Setting Up Your Home Office For Success

In my last post, I talked about how important it is to balance your work from home life. Part of that balance is having a nice, separated area for you to do your work. For most of us, this should involve setting up a dedicated home office.

While not everyone can afford a dedicated room for their office, there are always things we can do to make our space unique to our working environment. The trick with tailoring your home office is reminding your brain that you are in work mode, and not play mode. So how do you do that? Let’s take a look.

Set up Your Home Office in a Dedicated Area

Ideally this is a room, but it can also be a nice corner of your house, or somewhere where your brain can say “hey dumby, this is our work space”. Distractions are one issue, but you also want to avoid the burnout that comes with mixing your play and work areas.

If you can’t afford a separate room, using a partition, or a clever use of decorations can be a huge help.

Make Sure to Get Natural Light

As a programmer, I know how tempting it can be to sit in the dark all day and write code. The thing is, Vitamin D makes you happy. And you know what makes Vitamin D? Apprently the fuckin’ Sun. I know – I was dissapointed too – but when I moved my desk next to a window, I sure as heck felt the difference.

Even if you don’t feel like you need it, a natural light source can be a very important piece of your home office.

Stay Appropriately Organized

I went back and forth on this one for awhile. Some of us are not naturally organized – myself included. And as cool as those super minimalist workspaces look, I know first hand that that’s not feasible for a lot of people. So keep your home office appropriately organized. What’s that mean? It means beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The end goal here is to keep your brain less cluttered by keeping your space less cluttered.

Now what that means to you, I don’t know. But I can say for me, is that means not having distracting items laying around. And not having too much going on on my desk or around my person that could be distracting. I try to keep my space filled with only what I will need throughout the day.

Add Some Personal Flair

Things can’t be all business. You still need a few nick knacks here and there to make you happy. For me, I like to have my pop figures, and a few desk plants. Those not only represent things that I enjoy, but they also make me feel more creative – which is very important to the quality of my work.

The thing with personal flair, is you do need to be mindful of what is a distraction, and what is not.

Give Yourself Some Space to Think

The last big thing I want to stress here is that your home office needs to be set up to be a place where you can think, brainstorm, and run your business. I tend to pace when I think, and need spots to write stuff down. Which is why I ended up turning my sliding closet doors into a whiteboard. I also keep a minimal set of books around that inspire me, as well as a corner full of little nick-knacks to kill time on. Sometimes that mid afternoon phone call is way better if I’m balancing on a skateboard.

So what did we learn about setting up your home office?

The big takeaway here is to tailor your workspace to how you work. Don’t build your area because it looks cool, or because you saw a cool battle station post on reddit. Those are all great for inspiration, but at the end of the day – you work how you work. Your form needs to follow your function.

Oh, and Yes – I practice what I preach!

I’m not gonna just leave you hangin. Check out these pics of some of these ideas in action. My workspace is not perfect, but it is definitely my own!

home office natural light
I keep my setup next to a window for natural light.
home office thinking space
I keep some thinking space open for white boarding and pacing.
home office toys
I keep some fun stuff around so that I keep my head in a creative space!
my battlestation
The battle station.

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