“How do you create the perfect work at home environment?” This question usually provokes suggestions on furniture, computer, smart TV, lighting, and ventilation. These sensible answers focus on comfort and convenience. A perfect environment attunes to the needs of the body.
This is a logical approach. It’s simple, appropriate, and mundane. Now, what if I asked you, “What is the perfect work at home environment for a blogger?” Does the same answer apply? At first blush, it may. After all, what difference does an office make if you’re an accountant, or blogger?
Actually, it makes a huge difference. Bloggers are amongst the most creative people on the planet. For a blogger, a perfect home office is one that stimulates the brain. Body comfort is important, of course, but the focus should be on stimulating your brain.
So, the perfect office for a blogger is one that kick starts creativity. Comfort is nice. Productivity is admirable. But if you want to supercharge your work, make your office an enriched environment for your brain.
Why You Need a Brain-Friendly Office
Science, to be honest, is a little confused about how the brain works. There is so much going on that neuroscientists are having a difficult time keeping up.
Although from a user perspective, a brain seems to be easy to use, there is a lot of parallel processing. When you are writing a post, for example, you may feel that you are following one idea after another. You may believe you are experiencing a linear train of thought. But, in actuality, your brain doing many things simultaneously.
Train of Thought
Subjectively, when you are writing a blog post, you appear to be following a single train of thought. All your ideas appear to line up on the track like coaches pulled by a powerful engine. But, objectively, as measured by brain scans, your brain lights up in many areas.
Neuroscientists explain brain processes as specialized networks:
The attention-flexibility network makes you monitor what is going on. Is the room quiet or noisy? Do you feel hot or cold? Is someone walking toward the room and about to disturb you? Is that the phone ringing in the next room? Is the television on in the living room?
The imagination network helps you write based on your remembered past and imagined future. Mental images orchestrate what you add or remove from your blog post.
The attention network makes you concentrate on the blog post you are writing.
The first thing your brain wants to know is if it is safe? The reptilian brain that monitored the habitat, environment, and weather is still there. In the distant past, danger lurked in the grasslands, environment, and temperature changes. Today, these neurological functions now operate as the attention-flexibility network.
The way to feel safe is to take care of your immediate environment. Use an ergonomic chair and desk; also, use reliable technology, from hardware to software. As a blogger, it’s important to use a reliable internet connection, as most of your work is online. For example, the CenturyLink in my area assures me that I have a stable high speed internet connection. I feel confident in the sense that I am in control of my work, which, of course, brings in the money.
Besides furniture and technology, make sure to pay attention to temperature and lighting. Ideally, use natural light, as fluorescent light has a negative effect on health.
Also, create the right ambiance. Zac Johnson, a six-figure blogger, has comic book figurines all over his office. It reminds him of his happy childhood.
Building a Brain-Friendly Office
A brain friendly office is one that helps you stay on all three tracks. You can pay attention. You can dream about many possibilities. And you can monitor that you are safe and comfortable.
The best way to satisfy the imagination network is through soothing music. Research has found Baroque music stimulates intelligence because it has a 60-beat rhythm. Baroque music activates memory and speeds up learning. It improves communication between the conscious and the subconscious. It enhances concentration while inducing a state of alert relaxation. It boosts health by lowering blood pressure and relieving stress and fatigue. And it synchronizes the left and the right brain as well as harmonizes body rhythms.
The reason why focus is difficult for most bloggers is our digital environment has trained us to multitask.
According to an article in Entrepreneur.com entitled, How to Stay Focused: Train Your Brain, “Our brains are finely attuned to distraction, so today’s digital environment makes it especially hard to focus. “Distractions signal that something has changed,” says David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work (HarperCollins, 2009). “A distraction is an alert says, ‘Orient your attention here now; this could be dangerous.'” The brain’s reaction is automatic and virtually unstoppable.”
In your home office, find ways to reduce distraction. Keep things neat and tidy. For some people, a cluttered desk, a stack of magazines, or a fish tank are enough to distract their attention. Figure out what distracts you and remove it from your office.