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How To Create A Home Workspace When You Don't Have One

Woman Working Remotely in Her Living Room
Image by Ivan Gener / Stocksy
March 23, 2020

After a week (or more) spent bouncing from couch to bed to kitchen counter and back, it's starting to settle in that we should be thinking about the long game when it comes to working from home. A big part of that is setting yourself up an actual workspace instead of just working wherever we find ourselves.

May of us aren't lucky enough to have a designated workspace in our home—or we simply have one and there's more than one of us working at home. We touched base with a feng shui expert Amanda Gibby Peters of Simple Shui to see what her advice is for cultivating a productive workspace anywhere in your home.

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"There is no wrong or right space in light of our current climate," she shared with mindbodygreen, "and we can make the most of yours with a little shui!" Here's her advice:

1. Pick a dedicated space, to start.

It may be tempting to move around to freshen your mindset during the day, and we're not saying not to do that. But it is important to lock in a spot that becomes your designated space for work—it'll make it easier to get into work mode but also to transition out of it when the time comes to sign off at the end of the day. "Once you've named your space, get into the ritual of working here daily," recommends Peters. "This routine will provide familiar comfort as we maneuver work through the unknown."

There's no wrong space to work, and since it's probably going to be pulling double-duty while our lives become homebound, use this strategy from Peters to keep the energy right: "Use a basket (or another form of storage) to put your work supplies into at day's end. Organize now, and you will appreciate the convenience of it as the weeks pass."

2. Use alternate light sources.

We'll hazard a guess that your kitchen table doesn't usually house a lamp, but you may want to consider popping one on when it's in "workspace" mode. "If you are easily distracted, use task lighting to hold your attention on the task at hand," suggests Peters.

How can light set the tone? Peters gave us some insights on that too. Incandescent bulbs will provide warmth to the space, while "halogen bulbs radiate yang energy—an excellent pick-me-up" if you feel your motivation waning.

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3. Use scents to set your mindset.

Grab your essential oils or your favorite scented candle and tap into their attention-honing power. Peters recommends invigorating scents: eucalyptus, peppermint, and citruses, in particular. These "will keep you motivated and signal to your creative brain it's time to work," she explained. (Here are our favorite nontoxic candles.)

4. Introduce these elements to your space.

Bringing other items into the space to set it up for your most productive work-from-home yet can also help set up a work-mode area even in a space with spared use. Consider these tips: "Metal is the element of creativity and completion," according to Peters, "so it will prompt you to stay focused." She also recommends bringing in the color white and keeping crystals in your work zone.

Greenery also carries a lot of power in feng shui, and "Perhaps most importantly right now, plants create a sense of companionship in the space," Peters told us. "Any greenery—as long as it thrives—is good energy in the bank," she said.

We are all adjusting to our new normal of working from home, finding a way to separate our work from our homes (so we can maintain some semblance of balance). Whether you're using these tips to set up a primary workspace or to set one up so you and your family can all work remotely, there are also ways to maximize the productivity of an existing home workspace.

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