You likely know by now that I'm all about work spaces, focus, efficiency and simplicity, and that I sometimes share photos of my own changing spaces...
....but this week we are looking into someone else's space! .
Do you know how excited I was when I asked my dear friend, uber successful education consultant and owner of igniteyourS.H.I.N.E.®, LaVonna Roth, to share her behind-the-scenes work space with not just me - but - all of you too???
I knew LaVonna set up a new home office not so long ago and had seem and heard about it, but I needed to know more about her workspaces and habits! So I asked her a few questions!
Me: Your new-ish office space... describe how you feel in that space and why you set it up that way.
L: I'm very big on comfort, but also having a business-like setting, so I wanted it to be a clean, crisp, classy, yet have the comfort of snuggling up in there and reading a book or having some creative time. My desk is cleaned off and I have a couple of plants, a real one and fake one, and a couple of things that inspire me. Behind me, I have a credenza with bins. While the bins are to store things, at the end of the day if I need clean off my desk [I put things in the bins] so I can come in the morning and have a fresh feel. I also store my microphone, my light in there, my lume cube, and the stand my laptop goes on.
In the corner, it overlooks the window. That's where I start my mornings off with coffee and reading, and sometimes I do hypnotherapy or meditation of some kind. There's a fluffy beanbag, a huge one with pillows and blanket that bring me comfort. I so look forward to going there in the morning. It's the highlight of my day
In the other corner is where I have my easel where I do a lot of my thinking and brainstorming. I keep it to flip back and look at ideas.
Straight across from my desk is a picture of a lion, a huge lion, it's there to remind me that when I have doubt or i lack courage, a fear that sets in, because we all have that, it's a reminder for me to have strength. And below that is a fireplace that I have on and adds another layer of comfort.
I have a comfortable desk chair and a standup desk so I can adjust the height for presentations.
Me: You had another office but moved into a different room at home. Tell us about that.
L: When we moved into a smaller condo, my daughter had the other bedroom so I didn't really have a place to go to work, so I started going to WeWork. When CoVid hit, I couldn't go there anymore. But then when my daughter moved out, I took over her space. There is great value in being able to close the door and step away from distractions - things like - oh! I need to do those dishes! When the door is closed, I don't get interrupted because people know I'm in work-mode or think-mode.
Me: Every once in a while, you head off to a completely separate location to work. What value does this create for you? Why is this a must-do for you?
L: It allows me to step away from everything. I feel like it's a fresh start, a fresh perspective.There's research behind creativity and being somewhere fresh and new. It also allows me time for me. I usually go for a business retreat, but I do allow myself to do the things I need to do for me, like I'll read something I want or I watch a show,.The places I choose have to be in nature. Nature calms me, it inspires me. It's usually a walkable place so I can walk to somewhere like a restaurant. But sometimes do I just grab groceries and cook for myself.
It's a must-do for me because I know what comes from it. I remember being frustrated before the first time I went away. I said - I need to go away and create this framework so my sister came with me - it was when I wrote my first book. I was in a major crunch with the deadline - I think best last minute. We got a place out in the country, the downstairs of a house on a hill. It had a chicken coop, and the lady upstairs would drop fresh baked goods and fresh eggs in the morning. I was able to just pound things out and my sister would go through and edit it for me. That's when I was I realized that focus time for essential. I can work anytime I need to, until 2am or I can get up at 5am. Whatever I need
Me: Do you follow similar routines or structures when you're away or do you pre-plan?
L: I go with a list that's overzealous. I take all my books and things I want to do and never get through it. I have a long list - so next time what I'm going to change is that I'll prioritize the order. I'll make my wish list of what I intend to do and then start with the biggest priority before moving on to the next thing. Last time I didn't do that and I didn't finish things I wanted to finish. I don't pre-plan but I have projects that I want to work on. I don't like to structure my time to a T.
The danger for me is that I can be a squirrel - oh I need to do this, I need to wash the those dishes! I need to make a PD on this!
I also unplug My team knows this. Notifications get turned off and when I'm zoning in my team and family know that I may not respond to them right away.
When it comes to creativity - it's like writer's block - you need to be in the flow. I do my best work at the last minute which I don't necessarily like, but I do allow myself flexibility - if I need to wait until I feel creative - which is usually in the mornings - I'll walk or something else instead, but I do use up all my time.
Are you inspired to head off to the woods and get your work done now, or make your space more cozy? I know I am!
It is always insightful to hear about the work habits, routines and spaces of successful people! Thank you, LaVonna, for taking us all into your cozy workspace and for giving us a behind-the-scenes look into some of your work routines!
Want to learn more from LaVonna? Here are her links!
@LaVonnaRoth on Twitter
What's the first thought you have when you are about to set up a new work space?
For me, the first thought I have about a space set-up is not about the things needed to fill the space - and here I choose these words "fill the space" deliberately. My first thoughts are generally these three questions which help me make initial decisions in setting up.
How do I want to feel in this space?
We cannot dismiss the emotional responses we can experience in or to spaces. In my work spaces, I need to feel comfortable and calm. There are times when I need to feel more energized and motivated like in a classroom or when conducting a webinar.
How do I need to function?
Sometimes I need just 15-20 minutes for quick tasks like answering emails or setting up social media posts. Sometimes I need 30-60 minutes to focus on writing or planning something Other times, I need two or three hours of pretty focused time to learn or complete a larger task. These are my normal function times during the day.
What will make me feel and function this way?
Setting up to evoke a feeling of calm comes down to a couple of key things. One of them is thinking about colors. I keep colors basic such a black, blue or darker colors. Choosing the direction in which I face to get work done is also important, more than I realized. Sometimes I need to face wall to tune into what I'm doing, so I'm not looking out the window or at other things. I also don't keep much on the table or desk except my planner and some pens, or if I need my ring light and headphones I'll have those. The space does not hold much because that creates annoyance for me.
Perhaps when you set up your new area, or redesign your current one, you will consider these questions to help you get what you need from your work space.
To say I've been excited to move is a very big understatement.
Let me give you a bit of context...
It was one year ago this week that I was supposed to move from Singapore to LA... but then COVID and all the things that it brought down, brought that plan down too.
Yet through this last year, through COVID2020, I stayed in 6 different apartments or condos because of changes in plans, downsizing life and figuring out new spots to settle.
Fast forward some months and we decided on the Big Island of Hawai'i. I arrived here in October and didn't plan on leaving.
Yesterday we moved into our house. House.... We don't usually do houses but this one spoke to us.
It's been hard to focus the last couple of weeks as I have been just letting the existing little work space slowly fall apart because I knew I would be starting with a clean slate. A blank canvas. We are sticking to our true selves and will be keeping it minimal, but not as minimal as we have been living- which has basically been out of a couple of suitcases for the past year!
We will now both have room for dedicated work spaces. We haven't lived in a space conducive to this for quite some time, and it's been a struggle especially with both of us at home working! So moving forward, I'm looking forward to sharing the set-up with you! Lots of thoughts, questions, and images coming soon!
If you purchase a new electronic device or appliance and don't know how to use it, what do you do?
How about when you are lost? How do you get un-lost?
What about when you are on vacation and you want to go on a.tour?
When you are trying to learn something new, what do you do then?
Or when you need some new strategies to implement something, what do you do then?
We get a guide, don't we? All kinds of guides! We use guides all the time to learn how to operate the new phone, to find our way in a new place, to learn a new thing.
But for some reason we don't always keep the guide on hand. We look at it when we first experience the newness of something, and then we put in the drawer. Sometimes this is okay because we have gotten the knowledge we needed to move forward and practice what we've learned.
But then .... we get a bit distracted or disinterested and our attention shifts, and when we need the guide for a refresher we may avoid getting it out again even though we really need it. At this point, think back to why you needed the guide in the first place. Remember its value. Get it out, dust it off and get your mind set to learn more when you open it up again.
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