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With the pandemic restrictions, a lot of us are doing more work at home. That could be working remotely for a paying job or for online classes. Either way, we are spending the majority of our time at our home desks. As a college student in a two-bedroom apartment, I don’t exactly have the luxury of office space. Just like many of you, I have a desk in my bedroom. Here are my tips for making your workspace work for you!

Set up your windows

Natural light is a godsend at any time of day. That’s why coffee shops have so many windows! I recommend setting up your desk near a window, if possible. If that is not an option, try and make use of the natural light as best you can. The best way to do this is to clean the windows! Clean windows mean more light can get through, which is great for those Zoom calls. In turn, you feel better while sitting at your desk. Working in a dark room can impact your sleep schedule, motivation, and energy levels, so don’t forget to open your curtains!

 

Display personal items

Just like an office at the company location, we want to have mementos in view. Purchase some picture frames and photos of your significant other or pet to be displayed. This is an easy hack to improving your mood when you’re working on a tough assignment. If pictures aren’t your cup of tea, place a symbol of importance on your desk or windowsill. I like to have my Chinese Dragon in view for motivation and to look at when my eyes need a break! 

 

Make use of organizational tools

We all KNOW that clutter leads to a cluttered mind. That is the last thing you need while trying to work efficiently. If you have desk organizers or drawers, make use of them to keep clutter to a minimum. Even if you don’t have organizers, using drawers to keep messes out of eye-sight, placing pens in a cup, or throwing away useless paper can do wonders for your space. 

 

Make use of academic tools

If you have ever gone to school, which is probably everyone, you’ve used a whiteboard.  Go to Walmart and buy one for under $15. Write motivational sayings on it, a to-do list, make a calendar of assignments, or whatever else gets you moving in the morning. I promise that having a visual of a process that works for you will motivate you to get it done.

If you’re the type who swears by their planners, keep it on the desk or bookshelf to see when you’re working. If you like white-boards, hang it near the desk and keep markers easily accessible. For other methods, determine what worked best in your pre-pandemic life, and place it in view near your workspace. 

 

Set Boundaries

This is one that everyone struggles with, but we all need to learn some discipline for the sake of our health. The desk is for school or work, not for eating dinner or watching Netflix.  The bed or couch if for relaxing or sleeping, not for doing work! Setting boundaries on how you use your space will help your mental and physical health. If you start doing too much work in your bed, you’ll begin to associate it with stress and work instead of sleeping. The same goes for eating at your desk. If you eat there while working, you won’t be present and active, then the habit of eating could turn unhealthy fast. 

My favorite tip for this one is to set a schedule. If you are working remotely, get into the habit of starting and ending your day at certain times, and stick to them. This was a forced habit when you had to commute to and from work, but now that your commute is 10 steps away, its hard to separate work and home. This can be even harder for college students who don’t have a standard schedule.  Be mindful of how and when you get dragged into homework when you planned on relaxing. Don’t forget to set time aside for meals or walks!

I hope these 5 tips help make your workspace the best for you! Adapting to a completely new lifestyle amidst many changes is challenging. Take it slow, try your best, and celebrate the small victories. 

 

Junior at Ohio University studying Management Information Systems and Business Analytics. Member of the Select Leaders Development Program in the College of Business. I enjoy using writing as a way to express my thoughts in an informal way and to help others with the little things in life.
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