How to Set Up a Home Office

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Not everyone is blessed (or cursed) with having to operate in a cubicle within an office setting. Whether you’re a freelancer, the owner of an online business, or are simply unemployed and spending hours sending resumes and cover letters, you’re probably working out of the comfort of home.

There are benefits: your fridge is a few feet away; you can blast whatever music you want; and you can do the majority of your tasks while donning slippers and pajamas. Of course, with many of these upsides comes related downsides. Mainly, you’re easily distracted.

To help you create the most productive environment possible, below are tips on how to set up a home office.

1) Prioritize comfort for both your body and eyes. The most important aspect of any home office will be the type of seat you use and the height of the table. Starting with the chair, look for something that will support the natural curvature of your back. Don’t be afraid to splurge, as this is one fixture that can determine your overall happiness and health. Many professionals are now sitting on inflated yoga balls to further encourage proper posture. In regards to the height of your desk in relation to the seat, you should be looking slightly downward on the computer monitor, rather than directly ahead; this will lessen the strain experienced by your eyes.

2) Strategically position light. Natural light will not only help you to reduce your electric bill, but it has the ability to lift your spirits. If you are positioning yourself near a window, make sure that you’ve purchased curtains or blinds, giving you the ability to adjust the specific amount that fills the space. We suggest situating yourself near natural light, but not directly in front of the window; the inviting sunshine might be too much of a distraction from your work.

As most self-employed (or unemployed) professionals can vouch for, work is often done when the sun is down and the moon is out. Therefore, make sure that you have plenty of illumination around you to prevent yourself from staining your eyes. White light will be the most soothing, and floor lamps will be less harsh than overhead or desktop appliances.

3) Remove temptation. Rarely is work more enjoyable than watching a movie or something similar so, if your desk is positioned near your television, it may make it harder to concentrate. If you must be in the same room as the TV screen, try to position yourself with your back facing the temptation. Similarly, if possible, try to have a computer designated solely for productivity, so you don’t associate the machinery with playing games or streaming movies.

4) Cement an organizational system. This is a practice that should be necessary no matter where you work, but it becomes especially crucial when you’re operating out of your home. Miscelleaneous files are all too easy mixed in with one another, and you don’t want your medical records somehow getting shuffled into your client paperwork. Therefore, designate separate shelves, drawers or cupboards for different aspects of your life. Color coding is your friend!

5) Use color psychology. Looking to fuel your imagination? Turn to purple. To strengthen your problem-solving, decorate with yellow. To sooth yourself during stressful client calls, surround yourself with green. The colors your choose to incorporate into your home office can influence your overall mood and productivity. Be weary of too much red, as it can lead to agitation and rushing, as well as excessive amounts of depressing blues. If you do want to feature such hues, offset the effects by balancing it with other pigments.

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