5 Unexpected Upgrades For Your Home Office That Actually Pay Off

Image source: pexels.com

If you ask me, it is time to think outside the box, and beyond those sterile cubicles that corporations call offices. A home office can and should be a place where it is a joy to work in. It is your space after all, and you are free to do anything that helps you summon the work mood to nail your tasks. Now, home office remodeling is not associated with a particularly high ROI, but if you play it smart, there is a way to take your efficiency to the next level and avoid blowing the budget.

Personal statement

Personalizing the space is something that makes an impact on your mood and psyche. The good news is that there are many DIY projects that go easy on your budget and are not labor-intensive. Some home offices also double as hobby and craft room spaces, so do not hesitate to display your passion. Quirky accents, vintage accessories, and handmade crafts do miracles for an overall appeal of the space. At the very least, you can download, enlarge, and frame striking photos you find online. Give your office an instant facelift and this will pay off as sure as eggs.

Matters of functionality

It is also possible to boost the functionality, another hallmark feature, without overspending. Storage space is paramount as it allows you to come up with an uncluttered, clean space. Again, the DIY approach proves to be fruitful. For example, you can save precious desk space by assembling DIY wall storage. Vintage tins, coffee cans, and similar items do the trick just fine: You just need to strip off the label and add magnets. Feel free to go an extra mile and create a work desk out of solid-core wooden door. Just make sure it has appropriate storage compartments and ample space for your equipment.

A fresh start

The importance of fresh air and natural light in work environments cannot be stressed enough. First off, you can do yourself a favor and position your desk next to a window. It also helps to have a nice view, a soothing backdrop that is always there when you need it. But, some offices do not even feature a window, or it is strangely placed. In that case, make a difference with air fresheners and purifiers. Studies have found that nice smells make work errors less likely to occur, so fill the air with rejuvenating presence. Also, you can bring the outdoors in with potted plants and feel the comforting nature’s embrace.

Extra amenities

In case your budget allows it, you should consider bigger projects and remodels. After all, a retreat tailored to good work habits can hold various amenities. Some of them can be close by, outside the core workplace. This saves much time and lets you get back to work ASAP. One good example is a tiny kitchen: You may be able to do things such as listening to educational videos and tutorials while making a launch. You would need proper appliances, storage, as well as plumbing and electrical systems. See what you can do yourself, and contact the local plumbers, designers and electricians for pro results.

Productivity on board

Finally, we present another frugal and simple addition that improves the ambiance and functionality. Namely, a simple whiteboard can bring about a significant boost in productivity. This dry-erase-friendly space for your scratch-work serves a multiple of purposes. You may also go for a chalkboard if that is your cup of tea. Chalkboard spray paint is used in kids’ rooms and kitchens, but there is no need to limit its application to those spaces. It may be messier, but it is also more stylish and enables you to take quick notes. Also, it can deliver a decorative touch to the space and make infuse it with a distinctive character.

Above and beyond

A physical environment has a profound effect on our work habits. Thus, a home office design should not be an afterthought, on the contrary. A dedicated work area can ignite your creativity and productivity, provided that you invest time, money and effort first. Use each square foot to its maximum capacity and look beyond conventional, commercial offices. You can spruce up your workspace even without spending a truckload of money. Treat yourself with a home office that captures your imagination, speaks to your sense of taste, and enables peak performance.

Organize & Redesign: 7 Tips For Your Home Office

In the home office, space is at a premium. For most people the home office is usually an afterthought, or a room that was never intended for such intense paper processing and electronic equipment. Here are some tips to organize, rework your home office and increase your productivity!

  1. Build up: Utilizing the walls, and rearranging the storage can help. If you don’t have a large footprint in your office, consider using the walls, and build up!
  2. Reposition your desk: Consider creating a “u-shaped cockpit” with everything you need at your fingertips. (Just make sure not to have your back to the door!)
  3. Move those files! Reference materials should be within reach of your chair, but archives should be moved elsewhere – ideally relocated out of the room.
  4. And there was light! Bad lighting can really put a damper on your work – not to mention your eyesight. Have ample overhead lighting, as well as task lighting to brighten your workspace.
  5. Ergonomics: Start with the chair, and get one that fits you perfectly. You’re going to use it a lot, so make sure you’re comfortable in it!
  6. Boundaries are key! Working at home is no picnic with constant interruptions, but it can be done with communication. Talk with your family, partner or roommate about when it is and isn’t OK to disturb you in your office. It’s a shift worth making, and everyone will be happier for it!

What’s your home office challenge?

Email Link Roundup: Gmail, Hacks & Ninjas

Ok, I love Google Apps & Gmail.  So, as I was doing a little research, I came across some resources and thought I would share them with you.  Enjoy!

Gmail Power Tips

How to Make Gmail Your Ultimate Productivity Center on ZenHabits.net

Task Manager in Gmail

Tim Ferriss on Becoming an “Email Ninja”

Hack Attack: Become a Gmail master (lifehacker)

Comparing Outlook & Gmail (lifehacker)

Home Office Design Tips: Make it Functional, Stylish and Productive

As the number of people working from their snug home offices continues to increase around the globe, the boundaries between office and home décor are being constantly redrawn as interior designers attempt to reconcile the needs for elegance and comfort with little visual distraction involved. Office style impacts productivity, mood, creative flow, and work engagement, which is why every home-bound busy bee should invest a tad more care and thought when staging their in-house workplace. But how do you exactly achieve a home office look that’s both on-trend and conducive to peak output in the long run? Here’s how.

Image source: pixabay.com
Image source: pixabay.com
  1. The color wheel of productivity

Home office design draws extensively on the premises of color psychology, a study of the impact of different shades on the human mood and behavior. According to color psychology principles, blue inspires serenity and stability, which makes it ideal for detail-oriented workplaces such as legal or accounting offices. Green, on the other hand, is closely associated with creativity and growth, so it’s a good shade pick for in-house workspaces where brainstorming and vision are imperative, for as long as the color scheme isn’t too intense. The same goes for yellow and red, which promote cognitive faculties and energy – but these bright hues should be used sparingly to avoid visual stress and eye fatigue.

  1. Shed the right light on success

Illumination plays a critical role in office ergonomics, both on and outside the home perimeter. Sunlight is by far the healthiest and most affordable luminosity source, so it would be perfect to move your home office to a south-facing room. As for late-night home-locked workers and those who often put in overtime hours, sustainable lighting such as LED and CFLs are a must-have, as their use entails fewer long-term health problems while providing steady non-flickering light to brighten up your evening and/or night work hours and help you bring peak profits home.

  1. Out with auditory distractions

Distractions in home offices are not limited to the visual plane: noise, too, can shatter your focus and work motivation. For this reason, in-house workplaces should be located as far away from high-traffic home areas, such as the kitchen or hallway. Soundproofing the walls and doors is a neat office update you can consider if you have the budget to afford noise cancelling or sound-absorbing insulation materials, but you can cut the costs by adding corkboard panels, acoustical blankets, or thick rugs to the floors and bedecking the windows with heavy draperies to reduce noise pollution flooding your work area from the outside.

  1. Where comfort meets elegance

If you’re going to spend hours busying around your home office, you’ll need to be at ease during the process. According to Sydney based office furniture specialists, more and more home workers are beginning to appreciate the health and productivity benefits of ergonomic workstations and seating. Designed to lower the strain on the back, neck, and shoulders and encourage a natural posture during work hours, adjustable-height chairs with memory foam padding and sit-to-stand desks are an investment in your long-term health and top-notch bottom-line regardless of the industry and workload.

  1. Few frills for long-term corporate bliss

Many home workers are tempted to introduce personal touches in their workspace and liven up the ambiance with a whiff of character and fine trims. Still, when adding accessories and accents that reflect your individual style, try to stay within reasonable limits: a framed photo of your loved one, a few artwork pieces, and/or an inspirational poster will do the décor personalization trick just fine while not getting in the way of your mental flow and concentration. Also, try to keep the office tidy and organized: the files and stationery you use daily should be within reach, and everything you don’t need on day-to-day basis should be neatly stored on shelves or inside filing cabinets to minimize visual distractions and productivity-shattering mess.

Organizing and maintaining a suave yet cozy at-home workplace is not as tough as it seems, but it does require a bit of knowledge about office ergonomics and interior design. After all, if you’re going to be stuck in your in-house work area most of the day, you can at least make it graceful, inviting, and conducive to productivity, comfort, and long-term wellbeing. Roll up your sleeves and get down to work: your home office won’t fall into place all by itself – it’s up to you to make it into anything and everything you want it to be, for as long as you’re keeping your eyes on the prize of paramount productivity and aesthetic appeal. Good luck!



Catalyst For Change

There it is, staring you in the face. Something big comes up, and you feel your entire body go cold from head to toe. You’ve got an inner struggle and a crisis on your hands. So, how do you change gears to deal with it?

Crisis or Opportunity?

I read about the Chinese character for “crisis” meaning the same as “opportunity”. Then, I read an interpretation on Laura Young’s blog about the character meaning “crisis” and “crucial point (when something begins or changes)”. This makes so much sense to me. When faced with a crisis, it definitely means something has to change. If someone passes, it means your life will change in many ways. If you have a business crisis, many times it is a catalyst for change. When you hear a person say they “hit rock bottom”, it’s usually after they changed their life in a dramatic way.

It doesn’t have to take a crisis to start a change.

What if we didn’t wait for a crisis to make a change? What if we were really honest about who we are and how we live our life? Regardless of our perception of the size of change, work on our part will be required:

“If you want to change something in your life, you have to change something in your life.”

As an organizer, I recognize push back from potential clients if they are not ready for change. However, when they are ready, their space reflects what is going on inside of them – major change and improvement take place. If we wait for a crisis to come from outside ourselves, efforts to change could be too late.

Find your motivation.

Don’t wait for a crisis, start making a change today. You have more strength within you than you know! Half the battle is deciding to take the first step, and if you need support and help along the way reach out and ask for it. Having an experienced guide to point you in the right direction makes you more productive. Find your motivation for change, use it as a catalyst and change your situation, your business and you life. You only live this life once, so make it the best it can be.

Quote of the Week: The Front Page of Yahoo!!

Usually I share with you all a very deep and meaningful (and sometimes amusing) quote of the week.  Because I’m all about shaking it up once in a while, I had to share this news!  So, this week, I’m quoting, well … myself!

The weekend of Sept. 13 & 14, an article I wrote, “5 Productivity Killers & How to Fend Them Off” was featured on the front page of Yahoo.com!!!  I could not believe it!  Wendy Piersall, of Sparkplugging.com called me (as I was shopping for cucumbers at the local farmer’s market, glamorous, I know) to tell me this fantastic news.  I was so in shock, and I’m STILL reeling about it.

So, without furth adieu, I give you my article….

5 Productivity Killers & How to Fend Them Off

Home Office & Productivity Link Roundup

Yep, it’s time for another link roundup. Here’s the latest in home office and productivity around the Net. Enjoy!

“Getting To Done”: The Ultimate Home Office

10 Hacks to Improve Your Home Office Productivity: Lifehack serves up another great article on improving productivity, this time about home offices.

8 Ways To Be Ruthless With Your Time: Guard your time and use it wisely, cuz you’ve only got 24 hours each day to work with.

Best Contact Management Software: There’s lots of ways to track your contacts electronically, this is a roundup (along with some honorable mentions at the end) of LifeHacker’s popular vote.

Chief Home Officer’s Link Roundup: I know, it seems silly to link to another link roundup, but I’m doin’ it anyway! From noise levels, kids and backyard offices, this is a good read.

The Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: 8 Things You Need to Get

Have you ever tried completing a project and then halfway through you realize that you don’t have everything you need, or have you become confused about what to do next? This can happen to the best of us, and for entrepreneurs, who tend to “wear many hats,” you might not be sure if you have all the right tools or even know what tools you need.  Because being a business owner can feel like huge undertaking (sort of like climbing a steep mountain), having the right set of strategies in your arsenal can come in handy. If your toolbox is empty, throw a few of these tools in… Continue reading “The Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: 8 Things You Need to Get”

Home Office & Productivity Link Roundup

Here’s the latest version of my favorite links. Enjoy!

Web Worker Daily gives some great tips on using a whiteboard. One of them is for brainstorming, and I admit I do this and then put it the finished project into a Powerpoint slide.

Levenger has a great article about organizing a home office. They have some good tips about multi-use home offices if you are just setting up your office.

My Design Secrets is a developing directory of decorating sources. I read about it in my local paper, and had to share. Great place to get ideas if you are remodeling, rearranging or redesigning soon.

Zenhabits’ article about “editing” your workspace. I especially love the “quick not about productivity. It’s pretty much how I feel about productivity: it’s not that we have to do more and more and more… it’s that when we are more effective with our time and get our work done, we can spend time doing other things we love.

43 Folders: “Inbox Zero” Email can rule your life, and recently I heard someone call it the bane of our existence.  What we need is a system, and some fierce, ninja-like tactics to get the stuff under control.  That, and not checking the inbox every 10 minutes.  😉  (Check out Merlin’s talk at Google, very good stuff!)