I left my last job and came out of what I now call ‘traditional employment’ back in October 2016. A few weeks after leaving my job, I kicked off this blog and started to write for a number of different websites and online publications. Effectively, I now work from home and around the needs of my family. All I really need is my laptop and mouse, some pens, and somewhere to take notes (well, that’s 4 notebooks to be precise!) When I pack my ‘working kit’ up it’s quite compact. And I can take it around with me, depending on where in the house I need to be working from. But what hadn’t crossed my mind until recently is that I might need a dedicated home office. And that a home office may actually transform my growing business.
And here’s why.
It’s given my work value
When I first started this blog, I was very open about the fact that I mainly saw it as a way to practise my writing and experiment with a variety of different topics. I also looked at is as a way to keep myself accountable – if I wanted to be able to write about mindfulness, for example, I had to learn about it and do it! But right from the start, I knew that this blog would open new doors for me. Even though I had no idea of where it was going to take me!
About 10 months later, it’s already given me opportunities that I hadn’t even considered. I’ve spent a huge amount of time learning and practising new skills I didn’t even know I needed. And when I look at how far this blog has come and at all the amazing connections it’s allowed me to make, I can’t help but feel humbled by it all. Humbled and amazed!
But it had not occurred to me that as my blog, my work, and my business developed, it would need and deserve a proper, dedicated space. Up until a few weeks ago, on the 3 mornings I had at home without the children, I used to work from my dining table. This meant that every day I had to clear up the remainders of our mad, rushed breakfasts before I could even start to spread my little working kit out. A conversation with Professional Declutterer and Organiser Zoë Short from So Sorted, who I interviewed a few months ago, made me change my outlook completely.
A few days after Zoë and I spoke, in fact, I decided to clear the desk in our box room. And all of a sudden, in my mind, my work increased in value. Just like that.
It’s not just my work that has value. I have value too
If my work, the work that I have created, is deserving of a desk and an office, it means that I am deserving of a desk and an office. If my work is important, then I am important. And my brief conversation with Zoë helped me understand that what this means is that I can now create some boundaries at home.
If I work from the sofa while the children are watching TV, it goes without saying that my productivity and concentration will suffer. But the line between working and being with my children is also blurred. Am I working? Or am I with them? Am I doing my work well enough? Am I present enough with them? By the end of the day, I’ll feel drained and exhausted – like I’ve not had a break all day. Is this how I wanted to feel when I left my job in the first place? Where’s the balance? Where does work stop, and where does home life start? I deserve to have that boundary because it can only help my mental and physical health. And that certainly has value – A LOT of value! Who knew that a simple desk could do all this?!
Sometimes you just have to want it
We’ve had that desk for about 2 years now. It’s never been clear. In fact, it’s always been covered in stuff, and as of late, it’s also been the base for my pile of laundry and ironing! In my mind, I couldn’t possibly have that desk for myself. Where exactly would all that stuff go? How would I manage the laundry, for example?
Then something snapped. When I spoke to Zoë, and she mentioned the words value and boundaries, that was it for me. Something happened. And a couple of days later, while I was sorting through the laundry, I realised how those constraints were in my mind, and only in my mind. Let’s face it, the desk wasn’t being used, and it was mainly covered in my mess. So the decision to either keep it covered in ‘stuff’ or turn it into my own home office desk was only impacting me, at the moment. All these ‘constraints’ I had were self-limiting thoughts in my mind. I wasn’t allowing myself to see the possibilities.
But what could happen if you just opened yourself to the opportunity? If you allowed yourself to want it and to go for it?
It took me 5 minutes to clear that desk and find a more rightful place for the things that were on it. And now I have a desk and an office. Now I can keep my things organised. I can grow my business. And I can grow myself.
It only took a short conversation.
Because when you open your mind to the possibilities, wonderful and exciting things might just happen.
If you get the chance, I’d really recommend you have a conversation with Zoë. And if you do, you can tell me how big of an impact it had on your life.
Are you a mum who runs her own business from home? Where do you work from in your home? Do you have a dedicated working space?