It’s been almost seven months since the pandemic halted our world, and while some places are starting to reopen and people are starting to venture outside, most of us still work remotely from home. With trial and error, you might have gotten into the groove of the work-from-home setup, but as the old cliche goes, there’s always room for improvement. It’s normal to feel your energy and motivation take a dip from time to time. After all, there’s only so many Zoom calls one can go on without feeling burnt out. Though there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and making time for a little R&R, at one point, we have to get back on our feet and tackle what lies ahead. So if you’re feeling drained, cooped up, and think that your home office needs a revamp, read on for some tips on where to start.
1. Designate an area.
Most of us hastily set up our home office in March, thinking that maybe it will only last for a few weeks. Fast forward to today, you find yourself in the middle of the living room, struggling to pay attention to a meeting while your family watches TV in the background. Do yourself a favor, find yourself a quieter spot in the house and relocate. Designate a place solely for working. It doesn’t have to be a whole room. Just a desk and a chair will do the trick. Add in an area rug or a partition for privacy if you feel like it. If possible, set up your space near a window and let the sunlight in. Having access to sunlight, fresh air, and nature boost energy, encourage productivity, increase happiness, and lessen stress and burnout. I guess that’s what it means to have a sunny disposition!
2. Declutter your workspace.
“Messy desk, messy mind” is not just a saying. It is actually true. Studies have shown that a cluttered desk hinders our productivity and significantly affects our emotions, behavior, decision-making, and relationships. Start small by discarding a few items on your desk: paperwork you’ve finished with, dishes you ate off of when you were bingeing Netflix, maybe a book you’ve abandoned halfway through quarantine. Be honest when you edit and sort and remember that it’s okay to let go of things that do not spark joy for you anymore. If decluttering all at once seems overwhelming, break it up into areas (paperwork, drawers, tabletop, etc.) and schedule a time every day or every week to tackle it.
3. Surround yourself with things you love.
In line with sparking creativity and happiness, displaying meaningful items can help with motivation and inspiration. Make sure your space embodies the kind of energy you want to attract. Furnish your desk by placing a favorite photo with your family or significant other, or even your furry friend! Find a home for cute trinkets you picked up during travels (and cure your travel blues in the process!) If you recently took on the title “plantita,” place one or two of your plants by the desk, plus points because they help filter the air.
You can also add some scented candles to light at the end of a long workday. Opt for all-natural instead of synthetic ones when you can. All-natural aromatherapy candles are made with pure essential oils that can improve our physiological well-being. Shop Grounded features crystal-infused aromatherapy candles (made of 100% pure essential oils!) that provides healing and cleansing energy along with their very yummy scents. Choose from the three variants—Manila Moon (Moonstone crystal), Pacific Ocean (Sodalite crystal), and The Cordilleras (Amethyst crystal)—on our Shop tab or Shop Grounded Instagram.
Making your workspace personal gives you a sense of who you were in the past, grounds you in the present, and makes you look forward with hope towards the future.
Illustrations by Josie Javier
4. Consider sustainability.
With great decluttering comes great responsibility. We must take care of our environment and honor the Earth we live in. Organizing and editing your workspace will leave you with several items to dispose of. Decide and segregate them into piles like donate, recycle, and dispose. A quick Google search will give you lists of organizations and charities who are more than happy to take pre-loved items out of your hands. In the same manner, consciously examine future purchases to avoid repeating the same cycle. The world and its people will thank you for it!
5. Look inward.
The final tip to harness productivity is to look inward. Self-awareness is a good practice to know ourselves on a deeper level. Find time to rediscover who you are, your “why” in life. List down your values, standards, strengths, and weaknesses. Take notes and be honest with yourself. Allow yourself to be critical and point out habits that are not working for you anymore. Likewise, grant yourself the forgiveness and acceptance of things that were and make room for the new. Remember, this mindful practice of reflection is not a one-time event. It is in the daily, consistent exercise that we gain awareness and perspective.