Anatomy Of An Office #4: 5 Benefits Of Having A Creative Workspace Outside Of Your Home

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #4: The 5 Benefits Of Having A Creative Workspace Outside Of Your Home

Welcome to Anatomy Of An Office. This series is dedicated to pulling together a functional yet stylish workspace with plenty of budget-friendly tips!

I used to think that having a dedicated workspace away from home was completely unnecessary. I’d hear what I considered to be the same old tired clichés about increased productivity, less distractions and a better overall work / life balance.

After I quit my agency job a year and a half ago, I was happy to be home, to avoid a commute and to get some much needed solitude (most of the offices I’d worked in had open seating plans). Every morning, I crossed the hall from my bedroom to a nicely decorated home office. Life was good. And to be honest, I never bought into the idea of a work / life balance anyway. I didn’t see the point of leaving home every day to dive into work, only to escape it when the clock struck 6 pm…because I loved it. And to be in demand in a competitive field, I felt that it was important to live and breathe my work.

Even with my extreme view, everything worked out fine…but it was just fine. Sure, I was avoiding an extra rent bill every month but I began to wonder if I was really producing as much as I could be. Because let’s face it, when your job is to be creative at all times and you’re distracted by the pile of dirty laundry, a stack of dishes and the mailman, it’s hard to mentally click back over into “the zone.”

Still, even with nagging feelings about my current situation beginning to creep in, I was on the fence about finding a dedicated office. I’d been saving towards a big future goal and making a dent in my progress just to have an Instagrammable, pretty space seemed lame. I told myself that I could create from anywhere — I’d done just that from a couch in Berlin, a tiny bedroom in Vancouver and a kitchen table in Amsterdam during the prior six months.

Then, it happened. I met a couple at my neighbor’s house party and they pointed at the building across the street. They’d just taken over the lease and it was quickly filling up with creatives. I was intrigued. The thought of walking to work, having a space to spread out, make a mess and call my own began to seem more appealing. A few months later, as we were walking by one night, we ran into them again. After a quick tour of the building, I was convinced. Everyone else was an artisan — pottery, jewelry-making, weaving and letter pressing were all happening inside of those walls. It was good to get outside of the graphic design bubble.

A month went by and more traveling ensued — I bounced from the west coast to the east coast and back again and when I got home, I found an email stuck in my spam folder offering me a space. French doors. Exposed brick walls. Very high ceilings. I sat on it a few days….was this really a necessity? What would I do with it? Then, the ideas started flooding in. I talked it over with Joey and my family. I could finally get an intern. I could teach in-person classes I’d been dreaming about. I could do more involved photo shoots. I signed the lease and moved Branch in.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” —Steve Jobs

Once you’ve made a commitment, how do you really know if something is right? The truth is, it doesn’t matter how great something looks on paper. Until you’ve actually settled in, you don’t…until you actually go to work and spend a full day in the environment. It turned out to be a smoother transition that I’d envisioned. A few hours in, I felt right at home. Or at least, right at home at work.

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #4: The 5 Benefits Of Having A Creative Workspace Outside Of Your Home

5 reasons why a dedicated workspace outside of your home is a good idea:

1. More productivity equals more money.

Even if you’re highly productive at home like I was, there are always distractions creeping in. I put in long hours but I wasn’t always operating at my highest level. I’d roll out of bed, start work between 7 and 8 am and by late afternoon, disheveled and tired, I’d take a break to watch Dr. Phil (because when you don’t leave the house very much, other people’s problems give you a reality check that things really aren’t so bad). An hour later, I was easing back into work, losing track of when I was supposed to eat lunch or dinner because my day didn’t have a clear structure. It was a matter of getting as much done as quickly as possible but every time I’d stop to grab a snack or get the mail, I’d get sidetracked and lose another 15 minutes.

The other side of the productivity coin is a little harder to pinpoint but I believe that when you put the wheels in motion to take a big step, the universe rewards you for moving outside of your comfort zone (or in my case, my house). Two weeks after signing my lease, I got offered one of Branch’s largest projects to date and just the deposit alone covered my entire year of rent. Who knows, the job might have happened anyway but I took it as a sign that I’d gained momentum by physically (and mentally!) leaving the house.

2. Having a private hangout allows you to create without constraints.

Don’t get me wrong, I made plenty of messes at home. What I noticed, though is that they never stuck around — I felt the urge to clean up and get everything back in order by the end of the day. There was a part of me that felt held back, partially due to space and distractions. When you’re trying to take a photo and your pet squirrel runs into your shot, it’s just not going to work. Now, I walk into my office every morning, set down my cup of coffee, light a candle, make a to-do list, look out the window at traffic zooming by…and feel ready to not only get work done but to explore new ideas without interruptions, unwanted feedback or a feeling of needing to clean up the second a project is finished.

3. A structured environment in turn gives structure to your life.

Working from home, I was always on. There was always something more I could do to promote or grow my business and since it was so conveniently located across the hall (truly a blessing and a curse), I took full advantage of it. Never having an escape can make you really tired. Now, I head into the office at 9 am. Some nights, I do stay late but when I leave, I put my phone in my purse and tuck away my laptop. I get a good night’s sleep and deal with whatever is left the next day. Having a change in environment from work and home gives me a mental break — I’m more relaxed on my downtime because I’m not being nagged by work in the next room. And, the best part? Once I leave the office for the night, I don’t send another email unless it’s an emergency. It’s a pretty freeing feeling.

4. Set business hours mean there’s less room for procrastination.

When I worked from home, my days could stretch on forever. There was no real beginning or end because if I didn’t get my to-do list done during the day, I could just tack on a few extra hours at night. Now, I start work at 9 am, go home for lunch at 1 pm and leave for the night between 6 and 7 pm. There are still some crazy late nights when I’m catching up before traveling but otherwise, I leave and go meet friends or go home and eat dinner. When you give yourself very firm time constraints, it’s amazing how much more you can get done. End of story.

5. If you have a bad day, you can shut the door and leave.

Okay, I know this is a bit of a stretch but it’s true. When you’re home, it’s nearly impossible to get away from work. It follows you around like a nagging mother, day and night. If I had any bad feedback or a call that didn’t go as planned, I couldn’t escape it. Now? I just close my office door, turn off the light and take off. The act of closing the door and walking away is more symbolic than anything but it’s still effective. There’s something very zen about leaving it all behind, knowing that there’s a fresh start waiting tomorrow.


What about you? Do you work from home? Have you had your own office space? Which did you prefer? What are the pros and cons for you?

What I Wore: Olive

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Olive

To me, there’s nothing better than Fall fashion. Maybe it’s because the change of seasons reminds me of all those years of going back to school (I didn’t officially graduate from college until I was 27). Chunky, cozy knits and wool blends are great, as are all those very Fall (and Winter-centric) hues like olive, oxblood, pumpkin, mustard and navy.

Back in the late 90s in high school, I desperately wanted a bomber jacket but all the styles I found at my local army surplus store were just too baggy for my frame. I’m glad the trend has had a recent resurgence — this Zara version is perfectly cropped and basic enough to move from dressier looks to jeans. I’ve been wearing it everywhere lately, including this look to the Reed College campus.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Olive

These are some of my favorite olive-hued items right now:

1. F21 waffle-knit sweater, 2. F21 utility jacket, 3. Zara parka, 4. Zara bomber jacket, 5. Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses and 6. F21 knit beanie.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Olive

I wore: Zara bomber jacket, Banana Republic wool wrap skirt (very old), H&M socks and Dries van Noten wedges (2008).

Have a great Monday!

The Week In Pictures: 11.14.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Hey, how was your week? It’s been freezing here most of the week so I’ve been hiding out in my office next to a space heater, digging myself out of piles of client work….but that’s okay because Australia is happening in 10 days! I’ve never been to Sydney before and that’s our first stop. Seriously can’t wait.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Over the weekend, I walked through a new neighborhood and spotted this beauty of a car. If Blogcademy was in need of a company car, this would surely be it…though I can only imagine what a bitch parking would be. ;)

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’ve been in my office nearly two weeks now and I never knew how much of a difference having a dedicated space could make on my outlook. I’m excited to get out of bed every morning and go to work. It’s not that I wasn’t before but now, just having the routine of actually getting ready every morning (instead of looking like a creepy recluse) shifts my whole day. Pulling myself together, walking down the street and opening the door to my own space where I can watch the city go by gets my creative juices flowing.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

The highlight of my weekend was sitting in the lounge at Heidi’s, eating breakfast with my grandparents, Betty and Sharky. It’s hard to believe that they’ve been married for 65 years…and there’s no signs of them slowing down. My grandpa sipped a bloody mary as we all caught up on family gossip (always a good time). My grandparents are truly the sweetest people and I treasure each time I get to see them.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Over on the Branch-stagram, I started a new feature yesterday called #branchbooks where I’m sharing a must-read pick every week from my bookshelf. I hope you’ll follow along!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I’ll be huddled under blankets wrapping up last-minute Blogcademy things (we’re in the midst of redesigning our website AGAIN) and beginning the packing process. I hope you have something far more eventful planned!

Link Love: 11.13.14

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love: Antigirl

• What’s it really, truly like to feel the effects of burnout to the point that you have to quit your job and avoid the internet?

• Dealing with competition (and learning to be okay with it!) can be tricky. I’m loving Promise’s 5 part series on the subject. If you’re a small business owner, it’s a must read!

• When you’re trying to stay motivated, list making really does do wonders.

• 6 stretches for people who sit at desks.

• Did you know that there’s now an Ivy League college course called Wasting Time On The Internet? Haha.

• Now is a good time to start thinking about what you’re devoted to creating in the new year.

• This DIY slat wood bench looks like an expensive mid-century modern piece when finished!

• If you’re in need of a good laugh, check out when panorama photography goes wrong.

• Sorry I murdered everyone, but I’m an introvert.

• 5 ways to grow your blog without relying on Google traffic.

• I LOVED this podcast with Jen Gotch of Ban.Do. So much great business advice!

• How to backpack….without looking like a backpacker.

• The 3 most valuable traits that leaders have.

• These photos are so strange! See for yourself: the hidden mothers of the Victorian era.

• If you’re interested in scrapbooking as a way to record your memories, it’s not as expensive as you might think. Here’s a realistic list of supplies.


Image: Antigirl | Tiphanie Brooke.

A Weekend In Amsterdam Full of Flowers, Cheese, Stroopwafels and The Blogcademy!

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While in Amsterdam with The Blogcademy, we kicked off our weekend of teaching at The Thinking Hut, a rad building built in 1912 that houses a co-working space during the week.

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The decor in this space was off the hook — check out those colored cabinets! The Dutch have such a natural flair that I really admire.

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We had quite the international mix of ladies in this class, hailing from Belgium, Ireland, the U.S. and more. After teaching this class so many times in different countries, it always amazes me how similar we all really are when it comes to careers, blogging and relationships.

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To switch things up for this class, we pushed a row of tables together the length of the room and set up communal seating versus our usual rows. It turned out really well — everyone was chattier than usual (sometimes a little too much so!) and because of that, a lot of the girls walked away at the end with some great friendships.

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There was a huge supermarket around the corner from our Air bnb apartment (oh man, I have some stories of buying the wrong things because I couldn’t read the labels!) so we stocked up on lots of treats. Sugar for all!

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I fell hard for Padmini’s coordinated sweater and skirt set. Ahhh, so good!

Sponsors

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Thanks to our Amsterdam sponsors for the kick-ass goodie bag mix: Tattoo transfers by Hello Harriet, WordPress for Beginners books by Reeta Krishna, sparkly ears by Crown and Glory, branded pens by Go Promotional, tattoo transfers by Pepper Ink Vintage, paper decor by Strange Case, no-snag hair ties by Mane Message and notebooks by Veronica Dearly .

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Oh, and a special shout-out to Sketch Inc. for these fantastic notebooks. I still have a stash I’m happily working through!

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And finally, Cornela Blom is a goddess — she not only created this beautiful flower backdrop that was the ultimate conversation piece during class but also, corsages for all!

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Thanks to all the wonderful ladies who joined us in Amsterdam — I loved getting to know so many of you. And thank you for following along! Next up: Australia!


Event Space: The Thinking Hut.
Photographer: Kerry Murray.
Assistant: Sophie King
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Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

Welcome to Anatomy Of An Office. This series is dedicated to pulling together a functional yet stylish workspace with plenty of budget-friendly tips!

My first mission when I signed the lease on my new office was to find a simple shelving solution. I had a lot of artwork and books I wanted to show off but the biggest issue was that I knew I’d grow bored and want to change the selection out all the time — and it seemed rude to be constantly pounding new holes into the freshly redone drywall.

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

Joey is the Mister Fix-It in our household and had an immediate idea — why not take the extra door frame trim from a leftover remodeling project and mount it sideways? The genus part of this solution was that the thick, ornate trim already had built-in grooves which could easily hold my art in place. The last thing I wanted to deal with were frames sliding off and shattering!

There are plenty of pre-made shelving options out there but my issue was the strength — a lot of them are flimsy at best. With the weight of many of my books and art being an issue, we went this direction because the steel dowels placed in the studs are incredibly strong and could hold much heavier items than I’m showing in these photos without bowing or worse, ripping loose!

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

Directions: For this project, Joey started by drilling three linear holes into the wall studs and hammered the steel dowels into those. Once the dowels were in place, he mounted the shelves and secured them with plastic cable ties. In total, it took about a half hour and best of all, came in at less than $25.00!

Nubby Twiglet | Anatomy Of An Office #3: Incredibly Strong DIY Shelving For Under 25 Dollars!

There’s nothing like an quick, easy and functional D.I.Y. Let me know if you have any questions about the art on the shelves!