“Be the designer of your world and not merely the consumer of it.” – Atomic Habits
After a long day of working at a full-time job or going to school, it’s not always easy to find the motivation to work on your side hustle or business. It’s even harder when your environment is not conducive for productivity and creativity.
With a few simple changes to your environment you can set yourself up for success. Here are three tips on how to make your home a place where you feel ready and excited to create.
Work Only Zone
Our habits are connected to locations. You brush your teeth in the bathroom. You go on vacation and you eat more junk food. You go back to your hometown and your behavior might shift back to your earlier years.
Knowing this, it’s important to separate your work from where you relax. It can be tempting when working at home to choose your bedroom as your workplace. However, your bedroom should be for relaxing and sleeping. Science has shown that working in your bedroom weakens the association between your bed and sleep resulting in you have a difficult time getting any shut-eye.
So, no checking emails once you get in bed!
Instead, designate a place in your home for work. Whether it is a certain chair, table, or room, use that place only for work.
If you create this ritual for yourself and stick with it eventually your brain will start to connect that place to getting work done. You can add other things to this ritual as well. Perhaps, you put on your old gray sweatshirt or play a favorite pop song right before you start working. Over time these things can help you get seriously focused.
In James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, he discusses how our behavior can be changed through changing our environment.
Your environment is constantly sending you messages of things you should do. Different environments send different messages. You probably are more inclined to watch television in your living room than in your kitchen since your living room has comfortable seating.
These messages or cues of what we should do in a particular room can be very distracting from getting work done.
Make it easier on yourself to get work done by creating an environment free from distractions. Clear away any clutter in the area you plan on working. If you work in front of a pile of dirty dishes you might be tempted to start washing them (It’s funny how things that can be totally unappealing can suddenly seem appealing when we are procrastinating.)
Instead of distracting cues leave yourself helpful ones. If you know you want to read when you get home leave a book out in clear view.
When you are ready to work, leave your phone in another room and turn it on Do Not Disturb mode. Do Not Disturb mode silences all notifications and calls so you aren’t picking your phone up every time it dings. The first time I used this feature I had the longest uninterrupted period of work that I had had for a long time.
Another tool for avoiding distraction is using a time cube.
This time management timer will buzz after a set duration of 5, 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Tell yourself you aren’t allowed to do anything but the task at hand until you hear it go off.
Create Your Own Ambiance
You are responsible for creating the ambiance of the environment you work in.
Choose a place with natural lighting.
Natural lighting has been proven to increase productivity as well prevent headaches and eyestrains.
Personalize your space.
Hang up motivational quotes or pictures that will give you fuel to keep on going.
Decorate with plants.
One study showed that plants in an office space can increase productivity by 15%.
Light a citrus or peppermint smelling candle. Citrus and peppermint smells have both been linked to increased energy. Citrus also has the benefit of making you feel happier.
If you try these tips out, I’d love to see the results. You can tag me on Instagram @sharonstark.
What have you done to help yourself be the most productive and creative at home? Leave a comment below.