Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Create a Tiny Home Office

The Hobbit Hole is too small for a desk. We can fit a bed, a kitchen table, and a couch, but don’t have much room for other medium to large-sized furniture. However, I currently work from home two days a week (plus time on weekends), and wanted space to set up a home office.

Moving was not an option, nor did we want to move. We love the Hobbit Hole and our lovely backyard, as well as the convenient location to Aaron’s campus. Buying a desk was not an option either; there’s no place to put one anyway. I tried to set up a desk in a corner using a TV tray and kitchen chair, but that lasted for maybe two days. I thought about working at the kitchen table, but that didn’t work either.

Then Aaron’s Nana was getting rid of a comfy chair, and gave it to us. We set it up next to one of our bookshelves. Without ever discussing our functioning arrangement, I began to consistently use the new chair, and Aaron began to use the couch to study. I pulled the couch ottoman over to rest in front of the chair and used it as a desk, on which I could set my notebooks and refer to one as I wrote in the other. I could also place tea on the bookshelf, which is very important, because Aaron and I usually drink anywhere from 2-7 mugs of tea per day (don’t worry, we drink mainly herbal teas without caffeine; peppermint tea is our preferred blend). 

I began referring to the chair jokingly as “my office”. Yet as Aaron and I referred to it as the office, it began to feel more like a spot designated for work. Calling the chair “the office” helped the space seem official. Aaron suggested that I clear off a shelf of the bookcase to use specifically for my writing.

So today, I took the next first step towards making a home office in our small Hobbit Hole. In about thirty seconds’ time, I cleared off a shelf and began placing items on it that I’ll use in my writing business. I have pens, my notebooks, a dictionary, an idea journal, a MLA/Grammar reference book, a to-do list, and a picture of Checkers. Hobbes likes to join me in the office, too.

It’s important to be intentional about working from home. In order to create a productive space, it’s important for me to set myself up for success. My body is primed to relax in pajamas, so they don’t provide the kind of drive I need to write and research. Yoga pants are okay; I don’t climb into bed in those. In fact, yoga pants ready me for the mental and physical awareness of yoga, so they play into the goal of being productive at home.

I find it helpful to create a to-do list for the day. This tip came from my dad, who also telecommutes. Even if I don’t accomplish every single goal, the list gives me a trajectory for the day and helps keep me on track.

As my writing business expands, I appreciate having a designated office space. My office space evolved organically, and if you’re looking for a space in your own home, I encourage you to think outside of the desk. Some people need a desk to be efficient, and if that’s you, I’ve heard Ikea has awesome small desks! Yet if you can be efficient in a variety of locations, start opening your eyes to the places in your home where you naturally work the best. It may be that those spaces have the potential to be converted into a home office!

I expect my current space will continue to evolve as new needs surface, but for now my office works really well!

How does your working space help you stay organized and effective?

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