Decluttering and Other Strategies to Improve Focus in Your Home Office

by Thom Tracy

3 min read

Where you work affects how you work. Modern technology has allowed plenty of computer-savvy folks to escape the office and work remotely. Whether you write blogs in a local neighborhood coffee shop or code apps on the beach, your surroundings make a difference. If you want maximize productivity and efficiency, it’s critical that you create an ideal work space. Even if you’re the digital nomad type who prefers ever-changing scenery, having that personal haven where work is your primary focus really helps you to overcome the mental obstacles that are so common in work from home settings.

Streamline Your Surroundings

Finding somewhere free of distraction to retreat to can be challenging. Even if it’s a small walk-in closet, try to claim a room or corner where you can work from home on a consistent basis without worrying about being interrupted. Too much clutter can be distracting, but an empty room can feel cold and sterile. You want to create a home office that you genuinely enjoy inhabiting, so hang up some artwork, family photos, curtains, or anything that makes the room feel welcoming. Invest in lighting that’s bright but not harsh. Move any clutter that doesn’t have a relevant purpose to another room. Your goal is to create a work zone that’s inviting without distracting you from the task at hand.

Make a Playlist

Some people prefer to work in silence, but true silence isn’t always feasible. Maybe the neighbor’s dog barks or the faucet drips. One option is to hang up soundproof foam to keep your home office silent. You might prefer to work with music playing in the background. Music with lyrics tends to be distracting – your brain processes language and meaning differently than sound – so try listening to instrumental music, such as classical, electronic, or jazz. Movie and video game scores are also popular choices. Make a playlist in advance so you don’t get distracted when the music ends. If you find music to be too distracting, you could play white noise to drown out surrounding sounds. Even just running a fan can work. Ambient soundscapes and nature sounds can also help you focus.

Buy Some Plants

Potted plants can really add a lot to a room. When you’ve been staring at a computer screen for hours, looking at a bit of nature is a nice change of pace. Plants also improve the air quality of the room, which is refreshing after you’ve been in there for a while. Plants that require little maintenance are ideal, but there’s nothing wrong with anything from a ficus tree to a bouquet of roses if it makes you happy. Some popular indoor plants in Canada include peace lilies, spider plants, jade plants, and ZZ plants. Herbs, succulents, and cacti are great choices, too.

Create Communication Options

Privacy is golden, but you may end up more distracted if you’re wondering what’s going on, especially if you have children, pets, or roommates. An intercom system can be surprisingly affordable and easy to set up, and it makes it possible for household members, visitors, delivery drivers, and anyone else to get in touch with you. You could also hang a sign that instructs people to only knock on the door if it’s important. These little details will go a long way in helping you to work without distractions, but distractions aren’t always external. They can come from your own brain, so it’s important to find peace of mind within your work zone. What works for one person isn’t always ideal for another, and creating your own personal home office paradise isn’t an overnight task. Over time, you’ll start to figure out what works for you. Try to track when you’re most productive, and create a similar environment next time. When you get distracted, think about what distracted you, and find a solution. If you’re struggling to find your focus outside of the office, don’t underestimate your ability to adapt. Working from home is a change; turning it into a positive one is up to you.

References & Resources

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