THE IN-TRAY

Level up your home office: 7 scents proven to boost productivity and concentration

Our homes have suddenly been turned into offices, gyms, schools, restaurants and spa retreats, and breaking up your day—and your mindset—can be difficult. Here’s how to do it with our aromatherapy-inspired guide to home fragrance.

Fragrance has the amazing capability to totally change your mood and mindset, so utilising it as a tool in your home—as you transition from breakfast, to gym, to work, to me-time—is undeniably helpful in making your days feel as dynamic and ‘normal’ as possible. For those that are now working from their abode—sometimes struggling with motivation and distraction—just a whiff of certain scents (like vetiver, ginger and rosemary) will help to boost productivity, prolong your attention span and improve your memory. Let these notes—and products—assist you in getting that to-do list crossed off.

ROSEMARY

Turns out, rosemary is good for more than just roasted lamb—its welcoming, herbaceous aroma has been proven to increase alertness, improve memory and strengthen cognition, making it the perfect scent to fill your home with ahead of a brainstorm, or during a highly collaborative Zoom meeting. It’ll also help you memorise numbers and images, so if you’re about to talk stats, get a rosemary-spiked candle burning… stat.

Find it in:
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s La Trouverie Candle, accompanied by fresh straw, lavender and thyme.

VETIVER

This earthy, woody note is often compared to the smell of grass on a warm day. Fresh and green, it’s one of those scents that’ll bring the outdoors, in. In an aromatherapy-sense, it is pretty game-changing in its abilities to improve brain function and increase concentration—vetiver has even been proven to contain components that increase oxygenation of brain cells, allowing you to focus more intently. This added level of focus and concentration makes it the perfect scent for when you need to buckle down and get (sh)it done—especially when you have housemates or family members lingering around.

Find it in:
Maison Margiela’s Jazz Club Candle, accompanied by vanilla, tonka bean and tobacco leaves.
Byredo’s Vetyver Hand Wash and Lotion, accompanied by pomelo, jasmine petals and violet.
Diptyque’s Orange Ambre Candle, accompanied by incense, spice, patchouli and citrus.

MINT

Spritely and refreshing—like a palate cleanser between meals—the scent of peppermint has been proven to sustain attention for prolonged periods, enhance memory accuracy, and assist in concentrating on demanding tasks for a much longer time than usual. It’s a natural stimulant that is just as invigorating in the air as it is applied to the skin. While not ideal, if you find yourself working into the night—or to an impending deadline—welcome minty notes into your home for some mental sustenance.

Find it in:
Diptyque’s Menthe Verte Candle, accompanied by spicy, hone yed scents of tobacco.
Iiuvo’s Kurin Candle, accompanied by notes of green tea, moss, cedar and musk.

CINNAMON/SPICE

Sure, the smell of cinnamon might have you salivating at the thought of freshly baked cinnamon scrolls (or at this time of year, hot cross buns), but truth be told, it’s actually a pretty powerful stimulant, working to increase your motor response and heighten your attention. Alas, cinnamon and similar warm spices make great additions to diffuse into your home if there’s a lot on your to-do list, and if you plan to power through back-to-back, fast-paced meetings.

Find it in:
Byredo’s Chai Candle, accompanied by ginger zest, clove buds, violet and birch tree.

GINGER

Warm and spicy, with a subtle kick, ginger is infamous for fighting fatigue—whether that be by way of a hot ginger tea, or its peppery aroma filling your home. With an increase in screen time and therefore tired, heavy eyes, ginger is a super scent for lifting the spirits and serving up a boost of energy. It’s the perfect aroma to help you power through a deadline, or complete repetitive tasks.

Find it in:
Diptyque’s Gingembre Hourglass Diffuser, a home fragrance of pure, freshly cut ginger.

CITRUS

Fresh and fruity, zesty citrus scents are proven to shorten response times, while keeping you awake and alert. A study in Japan even found that typos were reduced by more than 50 percent in the presence of citrus scents, making it the perfect home fragrance to power up with before and during an important, rapid-fire afternoon meeting or study session.

Find it in:
Diptyque’s Oranger Hourglass Diffuser, accompanied by the leaves and bark of the orange tree.
Jo Malone’s Lime Basil Mandarin Scent Surround Diffuser, accompanied by basil and amberwood.

COFFEE

They may not realise it, but those that flee to cafes to work and study have the right idea: the intoxicating aroma of roasted beans helps to enhance analytical reasoning and promote attentiveness—and that’s before you’ve even taken a sip. If you’re in the mood to make power moves on a call or Zoom meeting, a candle with coffee notes will not only transport you from the confines of your four walls into the inviting aromas of your local café, but will undoubtedly help you in kicking daily goals.

Find it in:
Anya Smells’ Coffee Scented Candle, accompanied by Persian galbanum, cardamom, patchouli, frankincense and amber.
D.S. & Durga’s Breakfast Leipzig, accompanied by pastry, tobacco leaf, butter and leather upholstery.

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