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Six home desk hacks to get you grafting like a pro

At UCT Online High School, the only traffic we care about is web traffic. Luckily for you, you're only a one-click commute away from your bed to your desk, which is wonderful news for those of us who like to lie in. As fun as studying history from beneath your blankets — or doing trigonometry on the couch — sounds, we’ve found that learning works best when sitting at your own dedicated desk.

Here are six home desk hacks to get you grafting like a pro: 

1. Own your space 

The first thing you want to do is clearly define a separate workspace from the rest of your house and make it your own. Whether it’s a desk or study or the ‘office end’ of your dining room table, it needs to be consistent. Let it be known to everyone else at home that once you’re at your desk you mean business and that you shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. 

2. Get the right chair

Now that you’ve owned your space, you want to own your posture. In all likelihood, you’ll be spending a large portion of your working life sitting at a desk. Develop good posture now and trust us your back will thank you for it later. A good, ergonomic chair is essential. Here are some things to consider when choosing:

  • Your knees should be 90 degrees from the floor
  • Your stomach muscles should be engaged and your shoulders back
  • Your seat depth should ensure that your back is properly supported, use a cushion if you need to 
  • Armrests should be the same height as your keyboard and mouse
  • Try to find a chair that reclines to give your muscles a break and don’t forget to stand and stretch as often as possible 

3. Look for natural light

If you can, set up somewhere where there is lots of natural light. It’s been proven that natural light helps to lift mood and reduce stress. A window with a view is first prize. However, if natural light is not an option, be sure to take lots of walk breaks outside to get some fresh air and that all important sunshine. A few minutes outside can have a profound effect on both your mood and motivation. 

4. Make it cosy

The great thing about working from home is that you get to set the temperature however you like. So make sure you are warm and comfortable – it’s proven to help reduce errors. Now that winter is here, make a cup of tea, get a blanket if you need it, and settle in for another great day of learning. 

5. Arrange your working space impeccably 

It’s a good idea to keep on top of your desk space. Some of us are naturally messier than others and that’s perfectly okay, but a clean, inviting work space can help you to stay focussed and get into a flow state. Whereas a messy one can leave you feeling disorganised and overwhelmed. 

Here are our three top desktop tips: 

  • Avoid clutter: Depending on your subject choices and how much printing you like to do it may be good to have some storage.  
  • Make sure that you have enough space to take notes and rest your arms. Your computer screen should be level with your eyes and at least 50cm away from you. 
  • Keep your computer desktop tidy too: A clutter-free desktop has the same effect as a neat and tidy desk. It’s good practice to keep all your notes and assignments labelled and filed away properly. 

6. Make it yours

Your workspace is a reflection of you and should be as attractive and inviting as possible without causing you distraction. Decorate it with your favourite momentos and trinkets, add a desk plant and some photos of the people that you love, get a vase and fill it with flowers – whatever brings you joy. 

Ultimately school should be a fun, engaging experience and sitting down at your desk should be the same. Make your workspace a warm and welcome reminder that you’ve got another stimulating day with your friends ahead, and soon it’ll become your favourite spot in the house!

Here are six home desk hacks to get you grafting like a pro: 

1. Own your space 

The first thing you want to do is clearly define a separate workspace from the rest of your house and make it your own. Whether it’s a desk or study or the ‘office end’ of your dining room table, it needs to be consistent. Let it be known to everyone else at home that once you’re at your desk you mean business and that you shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. 

2. Get the right chair

Now that you’ve owned your space, you want to own your posture. In all likelihood, you’ll be spending a large portion of your working life sitting at a desk. Develop good posture now and trust us your back will thank you for it later. A good, ergonomic chair is essential. Here are some things to consider when choosing:

  • Your knees should be 90 degrees from the floor
  • Your stomach muscles should be engaged and your shoulders back
  • Your seat depth should ensure that your back is properly supported, use a cushion if you need to 
  • Armrests should be the same height as your keyboard and mouse
  • Try to find a chair that reclines to give your muscles a break and don’t forget to stand and stretch as often as possible 

3. Look for natural light

If you can, set up somewhere where there is lots of natural light. It’s been proven that natural light helps to lift mood and reduce stress. A window with a view is first prize. However, if natural light is not an option, be sure to take lots of walk breaks outside to get some fresh air and that all important sunshine. A few minutes outside can have a profound effect on both your mood and motivation. 

4. Make it cosy

The great thing about working from home is that you get to set the temperature however you like. So make sure you are warm and comfortable – it’s proven to help reduce errors. Now that winter is here, make a cup of tea, get a blanket if you need it, and settle in for another great day of learning. 

5. Arrange your working space impeccably 

It’s a good idea to keep on top of your desk space. Some of us are naturally messier than others and that’s perfectly okay, but a clean, inviting work space can help you to stay focussed and get into a flow state. Whereas a messy one can leave you feeling disorganised and overwhelmed. 

Here are our three top desktop tips: 

  • Avoid clutter: Depending on your subject choices and how much printing you like to do it may be good to have some storage.  
  • Make sure that you have enough space to take notes and rest your arms. Your computer screen should be level with your eyes and at least 50cm away from you. 
  • Keep your computer desktop tidy too: A clutter-free desktop has the same effect as a neat and tidy desk. It’s good practice to keep all your notes and assignments labelled and filed away properly. 

6. Make it yours

Your workspace is a reflection of you and should be as attractive and inviting as possible without causing you distraction. Decorate it with your favourite momentos and trinkets, add a desk plant and some photos of the people that you love, get a vase and fill it with flowers – whatever brings you joy. 

Ultimately school should be a fun, engaging experience and sitting down at your desk should be the same. Make your workspace a warm and welcome reminder that you’ve got another stimulating day with your friends ahead, and soon it’ll become your favourite spot in the house!

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