Feeling like you just can’t get any solid work done, now that you’ve moved your office to your home? If you feel overwhelmed or distracted by what you see and hear around you, you’ll love these home office hacks for claiming back your private working space.
The best news? You don’t need a complete home office renovation to feel focused and productive when working in the house. For far less than you’d spend on a renovation, any of these ideas will help you block out the interruptions and find your inner doer again.
Get a Door Lock
Kids at home? Some days it seems impossible to get just 10 minutes of solid work done when your children are barging in and out of the office wanting snacks and attention. No matter whether your spouse or nanny is in the other room, they will still pester you.
The best solution to this, outside house rules, is to simply put a lock on your home office door. Sorry kiddos, when mom or dad are in their office during normal business hours, the door will be locked. After a couple days or weeks, your children will eventually take the hint that if they need something during the workday, they’ll have to ask the adult in charge (which, ideally, isn’t you while you’re working).
Install Shades or Curtains
Lighting can have a huge impact on our ability to focus. Some like to open up the office drapes during the day to let as much natural sunlight as possible through the room. For many people, sun is essential to happiness and focus. A lot of folks just work better when they have natural light.
In fact, a study by Dr. Hedge at Cornell University, found that natural light in the office reduced headaches, drowsiness and eye strain.
On the other hand, if your office windows face a very distracting scene, such as kids playing outside, traffic or general busyness, you might want to close those shades during working hours to prevent the visual cues from pulling your attention away from the screen.
Hang a White Board or Wall Calendar
Yes, it’s a little old school. But it’s amazing how many workers prefer visual to do lists. Sure, they may use technology for scheduling and lists too, but the big goals and major projects are also plainly written on a large white board as a constant reminder of what’s most important.
You can find many varieties of whiteboards, cork boards and laminate wall calendars online or at local stores for under $50. Grab a few dry erase markers while you’re shopping and get your list out of your head and onto the wall you see everyday in your office.
Build a Mini Workshop
If your job involves drafting, artwork, paper organization or any type of activity requiring more desk space and supplies, then a DIY mini workshop center could be just the element your office needs to function right. Building one of these does not need to be a start-from-scratch undertaking. With a little ingenuity and resourcefulness, you can craft a work center from upcycled products.
For instance, you can take an extra wide old bathroom vanity, dresser or office desk and convert it into a work desk. Remove the center drawers or cabinets to make room for a chair and use the drawers on the side to store your supplies. If the desktop is looking worn, give it a makeover with countertop resurfacing. This is an affordable service in which a company refinishes the top layer of the surface with an acrylic style product that looks similar to a natural stone. This will give you a durable surface to work on, while also bringing a style look to your workspace.
Buy a Filing Unit
Paper clutter is arguably the top culprit for inspiring feelings of overwhelm and procrastination. A desk topped with stacks of letters and documents is the enemy of focus. The quickest way to clear your desk off is to buy some time of organizational unit for your paperwork.
It doesn’t have to be a bulky metal file cabinet, this isn’t 1982. There are very charming and modern alternatives at the local home decor store, such as gold toned multi-tiered standing magazine holders where you can stash your paper in 3 categories. Periodically, just clear it out so the paper doesn’t pile up. A quick visit to the local home decor shop will surprise you at the kinds of stylish paper solutions you can find for around $50.
Invest in a Wall Clock
Yep, a wall clock. Not a smart watch or the time on your computer – a physical clock with traditional minute and second hands. A wall clock is a bold, visual task manager that can glaringly remind you how well or poorly you’re utilizing your hours in the office. Add to this your own personal guidelines on how many minutes you allow yourself for each task and you’ll quicky start mastering the art of getting more done with less time.