Heather Bien loves her home office: the navy blue walls; the beautiful rug inspired by an 18th century farmhouse in Gascony, France; the chaise “that’s perfect for afternoons when I want to sit for a few minutes while I scroll through Instagram…”
Only one problem: “[R]arely do I actually pull up a chair to my desk and work,” she recently wrote. While decorated nicely, the room simply wasn’t conducive to getting down to business.
Bien turned to productivity expert Susan Lasky for help, reporting on Lasky’s advice on the Apartment Therapy website. If you’re struggling with a similar issue, here are some of Lasky’s suggestions:
Check the ergonomics: Sure, a decorative chair that matches your interior design is nice. But if it doesn’t offer lumbar support and allow your feet to “rest solidly on the ground” it’s got to go. Find a chair that meets your ergonomic needs.
Get effective lighting: Overhead lighting doesn’t always do the trick. Be sure your working space is well lit, and install task lighting for Zoom calls.
Do you like music in the background? Some people benefit from playing music while working. “Lasky suggests bringing in a speaker for background music, which helps with focus and boredom,” Bien writes, adding that this helps her focus (although she avoids music with words).
Hang a wall calendar: If your work involves frequent deadlines, a wall calendar is indispensable. “You might already have [a calendar] on your computer,” Lasky told Bien, “but a wall chart would keep the deadlines as clear reminders.”
Frame some work that shows your accomplishments: This can serve as inspiration and “ego-tweaking,” notes Lasky. Bien framed a magazine article she recently wrote. Others might showcase diplomas, letters of praise, and photographs of memorable moments.