[the rules] PART 2


When setting up the ideal home office, audial ambiance is an important feature. Sitting in silence is not an option for me. I am not that focused nor comfortable with that much alone time. 

The most obvious choice is music - easy, accessible, able to meet a variety of needs. To perk myself up, it's the Beatles. To keep myself calm, it's Death Cab. This morning, it was Hall and Oates. You get the idea. But you're smart, you've already figured out music makes for a good co-worker. What else?

Depending on your task, audiobooks are a good choice. Now, you can't really pay attention to a complicated plot line while answering email. However, I find it a stimulating background while the other half of my brain is designing (or cleaning). The only bummer is having to pause anytime you mentally stopover in the left hemisphere. 

Finally, we can all agree that parking yourself in front of the television won't do much for your productivity. But I have to admit, TV can accompany your workday when used properly. In a technique I call "artificial companionship" I like to keep the TV on a very specific channel (usually the Food Network). The way my desk is positioned in the house, I can hear the TV, but not see it. I can't even crane my neck to sneak a peak. I keep the volume loud enough to make my apartment feel like a bustling office, but quiet enough that I can't catch all the ingredients going into that marinade.  

Warning, technique less effective when it's a hulu marathon of 30 Rock. 


[the rules] PART 1

I work from home at least 4 out of 5 days of the week. At first it was an attempt to work around my husband's crazy retail hours (and see him occasionally). Now it's part of my regular routine, and for the most part, I really love it. True, I am frequently bored with no one to talk to. And there are definitely days when it's hard to stay focused (there is laundry to fold!). But, you really can't compete with what it offers in flexibility. 

Alas, with all that glorious flexibility comes a lack of much needed structure that can get this girl into trouble. To keep that in check, I have a list of mental rules that I (mostly) follow. 

As tempting as it may sound, wearing your sweats to work from home is a bad idea. They're cozy, they're comfortable - they will make you want to lay on the couch. Trust me. 

Productivity requires a little effort on your part. The most successful way to start your work day is to shower and put on real clothes. I'm talking no elastic waste-bands. But, this is the home office, so we can fudge on that occasionally. At the very least, ask yourself this question when getting ready: "could I answer the door in this?" 

That means: proper (unexposed) underwear, brushed hair and teeth, enough makeup to not scare the neighbors, no holes or stains, and bonus points for matching. You work from home, you're not a bum. I like to feel somewhat accomplished when I walk out to get the mail. If I have to change before I do that, I've made some wrong turns in my day. 



[on my pile] INSPIRED MEDIA

For 2 years I shared office space with, and gained unofficial mentorship from, the talented staff at Alliant Studios. Amongst the creative and artistic life lessons I gained, I also came away with a few stolen issues of Entertainment Weekly. 

EW has got to be my favorite magazine. It consistently has me laughing-out-loud, and is certainly the only magazine I've ever read every word of (and I do that pretty much every issue). I love their bold, colorful aesthetic - almost like a pop-chart you can't take your eyes off of.

Blame it on my nephew's magazine drive, but I now get this little gem in my mailbox every Friday. Like a treat for the weekend, it's one of many creative pit-stops to keep me going.

There's a world of great inspired media out there - what's your favorite?


[on it's way] FRESH DELIVERY 

This whole thing is kinda new to me. Not the designing part, or even the having customers part - but definitely the having a business part. I accidentally fell into stationery work when I designed my own wedding invitations in 2006. Then I did my sister's a year later. After that, a friend told a friend and it just sort of happened. 

Now, I am actually building something. Making art (and decisions) is suddenly full of purpose. For years, having an Etsy Shop has been a vague goal. Now, here I am, open for business. Sure it's a little empty in there with only one item for sale. And yeah, maybe the single purchase was from my sister. But hey, look at me now! Shipping my first sale... and feeling really good about it. 


[on my route] FARMERS MARKET

I'm a night owl who has a hard time falling asleep. Add to that, a body that prefers an amount of sleep suitable for infants. You get the point - I'm not exactly a morning person. Perhaps that's why I had never graced the Saturday morning Farmer's Market.

This weekend my cousin Kathy invited me to join her. Let me just say, I'm glad I woke up in time. It was worth it! Look at all these beautiful colors and textures. I am now full of inspiration and fresh produce.