#1. Bring nature inside.
We feel more at home in spaces that contain elements from nature, so creating a mindful home office starts with bringing nature inside. You’re probably thinking about putting in some plants, and this is definitely recommended. However, you can do more by mixing the five natural elements: earth, fire, water, metal and wood. Think a couple of nice wooden shelves, candles, stones, crystals, a metal lamp, a water fountain… get creative!
#2. Create balance.
A good way to bring balance into your home office is by applying Feng Shui principles. You can do this by mixing female (yin) and male (yang) elements. Everything with round, circular or organic shapes represents the yin energy. To bring in more yang, it helps to focus on what you can remove from the space. Think clean, empty tables, hard surfaces, closed cupboards and bright colours.
#3. Eliminate distractions.
One of the primary reasons that working from home can be so difficult? Distractions. The laundry basket that keeps getting fuller, the dishes that you didn’t get to do yet, that stain in the rug that you should really scrub out, your roommate who doesn’t really get the principle of working from home… all of these things can distract you. This is why you should try to design your home office in a way to minimize distractions – invest in noise cancelling headphones, hang up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door during office hours and turn off notifications. If you don’t have your own room, see if it’s possible to hang up a curtain or get a room divider. That way you can still create somewhat of a closed-off space. Only when work is finished for the day, you can come out of your home office and attend to any household chores.
#4. Cross off your tasks.
If there is one thing I taught myself since I started working from home seven years ago, it’s making lists. Crossing off tasks on a To-Do list helps you focus and brings structure in your workday. It also visualizes your performance. I work with a cloud-based app that synchronizes automatically on my laptop and smartphone, but many people prefer having their To-Do list on paper or on a whiteboard. Physically crossing off tasks can indeed be very satisfying!
#5. Don’t become too isolated.
Working from home can get lonely quite quickly, especially during a lockdown. And human contact is important for everyone! If you’re healthy, carve out some time after work to do something social, like getting a coffee to go with a friend or taking a walk with your neighbour. All while maintaining social distance, of course! If you are in quarantine, use that time to Facetime or Skype. That way you can still have some sort of human contact.