Where do you run your business from?
No, my desk never actually looks this pretty…
I used to have an office in my spare room (I rather grandly called it a studio, but really it was a big desk with a jewellery workbench on one end, big screens for editing, and wall to wall shelving for all the stuff that comes with owning and running businesses).
It was lovely to have a separate space, but it was easily the part of the house I spent most time in – even eating my dinner in front of my computer sometimes, while I tried to get client work finished or new ideas into the world.
When I bought my house from my landlord last year, I dreamed of having a real spare room – somewhere I could use to relax, but also a proper space for my friends and family to stay over when they visited. And when I refurbed the house, that’s exactly what I created.
Now my big screen and graphics tablet lives on my bureau in the living room, my postage materials, boxes and USB sticks under the stairs, and my filing in piles everywhere.
Instead of dreaming of a spare room, now I’m dreaming of decluttering, and taking my business out of my living space altogether.
I’m talking to my builder about a garage conversion, which I hope to get started in October time. In the meantime, there is some serious tidying and systemising to be done to make that corner of my living room more manageable, and also to stop it being the focal point of the room.
Marie Kondo, the Japanese queen of tidy, teaches only keeping items that “spark joy”, and of having a place for everything.
These are two principles I wholeheartedly agree with but for some reason have the greatest difficulty sticking to when it comes to my businesses – perhaps because you can’t throw away the paperwork for that client that caused you so many sleepless nights two years ago, or your tax return which shows a loss in a year you were expecting a profit… in every business there are things which do not spark joy, but which are part of your business’s story and journey nonetheless.
So I am off, on my next clear weekend afternoon (they’re alarmingly rare), to tackle my space with joy and practicality side by side in my approach.
Our businesses should be things of happiness, which bring us fulfilment and purpose – but there also needs to be space for the other stuff, the dull but necessary paperwork, and the terrifying but also essential parts of them.
All of it is part of the soul of your business – and all of it is important.
I want to honour the soul of my business and give it room to grow and flourish, while also signifying a clear divide between work space and life space. Though I believe that life and work and business can and do intertwine naturally and beautifully, it’s good to have a space to switch it on and off.
I’ll let you know how I get on!