There’s a reason that the IRS says if you have a home office it should be used solely for that purpose and nothing else. It’s because using a home office for multiple purposes can lead to a crossover between professional and personal use.
If you have a workspace, you should be working. Mixing up the space can happen anywhere that you’ve set aside to work. It happens when you let boundaries slide. But it really is best just to use it for the intended purpose and not for any other reason that people commonly choose to do.
For example, some people choose to eat at their desk or whatever their workspace is. This is a bad idea – not just for health reasons, but it’s also bad for productive purposes. You get less done physically and mentally.
When you mix work with eating or any other habit, it blurs the lines between what’s work and what isn’t. You can easily make the mistake of setting yourself up to think that it’s okay to work and it’s okay to not work when you’re in your space.
At your desk, your purpose should be to focus and to be productive to work on whatever task or project is before you. But when you choose to eat or to do something else instead, it steals that focus and productivity.
This happens because the brain is straddling two functions when you do that. You need to have boundaries between personal tasks and professional ones. Otherwise, your brain remains in the work mode and doesn’t relax and get a break from the work.
This can lead to overwhelm, which in turn can lead to brain fog. On the other hand, if you’re constantly using the space for other things in addition to work, the brain won’t want to get into work mode.
It’s important to establish what your workspace is for and what it’s not for. Your space isn’t supposed to be a spot to hang out and watch TV. It’s not meant to be the area where you play with your pets or your kids.
It’s not supposed to be the place where you play games or wonder what you’re going to have to eat for dinner. When you treat your workspace like any other space, you lose the benefit of conditioning the mind to fall into the habit of work recognition.
You can establish the work habit to create a routine in the mind. As soon as you sit down in your chair, your brain automatically kicks into thinking, “It’s time to work now,” but if you use the space for other purposes, it won’t do that for you. Save the relaxing activities and tasks not related to work for other spaces. You’ll get more done.