A Field Trip to Office Depot

I found these lovely little items in the bay area at…wait for it…Office Depot in Daly City.  See, where we live, we don’t have an Office Depot, so it was pretty exciting stuff for me.   While we waited for our table to be ready at Koi Palace (my first Dim Sum experience…amazing), I danced up and down the aisles of the Office Depot around the corner, reveling in the different brands of office supplies. No really, you can ask my husband. This is exactly what I did.

I ended up with this sophisticated file holder, which is made out of recycled materials, and a lovely maroon color in person.

I also grabbed some of these delightful bird silhouette file folders to go in the case. Because after we chose our wedding invitations, which led to our birdcage wedding décor, I’ve developed a soft spot for stylized depictions of the creatures (but not brood of pigeons that live right on the eave above my window. No, not them at all).

Photo by Anika London

I must admit that the quality of the folders isn’t that great, and none of their cuteness is exposed while they are in their case, but I did have fun organizing all of the articles I’ve saved for this massive research project I’ve been working on, and now I have everything from the past few months all in one place.  Hooray!

By the way, the paper is on Huckleberry Finn incase you’re wondering about the file names

Home Office Inspiration

I wish I could remember where I got these photos, but I don’t.  At some point I’ll get better at this blogging thing, but for now, here are two photos of home offices that motivate me to improve my work life:

I love the idea of being surrounded by books and inspiring objects while I work.  I also love the bed-like couch because, let’s face it, sometimes I tend to be a “stay in bed” worker.

This workspace appeals to the neat-nick in me.  I love the labels, the color coordination, and the clean lines.  Have you noticed that neither of the desks in these two photos are pushed up against a wall?   I wonder what that says about the people who use them.

What kind of work spaces inspire you?  What do you think your work space says about you?

Birthday and Officemax

So, I realize this makes me the dorkiest of dorks, but on my birthday (today), I went to Officemax and bought myself a sweet cork board/white board for above my desk (and now I’m blogging about it, which takes the dorkiness to a whole new level).  But who cares!  It’s my birthday and I’ll buy office supplies if I want to!

Since this board now lives right above my desk, I’ve decided to use it more for inspiration than for messages.  The white board side will be a list of my goals, and the cork side will be for bits of visual inspiration.  Originally, I wanted to hang a painting above my desk, but I feel like this is better way to appeal to both the linear and creative aspects of my personality.  Plus, it’s a classic, but chic backdrop that can be easily changed with different moods and whims, which is perfect for a commitment-phobe like me (seriously, I don’t know how I made it to the altar).

So, here it hangs, a blank canvas just waiting to be bedecked with inspiration.  I even tidied up for the occasion.  The only thing is, I had to put it a little bit off center from my desk because of how the spacing of the studs are in the wall (which, by the way, turned into a saga involving my husband and brother in law both trying to teach me how to use an electric drill, level, and tape measure.  I don’t see a job in construction in my future). I have these two prints that I had intended to put above my desk before I got the board, and I thought they might be a cute way to balance the rest of the space.  What do you (literally you because I think there may be 0 to 1 person who reads this blog) think?

By the way, I bought the bird print here

Oh, by the way, I took all of these photos with my delightful new camera that the best husband in the world got me for my birthday.  Isn’t it cute??  I love it and it seems to be quite functional as well, definitely better than the i-phone I was using (which is what I used to take this picture of the camera).   I love my husband!

Balance

Do you ever have those mornings where you wake up like a Disney princess with the smiling sun nudging you from peaceful slumber while singing birds tie ribbons in your hair as you whistle a chipper morning tune?  Yeah, me neither.   Most of my mornings consist of me rolling out of bed too late because I stayed up too late, and then rushing to make it look like I might have showered so I can grab a coffee before work and (hopefully) only be 5 minutes late.

It wasn’t always like this.  There was a time when I actually woke up early (like, really early) to work out for 45 minutes, and then arrive at my 9 a.m. class full of energy.  I wrote a chapter a week, did a crossword every day, and was generally happy, despite a distinct lack of social life.  What happened?

Now that life is busier, I am realizing that I suck at time management.  Despite my deliberately working three part-time jobs to give myself time to devote to other projects, I am left feeling like I have no time, or at least that I waste a lot of time because it takes me so long to re-focus myself after work.  I am not working on my book, or my blog, or any of the other numerous things I told myself I would do after graduation to the standard I want to.  This has been making me irritable, and frankly, kind of a bitch to be around.

Enter, my good friend. She works a 9-5, and told me the advice she got from her father, a very busy man.  She said that every day after work, she forces herself to do some kind of physical activity that marks the start of her “away from work time.”  Sometimes it’s the gym, sometimes it’s a Pilates class, and sometimes it’s just a walk or a short hike, but every day, she devotes at least 45 minutes to clearing her mind of work.  How simple, right?  What common sense.  I needed a ritual, a small, daily thing that told me that it was time to focus on my own work, the work that is meaningful to me.

So, today after work, I took a beach walk.  It was originally supposed to be a beach run, but we’ll get there when we get there.  It was beautiful, not too hot, a little windy, but perfectly for a contemplative walk.  I got about half way down the beach, when out in the surf I saw dolphins!  Tons of dolphins flipping and playing so close to shore you could probably swim out to them if you weren’t afraid of the water like me.  I returned home refreshed and ready to work. I did at least a little bit of everything on my list, and even managed to squeeze in a crossword and some laundry.  This will mark the start of a weekly un-wind post, or the balance between work-work and life-work that is often overlooked but so important.

The Nest

It’s time for me to come clean.  I have a nest. At least, that’s what my new husband calls it.  Really, an assortment of papers, scarves, books, and half-full water glasses that has accumulated next to my bed and slowly crept outward to fill the space in front of one wall of our room.  It’s gotten so bad, we’ve actually named it: Er-nesto.

Ernesto is more than just a physical manifestation of my laziness.  He’s my anxiety about commitment, my need for control, and my fear of loss all rolled up into one messy little package.  Basically, Ernesto symbolizes everything that keeps me from being a more productive human being.  The solution is simple: Get rid of Ernesto.

My pathetic attempts at filing

You’d think it would be easy for me to do this.  After all, part of my job is managing somebody else’s nest, and I do that with relative success. I’ve got all of the boxes and files I could possibly want or need, and I even have an empty bookshelf waiting to be assembled and filled.

What does this mean?  It means that evicting Ernesto isn’t a matter of buying the right things, or reading the right books. It’s a matter of a full lifestyle change.  What better way to start a full lifestyle makeover than by publicly declaring your intent to do so, right?

I know there is an organized side to me. It’s the part of me that loves grammar and straightens all the pamphlets on the counter at the coffee shop.  But, the truth is, I associate the neat with the boring, and I’m terrified of tidying away the messy, creative, absent-minded professor I envision myself to be.

My goal is to teach myself how merge the functional with the stylish.  To develop an organizational system that works for me and keeps me productive, but doesn’t make me feel like someone who would carry around an umbrella in Paris (if you haven’t seen Sabrina, you must—Hepburn and Bogart version, of course).  I suppose we’ll see what happens, right?

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