I love helping you create a home that is working hard for you. Your home environment can be either your biggest ally or your biggest obstacle—and I want it to be your ally.
One of the best ways to create a home that supports you is through considering the zones in your home and what zones you may need to add and create to be your best.
Let me walk you through some of the zones you might want to consider adding to your home so you can have spaces for productivity, rest, fun and wellness.
Do you work from home? There’s an ongoing debate between working from home and whether it’s a productivity boost or a major productivity drain. In my experience, I’ve found it to be a huge productivity boost.
Since I moved out of my large design office and into my home office a few years ago, my productivity has more than doubled, and as a result I doubled my personal salary in this short time period thanks to reduced expenses, increased revenues and more creative business solutions.
Often the problem many of us have with working from home is more mindset than anything else. Our insecurities and ego lead us to believe that we would be more respected, more productive and more “legit” if we had an outside office.
But having an office for vanity reasons can be expensive, especially as we turn to more online-based businesses, with less need for in-person team members, and more access to quality virtual team members.
This doesn’t mean to get rid of your current outside office quite yet. But it does give cause for examining the expenses, commute time, potential loss of focus and productivity from sharing spaces with team members, plus other potential drawbacks having an outside office can present.
When I realized that the $6,000 a month rent that I had been paying for years, could literally be added to my own personal paycheck, it made the idea of working from home even more appealing. That alone was $72,000 a year, not to mention all the other savings of no longer operating a huge and expensive office.
Another benefit of working from home, especially as we build online businesses, is the ability to be more mobile. The idea of “creating a laptop life” that millennials and younger generations long for is becoming more appealing to executives and entrepreneurs of all ages.
Without being tied to an office, a team of in-person employees, and a large in-person clientele, nothing is keeping you from working from tropical islands, other exciting countries, or different climates for extended periods of your year, with no guilt or worries. This sort of time freedom, location freedom, and (if you operate your business correctly) financial freedom, is one of the most appealing parts of working from home or wherever your laptop lands, for many people, myself included.
One drawback for many creatives when thinking of working from home is the feeling of isolation. It can be lonely. But that can be remedied by business-development lunches, hiring a personal assistant to work with you a few hours a week, and using video conferencing for a pseudo “face-to-face” meeting with team members or clients a few times a week. Plus, any one-on-one, in-person client work will still get you out of the house and connecting with others.
But be sure to batch your “out of the office” time, so that it doesn’t become a regular interrupter of the benefits of working from home, like longer more focused periods of productivity.
Making sure that your home supports connection with those you love should be one of your top priorities. We just discussed the drawback of isolation with working from home. But often people feel isolated even when surrounded by others, because they aren’t in the habit of (or savvy about) true connection.
There are places in the world where people live longer and healthier lives than anywhere else on earth. They are called the Blue Zones. Several of these blue zones exist, and in each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years old is common. But they aren’t just living long either—these people are living healthy—without medication or disability. But why?
Five blue zones have so far been identified and thoroughly researched by journalist Dan Buettner, in a partnership with National Geographic. The five blue zones are as follows:
- The Italian island of Sardinia
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- Costa Rica’s isolated Nicoya Peninsula
- Ikaria, an isolated Greek island
So, what is the secret to longevity and health underlying these fascinating communities? Do they possess modern technology, do they take massive amounts of supplements, do they run on treadmills, do they have special genes? As you may have guessed, the answer is none of these.
The secret is lifestyle. These people live a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise, and a low stress life that incorporates family, purpose, religion, and meaning.
And it is in the Blue Zone Lifestyle, that true connection and little, if any, loneliness exists.
Loneliness is not just an emotional state of mind, it actually triggers genetic changes which cause illness and early death. Studies have found that social isolation is a major health problem that can increase the risk of premature death by 14 percent.
Researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of California have discovered that loneliness actually triggers physical responses in the body, which make people sick. It appears to trigger the ‘fight or flight’ stress signal, which affects the production of white blood cells. It also increases activity in genes that produce inflammation in the body while lowering activity in genes that fight off illness, promoting high levels of inflammation in the body.
Essentially, lonely people have a less effective immune response and more inflammation than non-lonely people. They feel socially threatened which has an enormous impact on health.
And a massive online survey on loneliness was done by UCLA with 20,000 participants. According to the survey, 54 percent of respondents said they sometimes or always feel that no one knows them very well. Even more reported sometimes or always feeling like the people they’re surrounded with “are not necessarily with them”. Two-fifths reported a lack of meaningful relationships and companionship; saying they are isolated from others.
“Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in 2017 in the Harvard Business Review.
Three areas found to best combat loneliness were:
- Physical Activity
- Family Time/Togetherness
All of which can be supported with the right home environment and zones.
According to Forbes Magazine, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of the fascinating 2016 book, Rest, knows working too much is the opposite of productivity. The book whose subtitle ‘Why You Get More Done When You Work Less,’ found that the people who are most prolific and productive only worked four or five hours a day. But their success wasn’t about the way they worked, but how they rested during the other 20 hours of the day.
There were very consistent patterns in the way these people rested: They took long walks and naps, and they structured their days carefully and were more creative than others as a result.
Learning to not think of rest as entirely passive, or a negative space defined by the absence of work, but rather as a practice we can all cultivate and use to improve our lives, is what Pang suggests.
So how does one really rest? Here are Pang’s steps…
- Having a more structured daily schedule than you might be accustomed to.
- Take vacations
- Get More and Better Sleep
- Walking (not just for Exercise)
- Getting Up Early
- Play (Deep Play)
Play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well. It’s a great way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being.
Adult play is a time to forget about work and commitments, and to be social in an unstructured, creative way. Focus play on the actual experience, not on accomplishing any goal. There doesn’t need to be any point to the activity beyond having fun and enjoying yourself.
Play could be time off with friends, throwing a Frisbee on the beach, building a snowman in the yard with your kids, playing fetch with your pup, a game of Apples to Apples at a party, or going for a bike ride with your spouse with no destination in mind.
By giving yourself permission to play with joyful abandon, you can reap tons of health benefits throughout life.
Your Kitchen and Your Wellness
We covered several “zones” you need in your home to be your best, but there is one specific room that plays a very direct role in your health and wellness and therefore your results at both home and work.
The kitchen—likely the hardest working room in most homes, is instrumental to creating vibrant health that supports the brain, our sleeping habits and gives us stamina for super-focused periods of work.
Top Performance coach Brendon Burchard says the top performers in the world—those executives and entrepreneurs who are most successful, consistently manage their well-being with sleep, workouts, nutrition and health so they can maintain success long-term, instead of dropping off or hitting a plateau.
We all know that we should closely manage our sleep, workouts, nutrition and health but we forget that if we don’t, not only will it be harder to achieve our goals, but we won’t feel like enjoying our success when we reach it.
So if having a kitchen that supports your wellness is key for high achievement, what specifically do you need your kitchen to support you in?
- Food Prep/Cooking of Healthy, whole-food meals and snacks
- Food and Equipment Storage
- Organization (ease of use; visually de-cluttered)
- Function/Efficiency of layout
- Appliances for healthiest food prep (steam oven anyone?)
Eating out is a major cause of less-than-healthy meals and resulting health issues. Having a kitchen that you love and that encourages cooking because it’s both beautiful and easy to use, is a great way for your home to play a vital role in your optimal health.
If you want to go deeper into designing a home that truly supports you, I created this free downloadable guide with more easy-to-follow tips and advice to create the home of your dreams. Once I started following these steps, I saw my income double in less than a year! Get your free Home Design Blueprint now!
I hope this is helpful for you! Leave me a comment below and let me know what zones you’re going to create in your home!