Look I know there are tons of real home design/decor blogs out there to tell you how to create a beautiful home office. But, I thought I would share a practical application of how I designed my home office as a working mom. I don’t have time to scour a million sourcebooks or have design assistants fetching paint sample all across town. But, since I work from home at least one day a week, handling all of the administrative issues for our practice, I really wanted my office to be a Zen sanctuary, to be efficient and productive. With 3 kids, that’s kind of a tough ask.
In the past, my home office has gone from a dark, spare bedroom, to a little niche right near the garage. Neither was a great space – they were both afterthoughts. And, I’ve come to realize, to be able to be successful in a home office, it really does need to be well thought out and planned. It doesn’t need to be huge, but organization is key (hey, that’s my middle name). Otherwise, you’re just setting up yourself up for failure. I know, I know – it’s not rocket science. You’re thinking – OF COURSE, a home office needs to be properly planned out. But, honestly, how many of you probably just make do with what you have, figuring you’ll organize it later? That’s basically what happened to me. And, when you’re fresh out of training, you certainly don’t have lots of cash lying around for home decor. But, things don’t need to be expensive. I always spent a lot of time and energy in the rest of the house, but never in my personal space. I felt bad about it. But, if it makes me more efficient, And, who doesn’t love pinning images for a dream office on Pinterest?
So, when my husband and I decided to go through with the second renovation of our house, I took that opportunity to properly design what I needed in my home office space. Home decor is a passionate hobby for me and I loved being able to create a space in my home that was just mine (not sharing with my husband).
I designed it to have one long desk with enough workspace for all of the accounting I do and another space for my more crafty hobbies.
And, this little thing from Amazon (via Ikea, but Ikea doesn’t ship to Hawaii) has been a game changer. We are paperless at our clinic, of course, and we’re paperless at home. Everything gets scanned into Evernote. My kids report cards, taxes, their artwork. EVERYTHING. Buying a fast scanner is key for this to work.
And, of course, having doors which I can close so that the kids know I am not to be disturbed is also so important. Otherwise, the casualness of home will start to infringe upon my work. Creating a physical separation from the rest of the house has truly increased my productivity.
Now, doing Quickbooks and general excise tax return is a joy. OK, not a joy, but it is way less mundane of a task when I’m surrounded by beautiful things!
Tips for creating your home office space.
- Create a defined space. It doesn’t need to be big, but boundaries would be nice. Even if it’s just an open bookshelf separating the space or a desk in the corner of a living room. Most healthcare workers spend at least an hour or two at home on work-related matters. Creating a space dedicated to that work also helps with the converse. By not having work items spread out throughout your home, it helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Make sure you have enough storage. Though my previous office spaces were OK, they completely lacked storage. That in turn, made me disorganized. Create storage solutions when necessary and save money to buy good items. Though they’re pricey, sometimes those pretty white boxes make such a difference in how you use your space.
- Everything should have a space. That’s what my dad used to say. It used to drive me nuts. He would make me put things back RIGHT after I was done with them. But, if everything in your office has a home, then it makes staying organized easy.
- Fill it with things you love, just not too many. This isn’t a space to put your latest collection on display, but having a few objects which give you happiness makes your work go faster. I bought a beautiful painting and it’s the focal point of my office, along with very simple planters. Every time I see these things, I smile.
- Invest in the best equipment you can. Upgrading a fast scanner was an investment, but ultimately, incredibly worth it.