Q: “Denise, I thought by now I would be spending more time at my actual office than my home office but it looks like we are going to continue like this for a while longer. For years my office has been a catch-all for things that don’t have a home in other parts of the house. It is also the guestroom (although we have no guests at the moment), and I have never really invested energy making it a good functional space. This is catching up with me now because I get exhausted just going in there. Plus it is hot! I don’t want to spend time or money on a lengthy renovation. Any suggestions for quick fixes?”
A: Yes! I love this type of question because I can hear in your tone that you are really ready for a change. Here are some things to keep in mind as you determine your plan:
1. Temperature – some people’s production can plummet if the temperature of the space is too hot or too cold. Some people’s brains literally can’t work if they are uncomfortable. It sounds like you are one of those people. Therefore, finding a solution to keep the temperature under control is critical. If your room suffers from bad air circulation, first check your vents to make sure they are open, check your ducts to make sure they are not clogged. If the temperature cannot be controlled by being strategic about when you open windows, keep the sun from blasting in, and with fans, it might be time to call in your furnace/air conditioning company to see if they have suggestions. A number of my clients have installed a mini-heat pump that assists with heating and cooling a small area with great success.
2. Rules – I am a strong believer of having a place for everything – and your office needs to not be the default place to put things that don’t. Get everything out of your office that does not belong there. I don’t care if you have to get a couple of storage bins and put this stuff in the garage for the time-being. Clutter can drain your energy. Then establish rules with the others in your house regarding your office, rules for putting things in their “home”, and establish homes for the homeless items.
3. Good Energy – What does your office need to have good energy? Better lighting? Plants? Things that bring you joy like cards of appreciation from clients? Photos of your family and friends? Great décor? Organization? All of these things are important in creating a functional and energizing space where you can be super-productive.
4. Guest Room – In terms of the second function of the room being the guest quarters, you haven’t elaborated on what that includes, but if you have a fairly small space and a large bed is taking up a lot of that, you might want to consider a Murphy bed or moveable bed solution. Also, evaluate how often you actually have guests. If you only have that guest room used even two weeks of the year, it is not living up to its highest-and-best use for the other 50 weeks of the year.