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Get up from bed. Move to breakfast table. Sit at your office chair. Migrate to couch.
We don’t really have the most inspiring work lives as of late.
By now, you’ve probably clocked more time indoors than you’d like due to COVID19. If this is giving you a case of “Groundhog Day,” creating a space that inspires productivity and creativity may do leaps and bounds for your mental health.
Before this all happened, you may have dreamed how your home would look if only you had the time to gussy it up. We can’t deny there is a little more time now. Here’s how to create your perfect “Zen Den” for ultimate focus and a great escape while indoors. Whether you’re working from home for the first time, craving a productive life admin station, or seeking a zone to let your creativity flow, it all comes down to having the right atmosphere.
First… Prepare the Space
What you see is what you get. See a mess? Get a messy headspace. See a manageable list of tasks to accomplish as a welcoming space? You’ll get them done. Here are a few key ways to visually prepare your workspace.
- Natural light, if it’s an option, arrange your workstation around this light.
- Only keep productive things in reach. If your phone, magazine, mail or sudoku won’t serve your time in the Zen Den, keep them out.
- Minimal clutter. We see your eye roll here after reading way too many Kondo articles. But really, only put one to two tasks that are easily accomplishable on your desk, so it’s not intimidating to dive in. Maybe the rest of your “to-do list” is a pile in a box under your desk. Take each task out one at a time, so it never looks too overwhelming to step in.
- No working from bed. If you need to work from the bedroom, then try and face away from your bed. Even if it’s hella cozy, you don’t need this added distraction.
- Make it a place you don’t want to escape. With keeping the “no clutter” concept top of mind, introduce some life into your space. Candles add visual warmth to a space, plants add life, aesthetic jars add a visually pleasing organization capture for your loose ends. Add it only if it brings peace – this is all yours.
- Clean up. Sorry for sounding motherly, but you might need the reminder. A fresh canvas makes for a sharp mind.
- Let’s talk about what you’re sitting on. Proper posture boosts productivity.
- Charging station. Have all your cords, chargers, hard drives – whatever you need to be organized – in one place so that you’re not continually leaving the Zen Den to look for items.
Invest in the Workspace
These are the things that make a difference and will enhance your space.
- A SAD light (seasonal affective disorder) will work wonders in a dark space for making it bright and welcoming.
- Noise-cancelling headphones. If you’re a social butterfly or a silence seeker, this will help you stay put.
- An office chair. It’s an essential investment for your body and your mind.
- Something pretty. You can easily search Wayfair or Etsy for a few bits and bobs that will make your space organized, cozy, and bright. Don’t overestimate your desk real estate.
- A multiplug surge protector. Plug everything you need in at the same time so all components are ready to go without a significant cable mess.
Prep Your Mental Space
You know as well as the next procrastinator, if you’re not in the right mode to step into even the most perfect Zen Den, nothing productive will happen. Here are a few key ways to set your mental state up for success.
- Map out what you want to accomplish. Then ask yourself: is this realistic? Start small, then add more as you check things off.
- Foresee distractions such as snack o’clock. Set a snack break or two for yourself before you get into the zone; otherwise, you’ll let them rule your day. If you know you get antsy or sleepy mid-afternoon, set up a game plan to deal. A calculated dose of exercise or scheduled coffee break is something to look forward to and will keep you on track.
- Feel good about you. Brush your teeth and change your clothes as if you are going to work…because you are.
- Can’t seem to crave productivity because it’s gorgeous out? Get your run in or endorphin high in the discipline of your choice before you enter the Zen Den. It will do wonders.
Invest in Your Mental Workspace
Choose a productivity-related ritual that makes you happy and invest in that – investing in happiness is never a bad idea.
Do you need a little to clear your mind before stepping into work mode? Invest in YYOGA’s $6 online yoga classes to keep that ritual alive or download the app Headspace for meditation.
The options for at-home workouts, whether paid or free, are a worthwhile time investment to ensure that you enter your Zen Den on a positive note.
Maybe you adore the ritual of coffee breaks? It might be time to bite the bullet and get yourself a fancy coffee maker. You may be able to justify the expense because you have not had your cafe brewed coffee in a while.
They say a house is just a house until you make it feel like a home; the same holds true for your workspace. Even if this is only temporary, make it your own. Happy (productive) isolating!