When I was younger, I absolutely despised revising for my exams. I would do literally everything I could to avoid dealing with the books in front of me. Staring out of the window, hiding fiction books inside my textbooks, playing ‘Snake’ on my old school Nokia phone under my desk, doodling all over every blank surface I could possibly find.
I thought things would change in my final year of college when I was studying something I actually liked. But when things finally took a turn was when I started interning at a fashion magazine after college. I’d walk by desk after desk of people tapping relentlessly away at their keyboards at warp speed, chasing the next big deadline before the issue closed. The one common denominator fueling their remarkable productivity? An inspiring work space.
.These fashion ninjas had corkboards bursting with bright to-do lists, inspiring fashion quotes and cutouts of the latest runway trends from magazines they were using as mood boards. Some desks had glossy calendars while some had quirky phones. It didn’t take me long to recognize a pattern and jump on the bandwagon as soon as I could. I stepped up my own work base instantly by starting small – a hot pink stapler, a photo frame with a picture of my dog and I, a few sparkly pencils and a printed planner. I was surprised to see that my little experiment actually worked! Not only did I begin to take pride in the little work environment I had created for myself, but I began to take more pride in my work, too. I was flying through my task list for the day and even managing to squeeze in a couple of extra pieces of work, to help the others around me. I was on a roll!
.Fast-forward ten years. We’re all just starting to come out of lockdown, with most of the world primarily working from home. Some people absolutely love it. Whereas others find it demotivating because it is so far removed from what they’re used to, which is totally understanable. But here’s the thing about working from home – you can do it pretty much anywhere (which is great), but it is really easily to get distracted by all the comforts around you like food and your bed (which is not so great). Which is why it is even more important for your work base – your center of operations – to be even more inspiring, so you want to get out of bed and sit at the beautiful space you created and focus on churning out content you’re proud of. Take a look at my home office on my Instagram below:
Luckily, it is super easy to do this on-the-go, too. Every time I travel back home, I tend to do so for a few weeks and can’t neglect work while I am away. I need a base to keep up with commitments and deadlines. Which is why I make use of a few things I have lying around my home or hotel room for some instant inspiration. Here are my top tips for an inspiring work base – the items you’ll need, where you can get them and the tricks of the trade that will help you discover your most productive self:
1.MARK YOUR TERRITORY
Create a designated work base, preferably away from your bedroom so you won’t be temped to take a ‘quick break’ which will turn into ‘ just ten more minutes’ and then a nap and a subsequent missed deadline. It happens to the best of us.
2. MAKE IT COMFY
Whilst putting together your designated workspace, make sure it is a comfortable one. I don’t mean bean bags or recliner chairs that you can nap in, but make sure you invest in a good quality desk chair with good back support so you won’t use uncomfortable seating as an excuse to walk around multiple times, take breaks or find more laid back, less productive seating arrangements. Fun cushions you can prop up on the chair are great too, as are things like footstools (if your feet tend to swell if you’ve been seated too long) or even a nice fluffy rug which feels soft under your feet.
3. CHALK OUT TIME
Be realistic about the time you can dedicate to the work you need to finish. While you might be tempted to say you’ll sit there all day, it would be easier to dedicate four intense hours, get the job done and go do something fun after, than spend the whole day thinking you can afford to be distracted by other things since you have all day to finish your tasks.
Create a list of tasks you need to finish and then decide what needs to be top priority. Stick to the order and work your way down. It gets easier as the day progresses and your energy levels go down, because you know that the big pieces of work that require the most effort are already behind you, and only the small, less taxing bits remain.
This is my favourite part! Always make sure your work base really reflects your personality and your current state of mind by surrounding yourself with positive imagery and objects that inspire you to push harder and aim higher. Whether it’s a framed photograph of you and someone you love, a picture of the She-E-O inspiring you to start your own business or a pretty diary that just begs to be written in. This is your blank canvas. Have fun painting it any colour you want!
.6. GLAM UP YOUR GIZMOS
I love personalizing my desktop /home screen wallpapers and screen savers to add a little personality to my gizmos. You can find some of my absolute favourites downloadable for free on Design Love Fest.
7. ALLOW FOR EASY SNACK-CESS
It gets easy to fall into a rut of unhealthy eating when at home, or even ordering in when you’re in an office. Keep hunger at bay by stashing healthy snacks like nuts, low fat yoghurt, a nutrition bar, a protein shake, green tea and lots of water around in case you get hungry and can’t afford the luxury of going off on an extended lunch break to find something healthy to eat. Just remember not to eat them all in one go! One or two items through the day is plenty.
8. REWARD YOURSELF
Won a trophy, medal or certificate for participating in something that made you feel a part of a community or like you made a difference? Good for you! Celebrate your success by keeping these things around your workspace to remind yourself that success is just around the corner if you strive hard enough for it. Don’t have a physical object to represent your success? Don’t worry! Write down the dates of when you’ve accomplished a goal and fill it in a jar like this to keep on your work base. Use filling the jar by the end of the year as your motivation! Or you could also try this cute DIY ‘important date’ art idea to display on your desk.
Have you personalised your WFH space this year? I’d love to see pictures! Tag me @wokeweaemcr in all your WFH pictures on Instagram!