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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?


On the hunt for even more office tips and tricks? Check out Anatomy Of An Office!

Latest & Greatest #29: Succulents Paired With Unique Planters

Nubby Twiglet | Succulents Paired With Unique Planters

Have you mastered the art of caring for household plants? I haven’t! I’m totally guilty of having a black thumb — even ornamental grasses seem to die under my care. The ongoing issue is that I often travel for weeks at a time and naturally, when I get home, my plants are long gone. I’ve since turned to collecting succulents because most varieties need very little upkeep.

Nubby Twiglet | Succulents Paired With Unique Planters

To celebrate these new additions to my office, I picked up this great set of head planters. The boy sits one the far right of my desk while the girl sits on the far left. I have a bit of an obsession with white ceramic body parts so these are fitting right in!

Nubby Twiglet | Succulents Paired With Unique Planters class=

The funny thing is, I thought I’d finally solved my dying plant issue…but then Chubs came along! He hangs out with me in my office all day and guess what? Every time I turn around, he’s chomping down on my plants. And honestly, squirrels don’t take “no” very well. 😉


Your turn: Are there any new additions to your house or workspace that you’re excited about?

The Week In Pictures: 8.29.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

How was your week? I’m just getting around to posting because I had the best possible detour today — brunch with Alexandra and Sarah. Our conversations seamlessly flipped from one subject to another and along the way, we covered wrestlers with eccentric costumes, budget Vegas shows (complete with neon body paint), the faded glamour of midwestern supper clubs and the art of dressing up for a J. Lo concert. I haven’t laughed as hard as I did today in ages. The whole time, I was reminded of how important friendships are — friendships where you can just be yourself, cut loose and have a great time without snapping a single photo or picking up your smart phone. I left feeling excited, refreshed and ready for the holiday weekend.

As soon as I got home today, I had Joey snap this photo in our back yard. It still has a long way to go but it’s the perfect spot to hang out in the middle of the day when my office leaves me feeling restless. My dress is by Dusen Dusen.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Organization to the extreme is my favorite pastime. I’m working on a post of my top office must-haves soon.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Chubby update: he’s grown a ton and now has a rope swing, platform and ladder in his squirrel house. Movin’ on up!
Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This week, I paid a visit to the ultimate virgo mecca, The Container Store and picked up these great clear drawer organizer trays. Simple and effective.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the Doug Fir and hang out with bigfoot on the back patio! It’s their 10th anniversary this year so he’s rocking a fancy new necklace.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’ve always said that the best conversations in Portland happen late at night around the Doug Fir fire pit. Every time I’m there with my friend Joey, we end up meeting the most interesting mix of folks. Their bar menu is great, too. I always order the homemade mac and cheese and finish up the night with their seasonal fruit crisp. Yum!

I’m looking forward to taking it easy for the holiday weekend, catching up on boring stuff (like laundry) and doing plenty of barbecuing. Have fun!

The Week In Pictures: 8.22.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Hello again! How was your week?

I’ll be honest…since I’ve been back, it’s been full-on catch up mode around here. Putting together timelines for new jobs, getting my accounting caught up, long coffee dates with friends, birthday parties (the big 6-0!), squirrel sitting and backyard barbecues (we finally got one and are using it nearly every day!) have left my days feeling really full. As I say, work hard and play hard! I feel like the first half of this year got off to a really slow start but things are finally picking up steam and I’m excited to release a bunch of new projects for both Branch and Blogcademy over the next few months.

I stopped into my absolute favorite place to shop, Buffalo Exchange yesterday and found this vintage orangey-red felt hat (above). The thing is, my office is a bit of a distaster at the moment so when I got home, I sat on the floor facing my windows, pulled a white curtain behind me to block out the messy background…and the curtains draped awkwardly, cutting off part of my hat! Haha! Didn’t quite go as planned but I ended up liking the negative space.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Chubby has been doing so well this week. He’s now drinking out of a bottle and has grown a ton. Joey also built him the equivalent of a squirrel mansion (seriously, his new “house” is massive) and he’s able to keep his balance much more easily while walking.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’m always on the hunt for visual inspiration and like to stop into a variety of places. I love Pastaworks for this reason. It’s a European-style market with so much great packaging I’ve never seen before.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Coffee dates with Pam: always high energy! She’s one of those friends where we get so excited chatting about design and projects that we keep talking faster, faster, faster! Haha.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

One of my favorite houses near Hawthorne. Best paint job on the block!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This is a peek at my desk right now. Black felt-tipped Stabilo pens are awesome — I use them to cross items off my to-do lists (I hand write them every day). I thrifted that mug 10 years ago, my new phone case was found at a shop in Berlin last month and the Rodin lip balm looks and works great.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I also wanted to say thank you to those of you who’ve picked up the new Home School modules. Seeing your still lifes pop up has been making my day! I especially love Angela’s photo! xo

The Week In Pictures: 8.15.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

It’s been an interesting week getting settled back into home life, to say the least. Last Thursday night, I flew back to Portland from New York and was met with a new bundle of joy. More on that in a minute!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

Since I got back, I’ve been in full-on cleaning mode. There’s nothing like a few weeks away to remind you of how little you truly need in this life to be happy. After a night of rest, I flung open my closets and piled up all the unworn clothes and shoes I could possibly muster letting go of. Next, I went through my desk and flat files, making another giant pile of donations. My office feels so much bigger and relaxed now.

I’m a big fan of the mentality of “out with the old and in with the new.” Get rid of what no longer serves or suits you and fill your life with less, but better made things. One of those new-ish, better made things I’m liking are a pair of Tieks — the perfect jolt of color for my mostly black and white wardrobe.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

A lot of you have been asking how Chubby is doing. If you’re wondering who this little guy is, you can read more about him right here. When Joey found him stuck in our furnace last Tuesday night, his eyes weren’t yet open and he could barely walk. A little over a week later, he’s holding onto the syringe of formula when we feed him, walking pretty well and of course, climbing like a champ. I’ll let you know how things progress.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

I was in Amsterdam a week and a half ago and when I got home, this Anthropologie catalog, shot entirely in Holland was waiting for me. The photos are gorgeous and remind me of those few magical days. If you’re curious, that’s a Crown and Glory crown hanging on the edge.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

At The Blogcademy in London, The Bathory blended these limited edition bath salts for us and our attendees. Isn’t the packaging cool? I’m exited to finally be home where I actually have a bath to try these out. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

Speaking of The Blogcademy, it’s been a busy week behind the scenes as we put the finishing touches on four new Home School segments. I’m really excited about the topics we’re covering and will share more with you next Wednesday.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

I have the biggest design crush on Jonathan Adler — his mid-century modern aesthetic is right up my alley (and he did the interior of my favorite hotel, The Parker) so when this candle arrived from his assistant, I about lost my mind. Such a strange, bold piece and I can’t get enough of it. Ahhhhh!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be catching up on work, squirrel-sitting, and helping my aunt celebrate her 60th birthday (she’s like a second mom to me so it’s an espeically big deal). It feels so good to be home.

P.S. Thanks again for all your sweet, helpful comments and advice about Little Chub-Chub, I really appreciate it.