No matter where you work, it’s important to create an environment that helps you focus. This is especially critical when working from home; maintaining a clear division between work and your home life will make it easier to show up fully for both.
Here are my tips for working joyfully – and productively – from home:
Create a Tidy Haven
In “Joy at Work,” my co-author and I reference studies that prove how clutter overwhelms the brain and compromises the ability to take initiative – ultimately decreasing productivity.
Creating a calm, uncluttered environment will enhance both productivity and joy. To get there, identify the items that are crucial to getting your work done, and designate a spot for them. If you don’t have an office, a box or portable carrier will do. Move all unrelated items off of your workspace and add one thing that sparks joy when you look at it – I keep a crystal or small vase of fresh flowers on my desk. If you work in a multi-use space, be sure to stow your work essentials out of sight at the end of the day so they don’t distract during dinner or downtime.
Signal the Start of Your Work Day
Before you begin working, take a moment to center yourself. I strike a tuning fork at the start of each workday. I also diffuse a stimulating essential oil to signal to my body that I’m switching gears. This moment doesn’t have to be elaborate – in fact, the simpler the better so you’ll be more likely to do it every day.
Similarly, mark the end of your workday with a simple ritual. Turn on music, turn off notifications…whatever will let you move into the next part of your day with ease.
Set Boundaries and Take Breaks
On average, we spend less than half of our workday on our main job responsibilities – the rest of the time is taken up by interruptions, non-essential and administrative tasks, emails and meetings. Resist the “urgency” trap! Recognize the difference between urgent and important tasks and make sure the urgent to-dos aren’t draining all your time and energy.
Another way to manage your time effectively is by scheduling downtime. Block out windows on your calendar each week to turn off notifications, take a walk or simply let your mind wander. Your creativity will be replenished and your brain will be sharper.
Working in isolation, away from your team, can be hard on the spirit. Schedule time during the workday to simply chat and catch up with your colleagues; connection with your cohort is vital to staying energized and engaged – and moving in the same direction.
Video calls, video messages or audio notes bring an element of human warmth to communication that can sometimes get lost digitally. Make an effort to hear and see the other person.
Tidying all the aspects of our work life – from emails and digital data to tasks and meetings – is the first step to having a career that truly sparks joy. When we ask ourselves what sparks joy, we reconnect with our inner self and discover what’s really important to us at home, at work – and when working from home.