Like many of us, working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic is a new experience that comes with its own set of challenges. Not only do you have to try and remember what day it is, juggle the kids, and still show up on-time for those team meetings, you’ll also need to be able to focus without constant distractions.

One of the biggest things to keys to successfully working from home? You really need a dedicated space to work in. No, hanging out in your bedroom isn’t going to work. Clearly, working on your bed or sofa is only going to make you less productive and more likely to fall asleep (or binge on Netflix shows).

All that said, here is my list of things to know to help you create a work at home space that is both inviting and good for productivity.

Pick a space that you can spread out in. Space is your friend. Whether it’s the dining table, kitchen island or loft, create a dedicated desk at home.

Clean up the clutter. Now things aren’t going to go well if you’re drowning in kids’ toys and unopened junk mail before you even get started! Whether you want to turn your dedicated space into a full home office or just make enough room for your laptop and work documents, prepare the area for your specific setup.

Inspire yourself. Now here comes the easy part: adding things that make your workspace uniquely yours. Surround your working space with somethings that you love and inspire you. Try artwork, candles, plants, photographs, and inspirational quotes. You can even splurge on some essential oils or incense sticks so that it’s easier to relax and focus as you work.

Make sure that you have proper lighting. I recommend that you invest in some good quality lighting to make sure your space is well-lit up. Add a desk lamp or floor lamp. You can also set up close to a window to allow natural light in.

Set a timer. Ask Alexa to remind you to take a break! Seriously, this is super important because you need breaks to ensure that you don’t start procrastinating while you work. I’ve found that it’s so easy to get bored and distracted if you try to work for too long. I recommend setting your watch or your phone to work in 90 minutes increments and break for 15 minutes.

Hydrate frequently and eat healthy snacks. Ever heard of the “Quarantine 15?” Well, if you want to stay in shape, it pays to plan healthy meals like veggie plates, yogurt with fruit or nuts and cheese for whenever you feel like a quick snack. Make sure you drink plenty of water.

Use books to prop up your laptop when you are in a Zoom call. Straight and elevated angle of your face is more flattering.

Watch what is behind you when you are doing virtual meetings. Make sure it’s simple and not distracting. Also making sure there is enough light on your face will help with quality of video.

Use organizer trays to keep your paperwork contained. If you’re prone to being buried in a mountain of paperwork, use organizer trays so that  you don’t feel like paperwork and clutter is taking over your space.

Play music that makes you more productive, happy, energetic when working. Personally, I love listening to classical music while working because it makes me feel completely immersed in my work.

Do not disturb. A do not disturb sign isn’t only for the bedroom. I always put one up while I’m working. If you have a private room, put a sign at the door for when you are in a Zoom meeting or need to get things done so you won’t be distracted and people respect your space.

A purposeful room is a place to get things done so treat your work at home space accordingly. If you have any questions about how to turn your area into the perfect place to work from home, ask away!