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Stay at Home Series

29th May 2020

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While Domus is one of the businesses lucky enough to be open again, the majority of us are still being urged to stay at home. Our latest feature has channelled the angst and uncertainty of lockdown into her illustrations and used this period to re-evaluate what is important to her. Head of Dezeen Day, podcast host and creative consultant, Justyna Green offers her advice as a freelancer on how to create a productive workspace and how she’s making the most out of this time.

What are you enjoying the most about being at home?

This time at home means saving time that would normally be spent meeting podcast guests to interview or meeting clients at their offices. Now I dedicate that time to meditation and daily drawing practice. As my husband is also working from home currently, I love the daily ritual of sharing all of our meals together and having more time to spend with each other. This current global situation has led me to grow even more appreciative of everyday moments.

What changes have you made to your home environment to better suit living in your home space 24/7?

Working as a freelancer I have been quite used to spending a lot of time at home and using it as a working space. Some changes I have made recently include putting up artwork on the walls to add more life to the space and update it in line with the current ambience I am after. I have also bought more flowers, which together with the new artwork make my home spaces much more pleasurable to be in. A big improvement was enhancing my garden so that it's welcoming from dawn to dusk, whether I'm doing morning yoga or having lunch in the sun.

As a freelancer you are already quite used to working from home. For those of us who aren’t, what’s your advice on how to create a productive workspace?

Make it work for you. Organise all of your work essentials so that they’re within reach and, if you can, make your workspace a private space where you can concentrate without distractions. Keep your desk tidy, once again to remove distractions. As we are spending much more time at our desk, make it a pleasant space to be in. I have recently added a new plant and have hang up my illustrations on the wall. It's now my favourite space to retreat to for some good, quiet work. 

We all have different energy rhythms during the day, so if you can, work at the time when you're the most productive. It's easy to get sucked into work without any colleagues around you or meetings to break up the day, so make sure you take regular breaks. What’s been working well for me when I stumble across a creative problem is to go out on a run. These issues can rarely be solved by staying tied to your desk. It’s more useful to find out everything about the problem and then give yourself half an hour or so of uninterrupted free-thinking time. This is when you’ll have your best ideas.

How are you staying inspired?

The current global situation and whirlwind of feelings it has provoked is a very potent inspiration for illustration. In addition to this, technology enables us to still participate in events and exhibitions via a digital format. This maintained access we have to arts and culture is unprecedented. As always, I'm inspired by others, whether it's friends and family, or guests of various podcasts I listen to on a daily basis.

Please could you share your top tips of how our followers & readers can rearrange their homes during this period?

The most important thing is to make the space work for you and your lifestyle. If you don't have a dedicated working space, carve a work zone out in a spare bedroom or the living area. It’s the same principle for a wellness space for meditation or exercise, if you can, differentiate that space from the rest of home. It can be hard to 'switch off' and wear many different hats when you're at home all day, which is why separate zones help. My go to when it comes to transforming the space is decorating it with art and photography (especially when you're missing travelling and your favourite places in the world!).

What have you learnt during this time that you will carry on post-lockdown?

Plenty! On a practical side, I have been spending more time illustrating and meditating and I have improved my running, strength and flexibility, which has all aided my wellbeing. Most importantly though I've learnt what truly matters to me, what's important and what I can easily live without. I hope to continue living in this more balanced way with fewer distractions.

You can listen to Justyna’s podcast On Design where she hosts renowned figures in the art and design world on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.