How many computer screens do you have in your home office? Two? Three? One would be better.
Are you the best multitasker in the world? Most studies prove that you’re probably the opposite.
Does your desk look like Don Corleone should be sitting behind it? Maybe smaller would suffice?
The home office is a place for writers, full-time and part-time, to find peace, strength, balance and connection with the world. Learn about five home office tricks you probably didn’t know about, and let me know at the end how you make your writing hub something unique to yourself.
Positioning – Feng Shui Means Everything
I read Men’s Journal, and there’s a guy called Dr. Bob who explains that rooms have to be properly aligned in order to get good sleep at night and work done during the day. The desk should be in a position that makes you feel calm and safe. Minimize clutter and maintain a temperature of 68 degrees to relax the muscles and get more work done. The Feng Shui of your home office gives you confidence and power.
Place your desk in the command position, so that you see anyone who comes in the door and you’re not staring at a wall, according to Inc. Every office with cubicles should take this advice into consideration.
You Don’t Need a Corner Office to Get Outdoors
I think just about every job I’ve had placed me in a corner with no windows and minimal lighting. It wasn’t until I created my own little home office when I realized that you don’t actually have to go outdoors to get the energy or fun that nature provides. Of course stepping outside doesn’t hurt, but why not surround yourself with natural lighting, plants to improve airflow and candles to increase productivity?
Bring the elements inside by using wood surroundings to promote creativity or water to improve communications. Check out the Dream Positive website to understand how each element affects your mood.
Keep in mind that the EPA states that pollution is two to five times more apparent indoors than it is outdoors since we are exposed to items such as household chemicals, smoke, mold and radon. What better reason to increase the amount of plants in your home office and keep it clean?
Shoot for Small
Entreprenuer.com states that a small desk forces people to keep their work space clutter-free. Sure you may like to spread out in your giant “L” shaped corner desk covered in stacks of papers and sticky notes covering your screen, but maybe a tiny desk would do you good. It’s no status symbol, but neither is being a writer.
Have a printer on the other side of the room, forcing you to get up. Always walk up or down the stairs to make a meal. Convenience isn’t going to make you a stronger writer, but staying healthy and clearheaded will. Spread your technology and furniture out so you can move about your office.
Have Your Fun Area
I set a timer and keep my schedule as close to the Pomodoro technique as I can, but what’s there to do once that timer hits zero and I don’t have to go to the bathroom, workout or eat? Time for fun! Create an area that is dedicated to your relaxation and leisure. Yes, I know writing is fun, but once you start making legit money, writing isn’t always fun. It can’t always be fun. Every writer creates something that makes them cringe or fall asleep.
Develop an area or piece of furniture that’s different from your bed, family room couch or dinner table. This is a place for you to think, read and relax between work sessions. The reason I don’t like recommending your family room couch or dinner table is because you switch to personal mode when you’re in those areas. I use a simple couch that sits no more than five feet from my desk. It’s next to a window and bookshelf for comfortable relaxation, but that couch is locked away from the rest of the house to keep out interruptions.
We’ve all seen the job description that asks for “The Fearless Multitasker,” but according to extensive research, multitasking is bad for you and bad for your productivity.
TIME magazine explains how multitasking actually makes you dumber. Multitasking ties directly into your work space – with your three monitors, ten browser tabs open, the TV blaring in the background and a fifth cup of warm coffee sliding down your throat.
[Tweet “Research consistently shows that multitasking is a weakness, not a strength.”]
To strengthen the argument for focusing on one task and completing it, Fox News explains why you’re not actually doing well when you try to multitask. In fact, this article states that those who pride themselves as the best multitaskers usually score the worst in simple task-completion studies.
How do you solve this problem in your home office? Sell those two additional computer monitors on Craigslist. A banker can get away with it, but not a writer. Place your phone in another room when you write. Consider getting a nice set of noise cancelling headphones. They create a blinder-like experience, pushing your thoughts towards the screen in front of you.
Your writing hub, home office, war room, center of operations or whatever you call it needs your creativity. Tricks like these help you realize your own personal style and Feng Shui, but tinkering to find out how you can move a desk to increase your composure or tilt your monitor to decrease eye strain pulls you into your own space, your own mind and your own new worlds.
Let us know in the comments if you use any of these tricks to improve your home office or writing space. What setups do you have in your writing hub to make it unique?