Want to be more productive working from home? Tap into your senses.

Inside the cozy home office with indoor plants, women are sitting on laptops with pink mugs.Since working from home has strengthened its position as the “new normal”, we’re choking with tips for working from home: keep a morning routine, maintain a consistent schedule, wear real clothes (maybe not tight pants, but not pajamas) ). We all know Take frequent work breaks, use a seat-stand desk, and include microworkouts.

These things are all important, to be sure, but routine or work breaks are not the only key to being more productive. Your physical environment also affects productivity for good or bad. One of the major benefits of working from home is having complete control over your workplace. Even if you’re taking half on the dining table or dragging it into a closet (which can be more beautiful than listening!), You can expand your workspace and customize it to your liking. After all, it’s part of your home, so you want to be there.

Most of us are probably not paying enough attention to the sensitive environment – what we see, hear and smell when we work. Simple, inexpensive touches can increase both happiness and productivity. Here’s where to start.

It has eyes

You may think that you are staring at a computer screen all day, but in reality it is not. The rest of your visual field can significantly affect productivity and stress levels. Consider the following.


It is difficult to do good in a dark, desolate place. Stanford neuroscientist said. Andrew Huberman emphasizes the importance of having bright light in the first nine hours after waking up. In particular, he recommends strong overhead lighting and lighting directly in front of you. These stimulate the release of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine to increase alertness and focus. The morning light is also a strong one Timer– a signal that controls the circadian rhythm, Which promotes optimal daytime energy and nighttime sleep.

Ideally, the sun provides light this morning, so set your desk by a window if possible. Research shows that those who work in a windowless office sleep less than their co-workers who get daylight in their workplace. You can also use artificial white light overhead and / or supplement with lamps if your workspace is not naturally well lit. Don’t make it so bright that you have to wrinkle or get a headache or eye strain, but otherwise, turn on those lights.

Nature is calling

Ideally, your home office has a window that gives off light And Lets you see some nature – trees, a garden, a nearby park. If you can’t live near a window or your window faces a concrete jungle, bring some nature inside the house, including house plants. Heck, get some houseplants even if your home office looks towards a gorgeous garden. Studies have shown that indoor plants

  • Increase your ability to concentrate
  • Reduce tension and anxiety
  • Improve mood and increase happiness
  • Increase focus and productivity
  • Low stress levels
  • Reduce sick leave
  • Increase job satisfaction

If you are one of the rare people who did not pick up a few — or too many — trees while stuck at home in 2020, now is a good time to test your green thumb. Take a peace lily, ivy plant, spider plant, or chrysanthemum, which is thought to have superior air-purification benefits. Choose some succulents if you have trouble remembering to water your friends in the container.

Still try to go out as much as possible. Plenty of evidence confirms that time in nature improves mood, improves focus and concentration, reduces stress and encourages creative thinking. There are walking meetings during the day. Take your laptop to a local park. Eat lunch in the sun. No matter how beautiful your home office space is, try to get out of it every day.

Use color to set tone

Although many studies have examined the effect of house color on cognitive performance, no color seems to consistently increase or decrease productivity. Color choices are apparently quite idiosyncratic.

Although you can still use color to your advantage. Choose a color scheme for your home workplace Feels The best If your work lends itself to a calm, relaxed state, you may want to start with shades of blues, greens or perhaps yellows. On the other hand, if you do better in higher levels of arousal, you may prefer more saturated red tones. Some people prefer to be surrounded by white because they find it less confusing, others find it annoying and energy-sapping.

If you don’t want to promise a whole office makeover, start with a few colorful accessories. Or paint an accent wall and see if you are more or less inspired to work.

Using sound to increase productivity

The lexical environment in which you work is very important. Words can be confusing and stressful, or they can help your brain focus and improve your mood on your work day.


Research suggests that music enhances cognitive performance and happiness on a workday.If This is your favorite music. At home, you have complete control over your playlists; But if you’re back in an office environment where you’re exposed to peer-to-peer music, you may want to invest in sound-canceling headphones to optimize your productivity. Song lyrics and sad (minor key) music can interfere with attention and performance, so choose exuberant instrumental.

The sound of nature

Nature sounds like birds and flowing water reduce stress and increase productivity, even in the presence of human sounds like voice or traffic noise. On the other hand, mechanical noise like air conditioner or boiler has the opposite effect Open that window or download an app to provide the sweet sound of nature

Binaural beats

With the help of binary beats, tones are transmitted to your left and right ears at slightly different times. The discrepancy stimulates certain brainwave patterns and, depending on the frequency, creates effects such as relaxation and stress relief. Some binary beats can enhance learning and memory, promote different or creative thinking, and increase cognitive flexibility. They do this by partially stimulating dopamine release which, in turn, increases focus and attention. Dr. Huberman suggests starting with a binary beat at 40 Hz frequency, which has been shown to have the greatest effect on work-related cognitive functions. He recommends listening to the binary beats for 30 minutes before starting work to pump prime, so to speak.

Overall, like color, people’s sound preferences are very distinct. Some people work best in a quiet environment, others prefer more cacophony spaces like music, white noise or coffee shops. If you’re like me, your choices change from day to day or from job to job. Sometimes you need complete silence to concentrate, and other times you crave some background noise. Thus, The best course of action is probably to go by feeling, your verbal environment in the moment that resonates (no pun intended). Any sound, even a pleasurable one, can be confusing if it is too loud, so watch the overall volume level.

What’s that smell?

Don’t forget your olfactory environment. The scent of your workplace can enhance focus, memory and goal setting. Certain odors can also reduce stress and keep you in a good headspace to work well.

Peppermint, cinnamon and rosemary are generally thought to be beneficial for productivity. Lavender, vanilla and sandalwood can be relaxed, which can be good or bad depending on your needs. Like everything else we’ve discussed here, scents are personal. Something based on previous education can have a strong positive or negative relationship for you. Maybe a favorite teacher always smells like roses, or you got into a terrible car accident with a car that smells like pine. These scents will probably always evoke a specific feeling for you, so choose the ones you like.

More generally, Fresh air is always stale, preferable to stuffed air, Which is another reason to open that window. You could also consider investing in an air purifier to remove unpleasant odors and improve air quality.

Small changes, big impact on productivity?

Your environment directly affects how happy, inspired and productive you are. The goal is to create a space where you feel comfortable, focused and ready to deal with your daily work stress.

Each of the changes proposed here requires less investment of time or money, but they can certainly pay off in order to work better. Instead of setting a specific office set-up, I encourage you to pay close attention to how your environment feels to you. Excited and alert? Extensive and creative when the situation calls for it, and focused and task-oriented when appropriate instead? Irritable or calm? Happy or disappointed? High power or low?

One thing that is removed from this post is that everyone’s needs and preferences are different. My best advice is Optimize for flexibility and flexibility. Start with a well-lit, quiet, and comfortable workplace. Connect with nature through windows and / or plants. Then use words and smells to create subtle melodies on a day-to-day or project basis.

And, if something doesn’t work out one day, change it! Go out or hit a coffee shop. Light a candle. Some tunes explode. Take a nap. Take full advantage of the freedom you have to work from home!

My graduate? What are the best (or worst) things you have done to make working from home more enjoyable and effective? Tell your classmates in the comments below.

Related posts from Mark’s Daily Apple

10 Productivity Hacks That Really Works

Here are 10 ways to make your workplace healthier and more productive

How to organize and stay focused in a modern world

15 Tips for Standup Workstation Users

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About the author

Lindsay Taylor, PhD, is a senior author and community manager on primary nutrition, a certified primary health instructor and co-author of three Kito Cookbooks.

As a writer at the Marx Daily Apple and leader of the affluent Cato Reset and the Primal Endurance community, Linds’ job is to help people learn what, why and how to lead a health-centric lifestyle. Prior to joining the primary team, he earned his Masters and PhD. In social and personality psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also worked as a researcher and instructor.

Lindsay lives in Northern California with her husband and two sports-obsessed sons. In his spare time, he enjoys ultra running, triathlon, camping and play nights. Follow her on Instagram @theusefuldish as Lindsay tries to work on maintaining a healthy balance with work, family and endurance training and, above all, fun in life.

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