Your ally in the battle to maintain productivity and health while working from

home, is your home office. While you might be limited for space, if there is

any way possible, then you should design a home office that will be

separate from the rest of your home.

This is important, because it will allow you to step in and out of your “work

mode.” The worst thing you can do, is to work in the room you sleep in.

This will make it much harder to separate your working life from your

downtime, which will have deleterious impacts on your sleep.

There are other things you can do to make an ideal home office for

productivity too.


One powerful tip, is to surround your office with things that inspire you and

that put you in the mood to be productive. These might be examples of the

best work in your niche or industry, or pictures of your heroes and people

who inspire you.

This is something that Cal Newport talks about in his book Deep Work

(which I’ve referenced before). Here, he talks about the idea of the

“Eudaimonia Machine” – a space built by architects with the singular

purpose of generating the most productivity possible.

Part of this design involves museums filled with inspirational works. This is

something that I feel very strongly about and believe can make a huge

difference to overall productivity.

This is linked to the psychological concept of “priming.” Priming essentially

means putting someone in the frame of mind most conducive to whatever task comes next and it has been linked with memory. So for instance, if you want to “prime” someone to give positive responses to a question, you might spend twenty minutes complimenting them and giving them chocolate to put them in a good mood. If you want to influence someone’s answers to an inkblot test, you might put them in a room with lots of fruit. This room is supposed to have the same effect, but instead it will put you in the mood to get productive work done.


One of the most important things to do if you want to make your office as

productive as possible, is to keep it organized and tidy. Your office space is

an outward reflection of your mental state, and if it becomes disorganized

and untidy, it will make it harder for you to focus on work.

Adopting a minimal décor is one excellent way to this. The fewer items you

have, the less dusting and organization there is to do. At the same time,

this will automatically increase the average quality and value of the items

you do keep on display!

Another tip is to create systems for keeping things organized. A paper tray

system can be very effective for instance when it comes to keeping papers

organized, and going paperless is also a very good idea!

Faces and Plants

There are several studies that suggest that humans are supposed to live in

small groups or tribes, and that this is the way our brains have evolved. We

therefore struggle when we don’t get that stimulation, and our

neurochemistry is less conducive to happiness and productivity.

But you can “hack” this process as simply as putting a picture with your

loved ones on your desk. That’s all it takes to put you in a more productive

and positive mindset when starting your day.

Likewise, adding a plant to your desk can be a very effective way to boost

your mood. This works because it brings a bit of the outdoors in, which

once again has an impact on our mental state due to our psychological

evolution. We still associate plants and greenery with areas of natural

abundance. Thus, they stimulate the production of serotonin and other feel

good hormones, which have actually been shown to combat stress and

even make us more productive!

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