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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/6/2017

We all have our own version of the ideal work environment. Some of us require a distraction-free bubble to be productive, whereas others prefer to work in a bustling cafe. There are many factors that contribute to workplace productivity and there have been numerous studies on that very topic, focusing on things like the best time of day to work, how often to take breaks, and even the benefits of looking at cute pictures of cats to boost your performance. For our purposes, we're going to focus on environment. Specifically, your home. We live in a time when more and more of us are unable to "punch out" at the end of the day and leave our work at the office. Whether it's checking emails, staying up late grading papers, or studying for a work-related exam, odds are you'll find yourself having to work in your home at some point. Step 1: Choose which room you will dedicate to work Whether it's a bedroom or home office, you'll want to be consistent with which room serves as your productivity zone. Just as you've trained your body to sleep when your head hits the pillow, you'll need to train your brain to work when you sit down at your desk at home. Step 2: Setting up your desk You won't get much work done if your back aches or if your chair is so comfortable that you're likely to fall asleep in it. Pick a chair that is sturdy and ergonomic, and make sure your screen and keyboard are at a good height so you aren't slouched. Step 3: Setting the mood If you need noise to work, determine what kind of noise will help you stay focused. There are sites like Noisli that let you combine different natural sounds. Pandora radio is free and will play a diverse mix of songs based on what you want to hear, and you can pay a small monthly fee to get rid of the ads. Maybe nature sounds and music are too distracting for you but the sound of silence is even worse. If that's the case you might want to invest in a white noise fan. Step 4: Do some decorating As important as the sound in your environment is what you put in it and how you arrange it. Depending on personal preference, you might want to keep your workplace either minimalistic or homey. You should also consider the lighting of the room. Dimming the lights a bit might save your eyes some strain if you're looking at a computer screen for hours at a time. Generally speaking, people work best in natural lighting (so avoid blue LEDs or harsh fluorescent bulbs). The options are endless and the best way to find out what keeps you productive is to experiment with different set ups. What's most important is that you find what works for you. And remember, this isn't the office; you have the opportunity to design a productivity sanctuary of your design. Why settle for anything other than perfect?