Staying focused while studying or working at home is no easy feat. The fridge, the couch, your furry best friend are all calling for you to stop working and instead bask in the comforts of your safe haven.
But we all know that sometimes working from home is the only option. So how do we set ourselves up for success? We’ve listed some home office and kids’ study room ideas, tips and tricks below to keep everyone zoned in.
Keep your context in mind to stay productive
Set up a work environment
Ideally, a workspace should be just that and only that – a space for working.
At the end of the day, we’re all creatures of habit. Our minds are built to recognise and respond to contextual stimuli of the space around us.
What that means is, if we start trying to be productive in a context that we’ve previously used for rest and relaxation, chances are we’re going to start looking for those comforting distractions when we're meant to be working.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room in your home, designate that space as a home office or study area. Keep entertainment and relaxation objects (like video games and your bed) in another part of the house.
Create a work zone in single room
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of having spare rooms just laying around, waiting to be turned into a home office.
If that’s the case for you, and you only have one small area available, don’t sweat it. You can always use home decor ideas to transform your space and create the perfect setup.
By shifting the context of a certain area in a multipurpose room, you can create cues that signal when it’s time to work and stay focused vs when it’s time to play and chill out.
Create dividers or physical barriers with home decor items.
A few examples are big plants to block in an area of a room, free-standing screen room dividers, or positioning your desk in a way that uses walls in the room as visual barriers. Get creative!
Use creative lighting solutions for an ideal office design.
By using LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs with different lighting options (i.e. colors, dimming features, and Kelvin ranges) lighting can change how you think and feel in that single space. That means you can trick your body into transitioning from work to play (but more on this in the next section!). Here are some LED lights that are perfect for this scenario.
Use a different laptop, desk, or chair for physical cues.
If finances allow it, use a specific laptop for work, and one for your hobbies. If space allows it, have two different desks and chairs for work and play time. While this won’t be a game-changer, every little bit helps when creating physical cues to remind us it’s time to be productive.
Use lighting to change your space
As we pointed out in the previous section, lighting can make a world of a difference when it comes to productivity at home.
In fact, studies show that by changing the color temperature (Kelvin) of the lighting in your workspace, you can significantly alter performance levels.
In laymen’s terms? You could actually do better on a project, or your child could score higher on a test, just by changing the lighting in your work or study space.
The image below shows a quick view of Kelvin ranges. As you can see, 3000K is a warm, orange shade while 6500K is a cool white to blue shade.
(For a deeper explanation of the Kelvin scale and how it effects your home lighting design, click here.)
Using LED white shades for better focus
Studies show that using 6000K+ can significantly increase levels of focus, alertness, and performance. The reason? Because the sun is approximately 6000K.
So when you set your lights to that temperature of Kelvin, you’re mimicking strong daylight and telling your mind and body it’s time to get things done. That makes the color temperature of 6000K perfect for the best study desk setup.
Using LED warm shades for creative and relaxing downtime
On the opposite side of the spectrum, lighting for creativity, relaxation and enhanced mood falls within the range of 3500K to 4000K. Use this color temperature of lighting for switching off after a day of work is done and it’s time to wind down.
Using tuneable white LEDs for both focus and relaxation
LIFX White to Warm and LIFX Color bulbs were created with this exact usage in mind. Think of it this way: if you use the same space to complete admin work as you do to get creative, performance for both activities could suffer due to contextual confusion.
But, by using a LIFX White to Warm (or Day Dusk) to illuminate a home desk setup with bright white, invigorating light during the day, and then easily switch to dimmed, warm creative lighting at night, it’ll be much easier for you to switch from writing emails to creative marketing copy without sacrificing performance.
Obviously everyone is different, so make sure you experiment with what works for you. The best part about LIFX lights is the brightness and Kelvin range on each light is massive, so your illuminated space can be tailored to your exact needs.
Make sure your setup is comfortable and clean
There’s nothing worse than trying to focus on the task at hand and being genuinely uncomfortable – the room is too cold, your desk is too low, your chair is killing your back.
What’s worse is it could make you less productive, meaning you’ll have to spend more time in that uncomfortable situation to finish your workload. Bit of a catch-22, you know?
So here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your space to ensure you’re comfortable and able to stay focused.
Think about your home office temperature
Studies show temperature has been proven to hinder or help productivity. Anything colder than 21°C/70°F or hotter than 24°C/75°F can hinder productivity.
Keep in mind that everyone is different, so play around with your thermostat to see what works best for you. But a good place to start is somewhere in that sweet spot between 21°C and 24°C when creating a work space.
Use tools to keep things organised and clean
Keeping an organized and clean desk space has been linked to improved creativity and a reduction in stress.
To keep the things you can see (like notebooks, pens, and sticky notes) neat and tidy, set your space up with plenty of organizational units like tubs and drawers.
For the things you can’t see (like bacteria such as E. coli and Staph) set your desk up with a LIFX Clean bulb.
LIFX Clean can be used as a standard light during the day to illuminate your space with bright, focus-fuelling light. Then, when you’re all finished working, schedule LIFX Clean to switch to HEV wavelengths and battle back bacteria so that your space is clean and ready to go for tomorrow.
Use an ergonomically correct desk and chair
Having a chair or desk that doesn’t quite do it for you in terms of support may seem like a minor problem, but it’s a tiny detail that can lead to massive consequences down the road.
Days on end of sitting at a poorly structured work space can lead to musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel. In the short-term, this discomfort will lead to lack of focus and productivity, and worse, in the long term these problems will cause physical pain and can lead to missed days of work or school.
Make sure you have the office essentials
Decking out your space with handy office supplies not only sets the context for a work-only zone, but it gives you the tools you need to stay focused.
Example? Having a notebook handy allows you to write down pestering thoughts that are distracting you.
By jotting down a reminder on physical paper, you'll avoid picking up your phone to make a note (which provides easy access to even more distractions). Writing the thought down means you can let the distraction go and stay focused on the task at hand.
Don’t forget about cool study space aesthetics
Make sure you create a space that’s actually fun to be in. If the space looks and feels cool, it’ll be much easier to spend hours at a time working away.
LIFX Lightstrips are perfect for placing behind a monitor or desk because they lend to an efficient work space, as well as a super cool desk setup for aesthetic purposes.
During the day, LIFX Lightstrips can be scheduled to illuminate your space, reduce eyestrain from staring at monitors and screens, and switch Kelvin temperatures at the click of a button.
Bias lighting (i.e. lighting that projects from behind your monitor instead of directly into your eyes) is great for two things. First, the duality of the light will trick your eyes into creating a vibrant contrast, which means the colors on your screen will look even bolder and richer. Second, it takes away some of the intensity of the singular blue light coming from your screen, which helps reduce eye strain and fatigue.
Then, during the evening, LIFX Lightstrips can be scheduled to remind you it’s time to switch off from work.
With eight different color zones (all of which can be painted with endless color options and move with animation), you can leave work behind at the end of the day and play in your desk space as if it’s a whole new world.
Want to know more? Check out what experts have to say about lighting design in your home here.