So friends, remember before Christmas I mentioned that getting my office in order was my holiday project? Well, I’m getting there! It’s in order! I have big plans for this space- a new desk, shelving (in progress!), and a few other building projects. But in the meantime, I didn’t want to be working in a storage room. I wanted to be inspired in my space and not overwhelmed. Today I’m sharing what I’ve done so far with my 9 tips for creating a work space that inspires you (it’s easier than you think!). Also… I’m giving away a print from Light Rust Studio (the same one I’m using in my office!).
I cringe at this, but let’s take a look at the before photo:
Seriously guys, that was my before. It’s not hard to make the after look 1 million times better… but getting here really has been a lot of work! I didn’t just want to dump those boxes in the basement (and we couldn’t- because we’re still finishing it!) so it took about three days of Shane and I (and some ‘help’) sorting and organizing and moving stuff around over the break. But I’m so glad we did! Obviously, that was no way to work- but the inefficiency of it was what pushed me over the edge. I would probably spend an hour of my 5 daycare hours every week looking for things. There was NO organization in that room. SO much wasted time! Now I know exactly where to look for supplies and ‘that’ notebook or marker. It’s amazing. But organization isn’t the only change that has made this space better.
(oh man, that bedhead! But he was so cute helping assemble my trolly with his screwdriver!)
Before I share my tips on how to create a workspace that inspires you… do you guys notice one BIG change? That gorgeous computer! My laptop officially died over Christmas- and this beautiful beast became mine. I’m in love with it. The speed difference between the two (2-5 minutes to load a webpage to lightning fast) is making me even more efficient when I’m sitting on my butt. So that’s a big change. Anyways- on with the tips!
1. Keep an uncluttered space// Honestly guys, if my office hadn’t been so BAD before, I might not have realized how important to me this is. I’ve always been a kind of messy person with too many things on the go at once. I think a little bit is okay, but when you sit down at your workspace it should be clear what you are there to work on. It used to take me five or ten minutes to ‘get set up’ at my desk before I could actually start working. Then I’d get distracted by all the clutter and waste time moving things around.
2. Keep your calendar(s) in view// I have a few calendars on the go at one time. There’s one on our fridge, one in our budget binder, one on my office wall, and my Kate Spade (total splurge) day timer. I’m okay with that! I like to have lists and organization and that’s what works for me. Whether you have one calendar (please, please, have at least one!) or seven- try keeping them in view. It will make it quick to double check meeting times, and prioritize your day. And if you want a pretty calendar to have on your wall, I’ve got you covered- snag my free printable 2015 calendars here (yep, three styles!).
3. Surround yourself with words that challenge and ground you// This is a big one for me! When I’m thinking I tend to stare at the walls around me. Having something that challenges me “Dream Big & Dare to Fail” or grounds me “Oh, So Thankful” are huge when I’m feeling un-motivated or overwhelmed. That’s where the giveaway comes in! The ‘Climb the Mountain’ print is not only pretty pretty, but it’s a great reminder. That Thankful card is a free printable from a while back if you’re interested!
4. Two words: Mood Lighting// But seriously. Who wants to work in the dark? A task lamp is so helpful for reading and writing, but I always have a candle going when I work. When I was in university and working on papers through the night (which kind of feels like what I’m doing now sometimes), Shane would always light a candle for me. Now it’s habit- I like having something else that’s ‘awake’ in the room. But also- it smells good.
5. Bring some life in// This is kind of along the same lines of the candle… but fresh flowers or plants are good for the soul. As an added bonus, plants clean the air- and who doesn’t need that when they’re working away? Psst- I made that plant pot.
6. Keep your tools handy// After wasting so much time searching for stuff, I’ve found the best way for me to keep productive is to keep my tools within reach. I love this vintage tool caddy that I’ve filled with wide-mouth mason jars for pens, pencils and paintbrushes. It can move with me if I’m spreading out on the floor too (you do that too… right?). The blue trolly (from Ikea) is on wheels too, so it is easy to grab from. I also use washi tape like it’s going out of style, so I keep it in an open tin. Don’t hide the stuff you use often!
7. Have a place to jot notes// Or as I like to say- post-it-it-up. I read something (a very long time ago) that recommended you keep a notepad on your nightstand so that when you’re trying to sleep if you think ‘I need to do this!’ you can jot it down and go back to sleep instead of laying awake trying to make yourself remember in the morning. I think the same is true when you’re working. You’ll think of something you need to remember and if you don’t write it down and get back on topic, you’ll never finish your task. I think sticky notes are a sign of a productive workspace. Then at the end of my task, I take all my post its and write a list. That’s my system. Pretty paper goods help.
8. Add things that make you happy// Who says a workspace has to be all work and no play? Surround yourself with things that make you smile. I have a pennant from my birthday party, snail mail from my sister-in-law, my babies’ first finger painting, the sparkly garland I made for NYE, driftwood from past adventures, and the floral crowns I made for my birthday (those things are lasting forever!). None of these are necessary to me working… but they definitely make it more fun.
9. Embrace Change// Last but definitely not least… be open to change! I think a workspace that works is the product of change. You find what works best for you and you run with it. Then two months later you realize that it actually works better to do something differently. Just because you spent hours making it perfect doesn’t mean it can’t change. I love to use washi-tape to put up ‘temporary’ decorations. Then I can change it up whenever I get the feeling. I also think every office or workspace should have a bulletin board, chalkboard, whiteboard or memo board (like mine) to write notes, draw on, and pin up things that make you happy. This is a super-old Instagram picture… but even my old fundraising office had a bulletin board- it’s A-OK to fill it with Dr Seuss prints… honestly. If you’re not into Dr Seuss… that ‘Love you’ printable is from Avery Street Design, and that ‘I love you to the moon’ is actually a card from Green Tie Studio (same as that ‘Thanks’ Card in my trolly).
(If you’re an avid reader say hello because I’d love to meet you- but also you might have noticed I’m not using the metal board as a meal planner any more. It worked great as one but it’s perfect in here… so I stole it.)
So there’s my tips for a workspace that inspires you… and guys, I’m so inspired by my new space! I can’t wait to finish it and share with you. Now… what you’ve all been waiting for- the giveaway! Brittany from Light Rust Studios was kind enough to partner with Roots and Whim and I to give you guys some free stuff. We met during an Alt Chat (a Twitter party… we’re such nerds, right!?) where we talk about wonderful things like time management and building community. So really, this giveaway is so fitting- isn’t it?
Brittany, the creative behind Light Rust Studio creates gorgeous hand lettered illustrations in prints, cards, and cloth that are inspired by travel. I fell in love with this ‘Climb the Mountain so you can see the world, Not so the world can see you’ print (available in her store)– I just love the reminder. I thought you might too… so that’s what I’m giving away here!
Hayley is giving away one of Light Rust Studio’s pretty calendars- so you can hop over there and enter for that too! Both giveaways are open for one week.
Before you head off to Roots and Whim to enter there… I’d love if you shared your tips for an inspired workspace! I’m always looking for new ways to work smarter!