maybe that’s a vibrant flower arrangement on or near your desk or a beautiful piece of art above your workspace.” It may stimulate your productive energy, she says.
External clutter can contribute to mental clutter, making it hard to focus and stay productive, warns Myra. Coraccio confronts our reluctance to make daily decisions about junk that’s accumulated on our desk. “Get into the habit of making decisions instead of letting things pile up,” she urges. The top of your desk should have only things you use constantly (for her, it’s lipstick among other things because she does a lot of live interviewing and recording and wants it handy).
“I’m a huge fan of tidying up at the end of each day,” she says. “It takes five minutes to put files away, straighten up, and return everything where it belongs. This is also important if you’re working from home — as it’s saying, ‘the workday is over.’ ”
Coraccio says to ask yourself, “What is beautiful to me?” She has dried lavender in her office because she loves the scent and it’s a mood-booster. We like to be in a place that makes us happy, so add whatever motivates and lifts your spirits, she urges. Maybe it’s a dreamy picture of the beach that drives you to work hard for that next vacation, or a quote on gratitude that you glance at when paying the bills. Because she loves working surrounded by her cats, she has added a cat tree in front of the window.
“I always keep color notebooks on my desk — things that make me smile instead of standard utilitarian paper products,” says Myra. Her pens are vibrant and high quality — in fact everything on her immediate desk is both useful and brings her happiness. “This can keep you focused longer than when you’re using things that don’t stimulate joy,” she points out, consistent with her holistic approach to improving mental, emotional and physical well-being.