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Why You Hate Your Office

Let’s talk about home offices and why you might hate yours! Has your office turned into a dumping ground for unfinished projects, out-of-use technology and stuff you just can’t seem to let go of? If walking into your office fills you with a sense of dread, this episode is for you!

SHOW NOTES

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome I am Bonnie, and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised, the PodCast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organized, and reclaim time for the things you love.

LILY: I mean 15 years ago, give a girl a break

BONNIE: I don’t think we change that much

LILY: Are you guilty of this?

BONNIE: My kids keep coming in and stealing all my staples and my sticky tape; that’s annoying.

LILY: Productivity

BONNIE: Australian accent

LILY: Productivity, Ummm

MUSIC

BONNIE: Hello and welcome, today we are talking about home offices and why we hate them. That’s right, if your office is dark, dusty, and feels like the bottom pits of hell, this episode is for you.

LILY: So ominous, oh my goodness

BONNIE: No, on a lighter note, but if you walk into your office and you feel like it is just a dumping ground for all of the stuff that you kind of don’t need but don’t want to let go of in your house and all the unfinished projects and to do’s, this is the episode for you.

LILY: If you haven’t been tuning into the Podcast for a while, you may have missed a very exciting announcement, and that is Little Home Organised; that’s us, we have released a brand new course, Yeah, the organized wardrobe, that’s right a course solely dedicated to getting that wardrobe in tip-top condition. Bonnie, what can people expect?

BONNIE: So if you are a time-poor person and you find that getting dressed in the morning is just giving you such a headache, the organized wardrobe is the course for you. We will help you zone your wardrobe, we will help you let go of the items that are no longer serving you, and we will help you organize your wardrobe to within an inch of its life so that in the morning, it takes you less than 5 minutes to get dressed and you walk out the door feeling fabulous.

LILY: Ahh, doesn’t that sound good, but the thing I love, of course Bonnie, is that our courses are DIY, which means that you can jump on, online anytime login do a module, try it at home and do it at your own pace, which is fabulous for the busy time-poor parent
BONNIE: Because life does get in the way sometimes, and it is great to know that you can just come back and pick up from where you left off.

LILY: And as long as this course is offered, you will have access to it, so if that sounds like something that you want to incorporate in your life, you want to get your wardrobe looking spic and span and loving it every time you open that door, this is for you. Head to littlehomeorganised.com.au and check out the organized wardrobe.

MUSIC

LILY: And if you haven’t checked us out on TikTok yet, we would love you to head on over there; we post a new video every single day virtually, and what is cool about that it is jam-packed with lots of information every time we do a video so be sure to head on over and check us out. Alright, so today we are talking about why you might hate your home office, and we are going to be approaching this from 2 ways. 1, we are going to be looking at why you hate the physical space itself but 2: why you also hate working in a home office environment, and then we are going to break it down and give you some solutions for each of those issues.

BONNIE: So obviously, with COVID and the fun journey that the last 18 months to 2 years have been, so many people are working from home and having to create home offices more than ever; I heard a stat yesterday that said that the office occupancy rate in Melbourne in particular at the moment is down to 26%.

LILY: Wow, that is wild

BONNIE: It is, isn’t it? So that shows that 74% of people who normally work in an office in the city are now working from home.

LILY: And you may just be someone who has always had a home office, and you occasionally work from home, it is not something that you actually do your 9-5 from but you still go into that room and think uhh and you really love closing the door on that room, in fact, Bonnie the office is one of the rooms that people often have the most clutter in hey.

BONNIE: It is because it is a lesser-used room, so we find that we can justify dumping stuff in there a lot more because we don’t see it as often, so it doesn’t bother us as much.

LILY: So to start today’s episode off, how about we talk about the 7 reasons you might hate the physical space that is your home office.

BONNIE: And the number 1 reason that I find in all of my client’s homes is those leaning towers of paperwork.

LILY: Paperwork Pisa piles

BONNIE: Yes, oh say that 3 times fast

LILY: Paperwork Pisa piles, Paperwork Pisa piles…..

BONNIE: Hahahaha

LILY: I was so confident.

BONNIE: You were. I liked that, but you failed.

LILY: Your turn.

BONNIE: Paperwork Pisa piles, Paperwork Pisa piles ahhh

LILY: see

BONNIE: I can’t even get to the second one. Okay, here is a challenge for you listener: can you say it 3 times, audio record it, and send it to us? If you can, we are going to send you out a prize.

LILY: Oh my gosh, you are responsible for doing that. Mmm, it is so true right, paperwork is like the bane of so many people’s existence, and that is one of the things you walk into an office, and if you don’t have an efficient setup system in there, it is going to be oh paperwork piles everywhere.

BONNIE: And I find that with paperwork, in particular, you have these piles and they are kind of like a timestamp, so the oldest stuff is down the bottom, the newer stuff is up the top, and when you look at them, it is like this overwhelming oh I have still got to do that, you know it is all these to do stacked up in one pile and it can get so overwhelming that it is like easier to just push it aside and delay it until later rather than dealing with it right there and then.

LILY: Oh, absolutely. Number 2 reason, your office is filled with random electronics, random cables, a drawer full of USB’s that you have no idea what is on them, and a bunch of hard drives. Does that sound familiar because I can actually kind of relate to this one, I found a bunch of USB in an old laptop case folder that I had no idea existed, and I didn’t even know they were in there, and I was like, oh my goodness I have so many USB’s

BONNIE: It is really interesting. I think nearly every home where we do an office has got at least a couple old devices, so either old laptops or old computer stands where they have got to get you to know data off them, whether it is photographs or something like that and they are just hanging around because the technology has become so out-dated that they are like I don’t actually know how to get this stuff off this old laptop anymore because it doesn’t work.

LILY: Oh, exactly it is like you still want the information, or in the case where you are like I don’t know where to appropriately get rid of technology where I can make sure no one can get access to my stuff

BONNIE: Yeah, yes, so E-waste is a huge problem and especially cables and cords; if you have never labeled them or stuck them in a zip lock bag with a label on them or something like that, you just have these boxes of cables, and it is like a lucky dip.

LILY: Number 3: There might be random items stored in this cupboard, and this is common because it’s again one of the rooms that we are not necessarily using as much, and so it becomes a storage area in the cupboards.

BONNIE: It is like where we stick the gift box stuff, or the wrapping station stuff or the dinner set when mum comes to visit

LILY: You know the miscellaneous stuff that you just don’t necessarily use very often.

BONNIE: Yeah, and if you have got like a sofa bed a lot of people stick a sofa bed in their office so that when guests come to visit they have like an office turned guest room, so there is often stuff relating to guests there as well and if you have got a family member who normally comes over and lives with you for quite a few months in that office space I find that those family members will leave a lot of their personal effects in there too.

LILY: Excessive amounts of stuff, so just homeless clutter that has ended up on your desk, around your desk, behind your desk, to-do’s knick-knacky things everywhere, and that excessive stuff can just make you walk in and go, oh this space just feels cramped.

BONNIE: Yeah, and especially if you have children and they like to create artwork, that is often the place where those beautiful little treasures get stored

LILY: A bunch of trophies and things that you are holding onto that you wanted to put on display but haven’t gotten around to doing, so they are sitting in a box getting dusty in the corner; those kinds of things are really commonly found in the office.

BONNIE: Yep, definitely.

LILY: Number 5: Coffee mugs, plates, and leftovers. You go in there, you are working from home, you are unwinding and on the computer and you are eating while you are doing it and then you get distracted, and you leave, and your dishes don’t, and so what can end up happening is you are going to end up with a pile of dishes.

BONNIE: This never happens to me

LILY: We that is because you are a professional organizer, Bonnie, it is just unprofessional

BONNIE: Well, it actually does; I am kind of lying

LILY: Oh, I thought you were targeting me because like you must have been into my office

BONNIE: Well, I remember what your bedroom was like as a teenager so

LILY: I mean 15 years ago, give a girl a break.

BONNIE: I don’t think we change that much

LILY: Are you guilty of this?

BONNIE: Yeah occasionally, usually I am pretty good with it, but funnily enough, we have only been in this new house for 3 months, and it has all had new carpets and painting and stuff just before we arrived, and my office doesn’t have a huge amount of stuff in it, but I did have this pile of equipment for work that I needed to pass off to someone else in the team, and I pulled it all out one day to get it ready to send to her and there in the corner was a pile of mouse poop, and I was like oh my gosh I have not even been here 2 months, and there is a mouse in my office, gross

LILY: I think you moved into the mouse’s house Bonnie, I think that is what has happened there.

BONNIE: I guess I have to tell you the mouse has been eradicated.

LILY: Oh, that is so sad.

BONNIE: Mmm, not really

LILY: But necessary. There is, like on a serious note, there is a serious mouse plague out like in outback Australia at the moment, and farmers.

BONNIE: Yes, I have heard about that

LILY: Need all the help they can get like it is really a problem. A lot of people are like, oh, that is inhumane to kill mice that way, and like I hear you like I get it, it is really, it is called a plague for a reason. It is startling for us to see those images, but that is the farmer’s everyday life of crops being ruined, things in their houses, it is full-on.

BONNIE: I mean if you still want to be able to go to the supermarket and eat fresh food,

LILY: Yeah, we have to do something about that mouse plague.

BONNIE: Yep, yep, you have to deal with the plaques

LILY: Check in with your local farmers; they need your support. So number 6: A reason you might be hating your office is there is a lack of light and no décor that you love.

BONNIE: Yes, too often we don’t spend any time investing in making our offices feel creative and inspiring, we just think oh it is just a place to work, so why would I bother, and I just think that it is such a miss-step, like my office when I look at these couple of bright-colored paintings and the few décor things that I have got that are bright and express my personality they actually bring me heaps of joy, and it makes working in here not just more bearable but enjoyable.

LILY: And if it feels like a dark dungeon and it is not your vibe, then it is, you know, no wonder you are not loving it. And number 7: if you have inadequate storage and you don’t have suitable furniture for your office space for how that room functions and you have got stuff everywhere because of it that is going to be another reason you are not enjoying that space because things aren’t organized in a way that works.

BONNIE: Yep, and make sure your furniture is ergonomic; okay, make sure that you are not hurting your back with the chair that you are using or the desk height or whatever the other furniture is that you have got going on if you are sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day, do you need a little step stool to keep your feet up off the floor, do you need something to stick your laptop on.

LILY: A standing desk potentially

BONNIE: Yes, like, invest in that stuff, especially if you are going to be, in, there, all day every day or at least 2 or 3 days a week.

LILY: Alrighty. So here are the 7 reasons you might hate working in your home office. Number 1: unwanted interruptions. So do you now work from home, and your partners pop their heads in, your children pop their heads in? In fact, Bonnie, what, have, had to do at your house recently to counteract this.

BONNIE: Well, I have had to put a door monkey on the door to stop my children from coming in.

LILY: Now, for those of us who don’t have children, well I do, but those people who don’t have children or who didn’t know what a monkey was, can you tell us.

BONNIE: So a door monkey is this great little contraption that basically keeps your door slightly ajar so it allows for airflow, but it keeps pets and children out of spaces or in spaces as it so happens. So we use one for my toddler, who is a bit of a serial getter upper, and it just helps him to know the door can’t be opened; I need to stay in my bed all that kind of thing. It also helps that he sleeps in a room with his 6-year-old brother, and we have the door monkey at a height where the 6-year-old can open the door, so we are covered if there is any kind of emergencies or whatever, but I use the door monkey in my office because my kids keep coming in and stealing all my staples and my sticky tape, and that is annoying.

LILY: Yes and so if you can imagine if you are working from home and some of you are probably going ohh this has been me, people coming in and out can make it really disruptive especially if you are someone who is normally used to working in an office, so that can be one reason you are hating your office at the moment.

BONNIE: Funny story,

LILY: Oh, tell me

BONNIE: A few weeks ago before I went on maternity leave I was doing one last online workshop for a local library and it was a night-time one and I think it started at like 6.30 or 7pm so I had my husband on duty with the kids and kids you have to be quiet I am going in the office, going to have all these people listening to me, like you have to be quiet and because there is 3 of them and it gets kind of like rowdy and crazy at that time of night, as much as they tried, one of my children slipped through the net and I heard the door open while I was presenting and thankfully like the door is not right behind me or anything like that and I could just hear this door and kind of out of the corner of my eyes see this child standing there looking at me like I want to say something to mum, but then I don’t and then I could hear my husband come and yank the child out and quietly close the door but there are those interruptions and I mean that is where that whole famous BBC interview came about

LILY: Yeah, that was such gold

BONNIE: Oh, my husband hadn’t seen it, and I showed it to him like the next day after that happened, honestly he cried so much I thought he was going to wet his pants, and we were both just sitting on the couch in hysterics watching it over and over, and I was like I have watched this a million times already over the last couple of years but just watching it again was like this is just giving me a whole new fresh set of laugher it was great.

LILY: Oh, it is such a good video. Number 2: Distractions, so this is you know, especially if you are someone who feels like almost that sense of like fear of missing out FOMO where you can hear other people are home and doing other things and you wanna go and check it out and so it creates a space where you keep feeling drawn away from your work, maybe you see the neighbor in the yard, and you want to catch up with them so distractions can be one reason why you are not feeling productive and not enjoying your home office. Another thing can be Number 3: Boundaries so if you struggle with boundaries around your work and you tend to easily slip into the 24/7 work cycle where you are checking your emails late at night in bed, it is really mentally unhealthy, and it can start to feel like you are constantly working

BONNIE: And it sets up a really bad habit because then your co-workers think, oh well, they responded to my email at 11 o’clock at night, so I am going to keep emailing back and forth, you need to have the boundaries around your work hours so that you have good work-life balance for your family because when you work from home, you can so easily slip into that role of being available 24/7.

LILY: Oh, it is so easy. Number 4: Spending too much time at home, it just gets to a point where you need a break; you just feel like you are doing the same thing day in and day out, and I think this is what a lot of people felt with COVID is just this sense of stuckness, I need a break I need to go and get outside

BONNIE: Cabin fever

LILY: And we are definitely going to talk about some great options if this is something that you are really struggling with at the moment. Number 5: Social isolation, so you just might be feeling like me working from home, running my own business is really lonely, or me working from home now due to COVID and being away from co-workers is really lonely because it is socially isolating.

BONNIE: Yeah, and this is something we see even in the LMO team because we are all mobile and everybody lives in different suburbs and stuff, and we don’t necessarily go into an office to see each other every day or every week. We do have to have these regular staff meetings online so that we can all catch up, debrief, get to

LILY: And connect.

BONNIE: Connect with each other, and that is why I think one of the greatest things about COVID is that is really inspired people to do online drinks and things like that where people could connect virtually even though they weren’t allowed to meet physically anymore and still have that talk so when you have your lunch break, you know can you connect with somebody else over your lunch break and eat lunch together virtually so that you are still getting that human connection.

LILY: Absolutely and Number 6: The identity blur and what can happen is that as we spend so much time at home and we don’t have a clear disconnect from I am in work mode, I am in me mode, we can really start to have this little shift in our identity where we can feel a sense of displacement, and maybe you haven’t even put a name to what that feeling has been until now, that you are actually feeling like your identity is making a little bit of a shift or feeling a little unclear because all you feel like you do is work and stay at home and you are starting to struggle with that connection to who you are. So definitely feeling an identity blur could be something that is happening, and it is making you start resent working from home.

BONNIE: That is a really interesting point, especially because we know that the studies are now showing that since the whole COVID pandemic started, that mental health was really declined a lot, and that is why it is so difficult for a lot of people to get into see mental health professionals because there are so many people struggling with this kind of new way of life.

LILY: And number 7: The reason why you might hate working in your office at the moment is you are just feeling smothered by stuff, and this happens in every room of the house, physical clutter, clutters our mental space, there is the saying a clear space is a clear mind, and that is so important in the office because the office is a space that is often designated to productivity. All right, let’s take a quick break, and we are going to talk about solutions to each of these 7 issues.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL…..

LILY: All right, so today’s episode is all about struggling to love the home office, the physical clutter that is everywhere as well as the difficulties of trying to function in the home office. So first things first, we are going to look at how you can love the physical space again, and Number 1, we are going to focus back on paperwork. So, you need to set up with your paperwork a short and a long-term system. And if you want detailed information on how to do this episode, I think it was Number 5, of ours, called Paperflow is a great starting point.

BONNIE: That will just give you the system that you need to be able to do your short-term paperwork storage as well as some really great options for long-term filing and storage.

LILY: In the meantime, something that you can definitely implement that will be useful is a spot for the paper as it flows into the house and you haven’t figured out where to sort it from there just yet, or you have got the system in place, but it is the temporary spot until you do get the time to sort it and that is simply an in-tray or something similar where you can put those papers ready for sorting.

BONNIE: Yes, and this is what we see throughout so many client homes is when we don’t have a home for something, things just wander and there is a different place every time for something to go when you have an in-tray all the paperwork that comes into the house goes into the in-tray, and that is where everybody knows that it lives until it gets decided on. There is no more; sometimes it is on the bedside table, sometimes it is on the kitchen bench, and sometimes it is on the hood of the car. Let’s just create a home for it and make it consistent.

LILY: Number 2: Those random electronics we were talking about earlier, so here are some things that can help you get those a little bit more organized. One obviously going through any of these things and decluttering things that you don’t need anymore, but for all the cords that you are keeping, label them, so you can use things like electrical tape and fancier kind of labels, but making sure that you label and write what they are or what they are used for so that you know when you pick up that random cord and you can’t quite figure out what the end of it means you know what it is attached to or what it can attach to. The other thing to note about cords is that we are also all very much in the habit or looping cords and wrapping them in that way, and it can damage the cords, so it is okay to do this if they are loosely bound but don’t do it too tight because you can actually damage the cords but looping them in that way can be a nice way and then putting a loose tie on them and keeping them in a box of some description can be a great way to keep your cords organized.

BONNIE: And if you are someone who has lots of different colors of tape, color coding your cords may be according to device or room or some other purpose that actually really helps you then identifying what your cords are for too.

LILY: Now you are going to hate this tip, so we are talking about USBs and hard drives as well earlier, so what you need to do is you need to know what is one them, so you have to put them into your computer and see are they empty, can be, do you want to sell them, donate them, recycle them as electronic waste or are they something that you need to go through and sort and if they are putting them back in the draw as something to sort later and just having that mental thought isn’t enough, you will actually need to put a plan in place because it is a bit of a yucky job, so we are not really inclined to do it unless we set something in stone. So head to that calendar, set a date, and even if you just do it a chunk at a time, one USB at a time or one 2 hour block at a time, set some time aside to intentionally go through those files and make sure you are hanging onto stuff that is still important to you.

BONNIE: Okay, Number 3: Those random cupboard items that we have in our office. The most important thing to do if you are not really sure what they are is to work out what they are, pull them all out, categorize them, declutter the ones that you don’t need anymore, organize the ones that you do need, and double-check, is this actually the spot where they need to live or is there a better spot in the house for them to live? Is everything in here clearly labeled and accessible and this is where clear containers are really really useful because then you can see what is in them at a glance without having to open lids.

LILY: Number 4: Those room items, very similarly to what Bonnie was just saying. You are going to pull everything out that doesn’t look like it should live in there, categorize, declutter and find appropriate homes for those homeless items so that you are not feeling swamped by excess stuff in the office space, which is supposed to be the place of productivity.

BONNIE: And if you do happen to be a serial dirty dish leavera, have a new habit happen, so make sure that you stick your phone right next to the dirty dishes so that you see when you grab your phone the dirty dishes when you leave the office or use something like a tray so that when you are eating or drinking in your office, you put everything onto the tray once you finished and you make a new habit of taking the tray with you each time you leave.

LILY: Yeah, this one is definitely about habits because often it is such a mindless thing to leave it in there, but if we can set up some new systems, then we can certainly get on top of the dishware clutter. Number 6: So once you have gone through and decluttered any décor that is not really your vibe, it is obviously going to feel a lot better, and then from there, you can be really intentional with the décor you do have in there. What is the vibe you want to create? Maybe you want to have more of the dark oaky office vibe, and so you want pieces that match that you or you want to do bright light and sunny whatever it is, make sure it represents you and make you feel good every time you walk into your office, and of course you will need good lighting to do that so head to marketplace or maybe second-hand lamps, update your light bulbs, whatever it is so that when you go into your office, it just feels good, it has the right vibe.

BONNIE: Okay Number 7: Your storage and your furniture, so if your furniture isn’t ergonomic, you need to invest in stuff that is, so like we mentioned before, do you need a standing desk, do you need a better chair, do you need to have some sort of platform to stick your computer on so that it is at the right eye height for you, all these things will help make you feel better about working in your office because when we get to the end of the day, and we leave our office, and we are stiff and tired and sore that is our bodies way of telling us that either we didn’t more enough today or that we have got furniture in place that is not actually supporting our optimal health. So make sure you invest in pieces that are going to not only make use of the space that you have got and be space-efficient but be good for your body as well

LILY: The other thing to think about is the storage that you have in that room if you have got too much stuff and you have decluttered, and you still have got a bit of excess, and you look at the furniture that is in that room, and you think I could fit this, this could work it is just not functioning right right now, it might be time to switch up your storage, so can you sell your storage and jump on marketplace and get some second-hand options that work better, can you install some floating shelves to get your stuff up onto the shelves because we love using vertical space, it leaves the flat surfaces and floors free. Or potentially something like a pegboard, due you want to put a pegboard up on your wall because they are so customizable, and you can attach all different bits and bobs to them and get things off your desk, especially if you are someone who loves having a really clear desk, a pegboard could be a good option for you as well. All right, so that is the 7 solutions if it is a physical clutter problem, but let’s talk about the functioning everyday home office; I am working from home situations. So Number 1: We were talking about interruptions, how do we protect ourselves from these interruptions.

BONNIE: Well, the most important thing is to have boundaries, especially if you have got kids, spouse, even pets; okay what are your boundaries? Do you have physical boundaries where there is a gate or a door monkey so that people cannot get in and interrupt you? Do you have a lock on the door, is it a soundproof shield, whatever it might be, make sure that you have got those boundaries in place and that everybody in your family knows what the boundaries are.

LILY: And if you have flexibility around your work and you know that the time that you have picked currently isn’t working, to work because of life with your family, consider switching it up to time that works better so that you are not constantly battling interruptions by choosing just a different time of day instead.

BONNIE: That is a really good point because if you do have a young child who still has asleep during the day or multiple sleeps during the day, that is actually, optimal time to get work done when you know that you are not going to be interrupted.

LILY: Number 2: Distractions we were talking about FOMO and the whole challenge of how it is a real thing; you might be feeling drawn out into the front yard to chat with the neighbor or hear people having a chat in the lounge room and want to go and join them which can be really hard when we are working in our home offices so what are some things that we can do about these distractions.

BONNIE: Well, I think the most important thing that I like to teach my children is that if we do the work now, we have the play later, and so there has to be a reward system in place for getting through each segment in time, and just like when we talked about our rhythms and routines episode having those anchors during the day, that first lunchtime, afternoon tea, dinner whatever it might be means that we can then structure our day with more of a flow rather than a particular schedule outline where we have to be at every 15-minute interval. So making sure that we have got a good flow so that we have those activities that are doing activities and then being activities means that we are going to get to the end of the day and feel better about ourselves rather than flogging ourselves to death.

LILY: And if possible, if there are people who in your home who could potentially go play outside so you are not feeling distracted and it would work for them as well potentially consider if there is a certain hour of the day where there is that overlap of making those arrangements so that it works best for you and for them, distraction-free. Number 3: Boundaries around work. Okay, this is one I have learned the hard way, and so here are some things that I put into place, and I am sure it is the same for you, Bonnie, having the business, but you have got to. So don’t check your emails on your phone outside of work hours, especially not in bed, because I have had numerous occasions where I have opened an email at like 10 or 11 o’clock at night, it has made me feel yuck, and I felt like I had to address it then, and then it really unsettles me for sleep.

BONNIE: Yeah, and that is the thing, and there is that great book don’t check emails in the morning because when you have your plan of what you want to achieve in the day but then you check your emails first, your plan changes and that plan then changes according to who has emailed you and what they feel is important. So that is why

LILY: Isn’t that funny because often the first thing you want to do in the morning is, oh I will just check my emails and tick them off

BONNIE: Yeah yeah

LILY: And it really can, you might find that you have started work at 8.30 and it is 10 o’clock before you actually get to your responsibilities.

BONNIE: And I really struggle with it, I am someone who does need to actually do emails before I can get into all my, like little projects and tasks like that, but I do find it is a massive time suck.

LILY: Oh, I would totally agree, so make sure you are not checking your emails outside; turn off those notifications even on certain times. Put do not disturb on your phone if it is on your phone and you need it one there for certain times when you are away from work, so you are not tempted to have a look, most importantly it is really important that you set work hours, if you work from home it is tempting to just be like oh I am feeling productive I might go work, but it is really important to have boundaries so that like we were saying earlier you can have separation

BONNIE: Do people actually feel that way, like I am feeling productive, I am going to go work. I have to drag myself in there sometimes.

LILY: I definitely get that with cleaning, oh I could clean the house, and then halfway through I am like regret, why, now I have to finish this.

BONNIE: Oh

LILY: Alrighty, let’s jump over to Number 4: So if you are struggling with that home office feeling like I have just had too much time at home, I hate working in my home office here are some things that you can do, if you have the opportunity, mix it up. Option 1 if you have the opportunity and no restrictions, maybe you could go back into the office; option no 2, you could potentially rent an office space for a day, work somewhere different.

BONNIE: Like a hot desk or something at a mutual working space

LILY: Exactly. Number 3, you could potentially go to a coffee shop in the morning and just take your laptop depending on what you do for work and have a crack. Or you know maybe you can’t do those things, maybe you are locked down, and you can’t leave, is it possible that you could get out on a sunny morning outside and just sit on a chair in the yard in the sun for a few hours and do some work just to have a mental health break. So we know that feeling of having too much time at home can make you resentful of walking into your work office so definitely consider these options if there is something that you can try.

BONNIE: And I mean for a lot of people there is, a lot of vitamin D deficiencies, and we need to get out and get that sunshine and that fresh air just to help boost us.

LILY: I know I am fair-skinned, and I love it because my dermatologist and my first couple of years of seeing him was like, stay out of the sun, sunscreen blah blah blah, and then I remember going back in a couple of years later and he is like there is real issue with vitamin D deficiency in Australia make sure you are getting plenty of sun but cover up and I was like how?

BONNIE: This is conflicting information.

LILY: But it is so good but also so bad. Get that vitamin D, people. All right, Number 5 is social isolation, a very true problem especially with COVID; we are saying that a lot today, but it is true, people are feeling lonelier than ever, and that is what the stats are showing as well, so what can we do to fix that, well 1 can you zoom like you were saying earlier Bon, have a zoom lunch date with a coworker.

BONNIE: Yeah, or can you do after-work drinks with them. One thing that I have loved during the lockdowns is that we have like little Lego playdates with my kid’s friends, and you know the boys will be showing off their Lego creations, and the mum and I are talking over the top about stuff.

LILY: That is so cute

BONNIE: And the boys are like, look at this, look at that and like that is a way to get connected as well, so there definitely are options you just have to kind of think outside the box a bit more.

LILY: Yeah, and remembering that you know social connectedness is a huge predictor of our wellbeing, so even if you can’t pinpoint why you are feeling the way that you are feeling at the moment when you walk into that space, consider the things we are talking about today, are you feeling socially isolated in general in your life? Going to work may be something that you are starting to resent if you are feeling like it is another thing that you have to do that isn’t connecting with others? So find a way to incorporate some connection into your day for sure.
BONNIE: Now number 6: I love this as a solution for if you are feeling that kind of identity crisis or the blur is once again having the boundaries between work and home, and that might be doing an outfit change and having your work clothes versus your home clothes because if we stay in pajamas all day let’s face it like we don’t feel really good about ourselves after a few days. Dress up for work and if you do have, like zoom meetings and stuff like that, get a theme going, like today is purple day, let’s all wear something purple.

LILY: Everyone wears a fun hat

BONNIE: Yeah, I mean cool earrings like we need to kind of go a little bit beyond what we are used to on a daily basis and put ourselves out there a little bit more to help us be happier

LILY: And bring some magic back into what has become a really monotonous experience for many, so yeah, find a way to have fun with it, and if you are in position where you are not the manager who can make those calls speak to someone about it, and I am sure that people your supervisor, your manager is like keen for opportunities to bring back some sparkle to workplace meetings on zoom because let’s face it meetings over zoom can be challenging.

BONNIE: Yes, they definitely can.

LILY: okay, and last but not least Number 7; so if their stuff in your office is starting to impinge on your mental health, what are some things that we can do

BONNIE: So we have already talked about a clear space being a clear mind, so make sure that you do, that declutter of the stuff that you don’t need in the office anymore, but then you put in place those healthy habits to keep your office from becoming messy. So when we think about vertical storage versus horizontal spaces being used for activity, make sure that at the end of the day, you are actually doing a desk tidy up so that when you come in the following day, you are starting with a fresh slate, your desk is nice and tidy, and you don’t have to be cleaning up from yesterday before you start today because we need to start each new day on the right foot because that helps us get set up for success.

LILY: Absolutely wooh what a jammed packed episode, so if you are sitting there thinking, man, I am really not loving my home office at the moment, this episode has had a bunch of tips, and we hope that they can help you be at the physical clutter in the space or the every day in and out of coming into your office and the functioning of this space. We hope you find something that you can try and implement. In fact, let’s make it a tidy task, Bon.

BONNIE: For this week’s tidy task, I want you to write a list, everything you dislike about your office and everything you like about your office; okay, really, just do a brain dump, brainstorm it, stick it all down. Chip away at those lists and start to make some solutions from the things that you dislike about your office and make sure that you are finding the treasures of what you do love about your office. So if you have got physical changes that you need to make, pick one thing on that list to change; if you have got workday problems like boundaries with kids or interruptions or that FOMO makes one of those habits and change one of those habits. So just pick a really realistic amount of things to change, one physical, one workday problem, and focus on changing those this week and then keep working down the list as the weeks go by.

LILY. And that is it for this week’s episode. Thank you so much for tuning in and lending us your ears.

BONNIE: And remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.

LILY: See you later

BONNIE: Bye

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