For the past few weeks, I’ve been in contact with professional cleaners, organizing experts, and everyone in between to find the best-kept secrets for productivity while many people continue to work from home. Of all the tips, one stood out. It’s a little bit controversial — in fact, some pro organizers recommend the opposite — and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
So what’s the tip? Don’t keep personal items in your home office.
The Case for Keeping Your Home Office Strictly Professional
Like with your lockers back in school, it’s tempting to deck out your home office space with things that scream, “You!” But, according to Caroline Solomon, a home organizing expert based in NYC, those personal items can cause your mind to drift and negatively affect your productivity.
“The sight of personal items can often distract and detract from your work at hand, especially if you’re hypersensitive to your environment,” Solomon says. “Whether it’s a photo of your golden retriever or a souvenir from your trip to Greece, these items can send you down a mental rabbit hole. The next thing you know, you’re daydreaming about your next trip to Greece and googling ‘Airbnbs in Santorini.’”
So what should you keep in your home office? The bare necessities.
“It’s important to only keep items you use regularly here,” Solomon continues. “These include your laptop, water bottle, notebook, and pen.”
If you really need something, she recommends swapping out anything personal for an inspirational quote, a list of goals related to your work, or a work calendar.
“Once you free yourself from extraneous visual distractions, your productivity skyrockets,” she says.
Do you agree or disagree? Are personal items a distraction or a way to make your home office feel more comfortable?