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9 Creative Professionals on Arranging a Productive Work-from-Home Space

9 Creative Professionals on Arranging a Productive Work-from-Home Space

It’s one person’s dream and another’s nightmare: working from home. There’s no denying the perks: zero commute, anything-goes dress code. But then there are the downsides: no structure, endless distractions, and the very real possibility that you’re going to get nothing done. To work effectively where you eat (and sleep, and play) is an art—one that these nine creative professionals have mastered.

Christine Chang Hanway

Christine Chang Hanway

designer, writer, and founder of Fabulous Fabsters

“The things I enjoy most about working at home are the flexibility it allows me to set my own schedule and the freedom it gives me to move around as much as I want.”

  • Manduka Yoga Mat Manduka
    Yoga Mat goop, $92
  • “I work best when I take small and frequent breaks to do five minutes of yoga or Tai Chi. My home office is more like a workout studio with a desk where I have soft, north-facing light, a yoga mat on the floor, and some Yamuna balls for rolling out the kinks. The exercises energize or calm me down, depending on what’s needed.”

  • Herman Miller Aeron Chair Herman Miller
    Aeron Chair Herman Miller, $820
  • “It’s important for me to sit properly with my arms at the correct angle for typing. I have an Aeron chair for its ergonomic design, and my desk has a pull-out tray for my keyboard, which also frees up space on my desk.”

Wendy Polish

Wendy Polish

artist and founder of Le Feu de L’Eau

“Working at home is about being flexible and using what’s around you.”

Lishawn Lalonde

Lishawn Lalonde

skin-care expert and founder of ULIV

“Communication is key. I always make it clear to my family what my work schedule is going to be. This helps avoid the surprise visits and regular home-life activity that get in the way of work time.”

Lan Jaenicke

Lan Jaenicke

fashion designer and founder of Lan Jaenicke

“I’ve found it is very effective to allot a finite amount of time to tasks, whether it’s emails or design work. I’ll set the timer, and once it sounds, I move on to the next task. A bit of pressure, even if self-imposed, gives me a sense of urgency to manage my time efficiently.”

  • Astier De Villatte Astier De Villatte LuckyScent, $62
  • “Scent helps me set the stage for the creative process. It creates a sacred work space and focuses my vision. This Astier de Villatte incense gives my imagination wings.”

  • Moleskine Large Notebook Moleskine Large Notebook Moleskine, $25
  • “A perfect pairing for sketching designs or noting ideas throughout the day. As much as computers and devices can streamline our lives, somehow going analog is the best way to access our more fleeting internal voice. Moving graphite across paper is sensual and personal.”

Georgia Tapert Howe

Georgia Tapert Howe

interior designer and founder of Georgia Tapert Howe

“It’s important to treat a home office the way you would a regular office. I get up, shower, get dressed—there’s no lounging around in pajamas while I work. I use my days out of the home office as an excuse to get a little more dressed up—it feels ridiculous to put on a dress only to walk downstairs.”

Olivia Villanti

Olivia Villanti

writer

“Having pretty objects around makes me feel more productive, whether it actually has that effect or not. And I usually light a favorite candle when I start work because it puts me in writer mode. I also keep as few tabs open on my screen as possible. I know I’m either multitasking in the worst way or procrastinating if I have more than five tabs open at a time.”

  • The goop Podcast
  • “Having worked for years in open-plan offices, I can’t work in silence, so I stream podcasts all day long. This may sound really counterintuitive—especially for a writer—but it provides the background noise I need to focus.”

  • S'well Bottle S’well BOTTLE S’well, starting at $25
  • “I keep a crazy amount of water at the ready to avoid having to go into the kitchen frequently. Because once I’m in the kitchen, the snacking begins and it’s all over.”

Jenna Rainey

Jenna Rainey

illustrator and founder of Mon Voir

“I try to keep my workweek structured by reserving Tuesday and Thursday for writing and Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for painting and design. So on writing afternoons, my phone is in airplane mode after I’ve answered all my emails and completed any meetings or phone calls. This allows for no distractions: no Instagram breaks, no random text conversations about dinner plans. Once I catch a writing groove, I don’t want to mess with it.”

  • Bose Headphones Bose Headphones Bose, $395
  • “A lot of my day-to-day tasks include writing curricula for online classes and manuscripts. Writing requires so much focus for me, so having noise-canceling headphones has been a life changer. And I have ADD, so it helps me ignore the random distractions, like birds chirping or my cats wrestling each other.”

  • The Noisli App The Noisli App The App Store, free
  • “I can’t write with music on. I get into it way too much and start thinking about the lyrics, so I use the Noisli app and throw on some rain noise when I want to get really serious. You can make custom mixes on the app with other sounds, like railroad, wind, or water, which is better for me as I can control the tone depending on what type of zone I’m in.”

Annie Daly

Annie Daly

freelance journalist

“One thing that keeps me excited about the freelance life is doing stuff that I miss when I’m on staff—like working out at odd hours. To me, going to a workout class at an off-peak hour, like 10:30 a.m., is peak freedom. It reminds me why I chose this life, and when I get home, I’m much more excited to actually do the work that makes this off-peak lifestyle possible.”

  • G. Label Tank Top G. Label Tank Top goop, $75
  • G. Label Cropped Leggings G. Label Cropped Leggings goop, $90
  • “I’m a fanatic about getting 12,000 steps in every day. One of the downsides about working from home is that you don’t have a commute to help you get those steps in automatically. Knowing this, I make a very intentional point to do a workout class AND go for an afternoon walk around my neighborhood, Brooklyn Heights, every day around 4 p.m.—no matter how busy I think I am. I make ginger tea with honey and lemon, put it in my S’well bottle, throw on a happy playlist (usually reggae), and walk to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and back to drink it.”

Lindsey Bro

Lindsey Bro

creative copy writer and founder of Cabin Love

“I don’t work from bed—even though it sounds like a dream. I purposefully made my office the room I want to work in so that I will. I put up a lot of art; painted it a deep, salty blue; and situated my desk across from the window so I can stare out of it. This keeps work—along with its expectations and stresses—out of the rest of the house.”

  • Salt Optics Eyewear Salt Optics Eyewear Salt Optics, starting at $340
  • “I have a couple pairs of glasses that don’t have a prescription in them, but they do have anti-glare and anti-blue-light lenses. They’re helpful when you have to stare at a screen all day. I’ve noticed my eyes are far less fatigued at the end of the day and—I’m pretty sure—I don’t micro-squint nearly as much. Plus, when I put them on, I tell myself I have my Focus Glasses on. This means that when my mind starts to wander, I notice I’m wearing my Focus Glasses and I get back to the task at hand.”

  • Linus Bike Linus Bike goop, $439
  • “Have a surefire fix. Not having other people around to give you perspective on a situation can make it really easy to spiral when something just isn’t going well. So my solution is a bike ride, even just around the block, so I can get a clean slate.”

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