It’s been a year since most of us started working from our homes.
I remember moving back to my parent’s place last March. At that time, I had no idea that I would be working from home for the next 8 months.
In the beginning, it didn’t feel too troublesome. I had a room with a work desk for myself. It also had an attached balcony that allowed fresh air and some sunlight.
The first few months, I didn’t really struggle with working there. However, over time, just the idea of sitting on my work desk felt super exhausting. I was done.
And then it hit me —I needed to create a writing environment that could supply me with some creative stimulus all the time.
The exact definition of stimuli is “a thing or event that evokes a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue.”
But when I talk about it from the point of view of writing (or working), I simply imply stimuli as something that is going to evoke us to write (or work). The thing that kickstarts us into taking an action.
For example, if you’re used to working from cafes, creative stimuli could the smell of coffee beans from a small coffee bar in your room or from a coffee-scented candle. The idea is to create the ambiance that fires your neurons to get working — a friend of mine has started using Paris Cafe scented candles for the same.
I have experimented quite a bit with my workspace throughout these months and found some interesting ways to always keep work exciting, even while working from home. Here are some of them:1. Keep a ‘when I’m bored’ list handy
When at home, it’s easy to feel like you are totally out of new and interesting things to do. We just can’t keep relying on the usual afternoon stroll to stir up ideas, after all. Can we?
If you are stuck in the feeling of monotony, something as simple as solving a Sudoku puzzle can get your mind activated.
I got inspired to make my ‘When I am bored’ list after looking at an interesting Mason Jar craft — Bored Jar. The idea was simply to write down different fun and interesting things to do on popsicle sticks and put them in a Mason Jar. Every time you feel stuck, you pick one of them and do the activity mentioned on it.
The idea is simply to pick up a new thing or a thing you’ve not tried in a very long time. You’ll be surprised to see how it’ll get you out of the slump and get you going again.
Sure, our options are limited indoors, but there are still at least 100 interesting things you can do. For me, the list comprises things like painting rocks, solving a puzzle, doing a DIY or craft, baking cookies, and even just organizing linen.
Just pinning the list on the bullet-in board works! But I definitely have plans to make into a jar and keep it in my room.2. Make it super minimal
Everything that’s in your sight can create a distraction. Not only this, but it also confuses the brain when there are too many visual stimuli.
When I started working from home, my work desk looked like this —
While this looked good, it did feel chaotic to work here. Soon, I placed most of the things here out of sight and replaced the big table with a smaller minimal workstation.
Clean lines and lots of white space are hallmark characteristics of minimalism. That space may be taken up on occasion by other things that you need throughout the day, but it is meant for temporary use only. Ideally, those items should have their own permanent storage out of view.3. Find your work jam
The best thing about working from home is that you can have your playlist playing on speakers while you work. I never tire from listening to different Lofi music playlists on YouTube while working.
Some people also like to tune into podcasts to set up the mood. Considering the podcasts are at an all-time rise, you can definitely find podcast listening apps that match your interests.
Letting something play in the background while you work provides a constant stimulus that helps most people focus better and get things done.4. Light it up
The lighting in your workspace impacts your ability to concentrate more than you realize. In fact, a lot of writing tips around creating a good writing environment or routine talk about having a well-lit space that sparks creativity.
It’s important to understand what well-lit means —
- It’s best if you have access to natural light during your working hours.
- Have a dedicated light (perhaps a desk lamp) that you switch on only when you work.
- Avoid overly harsh fluorescent lighting or dim lighting.
- Invest in ambient light if possible.
My simple desk lamp works well for me. It has two different modes — white and warm white. After some research around workspace lighting, I understood the need to invest in a lamp that could toggle between the two modes.
As we spend more time indoors, lighting can play a huge role in regulating our circadian rhythm. The white light of a high color temperature helps you stay focused, while the warm light of a low color temperature is better when you want to start relaxing a bit. It decreases your alertness before going to bed so that you can have quality sleep and wake up fresh the next morning.5. Keep Things That Bring Joy
According to the Work-Life Balance Statistics report, 54% of people said that their mental health has increased in importance this year vs. last year. Not only this, according to a recent Pinterest report, the search for terms related to ‘positivity’ was at an all-time high. (+64%)
I remember spending some time lettering small positive notes for my work desk when I first started working from home. So, I wasn’t surprised when I came across this report.I know so many people who added plants to their home workplace. One of my favorite writers, Jamie Varon has a ritual to bring fresh flowers for her work desk every now and then.
I recently shifted to Bangalore (in South India) and in all of South India, you can find these wonderfully fragrant Mogra(Jasmine) flowers. Every time I cross the temples here, I grab a gajra for keeping on the work desk.
Now, it doesn’t always have to be flowers. It could be something as simple as a really cool laptop cover or an art print that brings you joy. The idea is to simply invest some time towards making your workplace a lot more JOYFUL. After all, you spend so much time there!That’s it! Those are some of the ways in which I’ve made my at-home workstation into a creative space where I feel excited to work and even recharge. Hope you found the tips mentioned here helpful! 🙂