If you work from home, you will understand the difficulty in separating your work life from home life (and believe me the two need to stay clearly apart from each other). Drawing a clear line between the two can make your work hours far more productive, and at the same time, the rest of your day much more peaceful. After all, the two need to be in perfect balance so that you can recharge your mind in your time off to be as productive as possible at work. Make sense?
Drawing a line between work and home life can be as literal as separating your workspace into a different zone or room in your home. Some of us don’t have the luxury of space (especially when working remotely on the road) so in these cases, a visual or spatial distinction is more important than ever. Once you have drawn your line physically and spatially, you also need to do the same mentally. Just like others who do the daily dance of dressing and travelling to work on time, you need to do the same… Only your travel time is much, much faster. Keeping to a healthy routine is key in keeping focused and motivated to work from home, so set that alarm clock and get to ‘work’ on time, everyday.
Now let’s start to visualise your workspace and how it can be an uplifting experience. Natural light is key. Research has proven that daylighting has an incredible effect on building performance and our own wellbeing. Day lit work environments provide the mental and visual stimulation that we need to regulate our own circadian rhythms. – Just try looking out of your window as soon as you wake up in the morning; you will feel more refreshed and awake, because it is a natural signal for your mind to start the day. Sunlight truly has an incredible effect on us, as great designers and scientists have proven time over.
The next essential question you need to ask yourself is if there is a good flow of fresh air into your workspace. Open windows, keep a fan to circulate air in warmer months, and if you are a city dweller, it means keeping your air conditioner regularly serviced so that pollutants and dust are well filtered-out. An ioniser is a really great investment to purify and add extra oxygen to the air, especially if you are living near busy roads. Another incredible way to create an inspiring and well oxygenated workspace is to introduce as many indoor plants as you can into the room. I have a mixture of water, potted, and hanging plants all through my house to clean the air and put as much goodness back into my interior atmosphere. It also creates the most peaceful atmosphere throughout, so I guess there is a wonderful psychological impact that plants bring to the workspace too.
Creatives: think about how your space can become more ‘you’ without being overly stimulating. Sometimes having that perfectly Pintrest-able office can be the biggest blockers of creativity, because now your office looks like a million others on the internet. Mood walls and storyboards are an excellent way to envisage direction and identity to your projects. All the same, keeping clutter and paperwork as organised as possible will do wonders for your stress levels. In my design studio, fabric swatches, trims, and design folders collect at a scary rate, so in spare moments I try to categorise and compartmentalise things into militant order. What do they say about ordered chaos again? Keeping a systematic filing system is all well and good, but if not regularly organised, you may be trying to keep your head above water. Be disciplined and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of productivity. My workspace is my headspace and workflow transcribed into reality, so regularly tidying it not only keeps things looking great, but also solidifies my thought process.
A good friend opened my eyes to how a simple drills throughout the day can be inductive to productivity. Whether it be lighting a candle or brewing a cup of coffee before popping up that laptop screen; or moving outdoors for lunch, these simple rituals are necessary sensory triggers for your mind to start its engines.
Working from home isn’t for all of us, but if you are able to make clear physical and psychological distinction between your work life and real life, you’re winning. That means being able to shut the door behind you once you’ve stepped out of the office for the day and enjoy our inspiring world. Why not try going phone-free after dinner? Leave the inbox untouched until the start of the next work day? Your output depends on how much goodness you put in too.
/ This was an article written and shot for Vogue Australia /