Productive at Home: Setting Up Your Home Office Space To Reduce Distractions

January 25, 2019

A woman enjoys coffee and the sunrise
Stephanie Dwilson

If you want to be productive at home, put some thought and creativity into how you set up your home office space. Millions of people work from home rather than commuting to an office setting. But sometimes it can be difficult to keep a good work-life balance when you're working from home. You need to reduce distractions: everything from pets to overflowing laundry. Here are some ideas on how to set up a distraction-free home office that can help you focus at work.

Ban Distracting Sites

With no one looking over your shoulder, it can be tempting to check YouTube or Twitter frequently. Instead, either ban the sites completely or limit your time on them. Consider installing an app that shuts off your access to distracting websites while you're working. Apps that do this include Freedom and FocusMe, but there are many more.

Declutter Your Office

A cluttered office can be distracting and depressing. It can be surprisingly easy to let non-work items creep into your office, like toys and mail, Forbes notes. It's hard to focus when your workspace is full of paper and extra stuff that's just strewn around. So clean up your office at least once a week, and don't use it as a storage space.

Get Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones can do wonders when it comes to reducing distractions. Instead of hearing your refrigerator running or the traffic outside, you can fully concentrate. You might also want to draw the shades in your office if looking outside is constantly pulling your attention away.

Use Ergonomic Furniture and Accessories That Promote Good Posture

An aching back and neck or hurting hands can be a big distraction. That's why you want to do everything you can to reduce the pain in the first place by having good posture while working and typing. A standing desk can help ensure that your computer and keyboard are at the right height, and give you a chance to stand and work when you're feeling tired. An ergonomic chair with good back support can cut down on aches and pains. You'll also want to invest in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, so your hands don't start to hurt while you're typing.

Set Up Inspiring Decorations

Make an effort to put up wall art that inspires you, whether it's a favorite quote, an award you've won or a photo that puts you in the right frame of mind. You might even want to set up a bookshelf with a few books that inspire you or tap into a creative mindset. With these reminders of your goals and inspirations, it may be easier to stay focused while you work.

Use Stimulating Scents and Sounds

The silence of your house may actually be distracting. Try having a natural sound in your office, like a water fountain, Realtor.com suggests. You might also want a scented candle to promote relaxation for focusing.

Divide Your Office Into Zones

Your job may change throughout the day. You might have times when you need to be focused on the computer, times when you're interviewing people on the phone, and times when you need to plan or be creative. Consider dividing your office into "zones" that accommodate these needs, Forbes suggests. Maybe you'll have a corner with a table, nice lighting, and a window for when you need to be creative, and an "interviewing" chair set up in another space, separate from your computer and standing desk.

Take a Break Several Times a Day

Sometimes it's tougher to stay focused when you're at home, working alone. Consider giving yourself mini-breaks during the day, such as five to 20 minutes every hour or so, Inc. suggests. This might involve checking social media, taking your dog for a quick walk, visiting a coffee shop or making a phone call to a friend.

Being productive at home involves setting yourself up for success. Just a bit of planning ahead and a dash of creativity can give you a distraction-free home office space.

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