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I had already been working from home for a couple of years before the pandemic hit (almost) a year ago. It’s stressful and can take a toll on your mental health, even without the rest of the world being thrown into a tizzy. If you’ve ever heard “advice for working from home” you’ll notice that they all tend to say the same thing:
- Put on pants – it’ll help you get in that “work” mindset
- Sit in a chair at a desk – no couches or beds
Do I always follow those pieces of advice? No, I don’t.
There are days when I work in my pajamas all day and there are certainly some days when I sit on the couch with the TV on in the background. In fact, I’m sitting at my desk right now as I’m writing this post but I have my iPad beside me watching YouTube.
You need to work in whatever way helps you focus more. That’s not always sitting straight at a desk in a pair of slacks in silence.
Sometimes you need music. Sometimes you need a movie. Sometimes you feel more comfortable and more productive in sweatpants. Sometimes a chair is more comfortable, others time the couch or bed. Sometimes your desk is the ideal place and other times you need to switch up your environment and sit at the dining room table. If it’s nice out, why not sit outside on the deck or by the pool?
The bottom line is, every day is different. Each day brings its own challenges and we’re not going to feel productive all the time, no matter what we’re wearing or where we’re sitting. But here’s something that has helped me: creating a positive workspace.
No, I don’t sit at my desk every single day. But when I do, I’m surrounded by things I love and things that make me feel comfortable.
I have a small shelf above the surface of my desk where I keep some I need such as a cute giraffe that holds my paper clips, a mug that holds my flash drives and a pen, plus my compression gloves, and blue light glasses.
I also have a couple of picture frames, a lavender candle, hand sanitizer, and hand lotion. Total essentials. Under that shelf, I have a tape dispenser and notepads, and post-it notes.
On the desk itself, I have my laptop of course, and to my left, I normally keep my iPad, which I sometimes watch YouTube or something on there. To my right, that’s where I have a notebook or something, depending on what I’m working on.
I also have a shelf under my desk which is where I keep the good stuff – snacks.
How is this creating a positive workspace? I’ve really only listed things that I need for work.
Surrounding my desk
My desk sits in a corner of my office. I have a wall directly behind me and directly to my right. My sister’s desk and mine are back to back to one another, so that’s in front of me. I have one way out and that’s to my left.
The wall behind me has a couple of floating bookshelves where I keep the books I’m currently reading, my Kindle, and any writing craft books or other research books I need for my creative writing. I also keep a poster on the wall, which I use to help outline my current novel.
To my right is a set of shelves built into the wall. I keep my notebooks, folders, and binders for work, medical, personal stuff, etc. on the bottom shelf. The top shelf holds a turntable carousel of pens, pencils, scissors, highlighters, etc.
Another pair of shelves beside that is where the printer is along with all extra supplies such as more pens, glue, paper clips, too many post-it notes, and more.
You can’t have blank walls, though. I’ll admit, I don’t have a lot of wall space because of the shelves and such, but I decorated the walls over time with things that make me smile.
For one, I have school pictures from the kids I babysit, my niece, and my nephew, plus my cousin’s senior picture. That same cousin (while using my desk to write an essay and procrastinating on it) stuck a few post-it notes on my wall of random pictures she drew and a motivational quote. I’m not sure if that quote is supposed to be sarcasm or not, but I kept it up anyway.
I have pictures the kids have drawn for me, plus a canvas of my name (which was a gift). I have an autographed photo of Taylor Davis and one of Evanna Lynch. And yeah, I also have some inspirational bookmarks hanging on my wall as well.
I’d like to add to it
After creating my vision board for the year, I’ve been wanting to put together another poster board. I remember enjoying posters in school but hating them just because they were for homework (and you often had to present it). But putting together poster boards is a lot of fun. I’d like to create another one whether it’s a collage of motivational quotes or something else. I have no idea where I’d fit it on the wall but I think it would be a nice addition.
It’s my space
No matter what I’m working on, no matter my mood, this is my space.
I don’t always get work done in this particular spot, but it’s my space and the atmosphere around my desk helps. Sometimes I turn around and see that autographed picture of Taylor Davis and grin, remembering seeing her in concert. Or I take a look at the ridiculous notes and drawings my teenage cousin created while attempting to put off her essay.
I guess none of this really helps get work done and it’s doesn’t necessarily boost productivity or anything. But sometimes you need something that will boost your mood.
What does your workspace look like? Let me know in the comments below!