I can’t seem to get motivated to work. Being a freelancer in the summer means I have the flexibility to go and enjoy a hike or a bike ride by the beach on short notice But it also means that there is no boss to tell me to get to work. And or course, work I must.
I’m the boss of me and I say, time to go to the beach!
As you probably know if you are reading this, being a freelancer (fancy term for self-employed) means that my work is like planting a garden. Seeds for the future have to be planted now. Other plants are in full bloom right now, and still others have given up their fruit and are finished. All my projects are at these different stages. Which means all my money comes in sprinkled through the months.
Office workers think it would be bliss to work from home but it’s hard.
There are so many distractions.
I think the challenges of staying motivated when it feels like the world is on vacation have really pointed out how much I hate my home office.
What can I change in this home office that will really make a difference in my commitment to work there?
The Home Office Currently
My desk is just to the side of the rec room couch, so just to be clear, the ‘office ‘is a desk in the rec room. This desk does a lot. It’s where I pay bills. Work at the household budget. It is organized but loaded up with files and file holders that contain school papers for the kids, files for my husband (some of his business stuff, and football coaching stuff.) A file of the passports that we need to update, flyers from the latest art walk we went on. My work is there too. Files with my CBC pitches, my volunteer files for the Shambhala art society, the cabaret program I’ve been dreaming of writing and so on. You get the picture. Sound familiar to those of you who work at home?
I used a book called Enlightened by Design. It uses ancient wisdom of the four energies and the five styles of energy to create a home. It gives good and sensible advice. I decided to try out. I had to do something. Procrastination and low energy was the name of many of my days.
The first step? Treat my business like a business. The home office area is for my business and my business only.
How can I expect my business to succeed if I don’t treat it like a business? If I don’t honor it, respect it, give it its space?
First-Move the household stuff to another space. The book suggests another room entirely. So I do. All the bills, a drawer full of folders. Everything that isn’t my business, goes.
Next, the Energies– The book suggests images that I employ different energies in the office that will assist concentration, success and my happiness. I tackle warmth first. I find a few family photos I love and some postcards from art galleries I’ve visited that I love. I even create a wealth corner. Why not? In the South West corner of my desk I arranged a rich yellow satin cloth and a luxurious blue silk scarf with a gold brocade design that I never wear. On that I placed a piece of pottery my Dad gave me to celebrate my go getter energy as a youth in public speaking competitions. It always speaks to me. Looking at it gives me pride and confidence. So far so good.
The filing cabinets have only my work in them now. Now household stuff at all. I place my favorite work in the top drawer and work my way down. That change felt unbelievably good. I claimed this work in that one action. The labels for each drawer sing out to me now on bright yellow paper.
The shelves above my desk were next. No more the ugly stacked white boxes with office supplies in them. Instead, ideas I value are elevated. Prized books that motivate me, that are resources for my work sit on the middle shelf. And lastly, a good pen. My fine fountain pen is out, with ink, ready to be used for any jotting. All my thoughts are worthy of a good pen.
What Happened Next?
In the brief span of a morning, my space went from feeling like the place one struggles to fill out your
tax forms to a space that felt oddly exciting and very alive. It was’t that it was better organized or even cleaner. I felt called suddenly to work there. The steps I took spoke to the value I placed on myself in this work. This desk was no longer confused as to what it was for. And I guess, that meant, neither was I.
- I was left with the feeling that my work was worthy of my time and energy. I felt happy at the desk, motivated and I was pretty successful.
- I don’t think this is about decluttering. This is about nurturing and respecting the work.
Les Nessman effect
If you remember WRKP in Cincinnati, Les Nessman, always dreamed of an office, which he never had.
Instead, he used masking tape to demarcate his ‘office walls. People mimed opening the door he didn’t have. I don’t think he was far off the mark. The respect that we show ourselves changes how we show up at work, with our family, Anything. All of these changes said something to me about my work, and remind me as I sit there, what I’m all about.
If you’re a freelancer in any field and have a home office, why not book an hour of my time and let’s get your office to a place that you can’t wait to get to on even the sunniest day.