BACK OFF, It’s Mine! 5 Ways to Make Your Home Office Space YOURS Again
Sharing is caring, but when they’re all up in your workspace, it’s time to kick them out
Today, we’re encouraging you to:
- Defend what is rightfully yours from the invaders
- Show everyone what you’ve got going on, so they won’t bother you
- Post the schedule for everyone to follow, at least in theory
- Keep ONE calendar, for everyone to see and not ignore
- Keep all those important things that always get lost in one place
Remember when your home office space was used for just that, and by only you? Then our world turned upside down, and your precious space was invaded. Whether you’re new to working remotely or just new to having extra company camping out where you are used to getting work done, in your home office space ... all the time, you’re likely facing challenges relating to closeness and clutter.
Change is hard, and when the novelty of the new situation has worn off (no lunches to pack! no busses to almost miss!) not-so-healthy habits can form if we are not vigilant. While behavioral scientists disagree about the exact amount of time it takes a habit to become ingrained, the general consensus is that 21 days is a myth, and 66 days is the more realistic timeframe. Sixty-six days, in shared office days, is a lifetime.
So relax! Chances are those new slobby tendencies you or your home-sharers are displaying aren’t set in stone. At least not yet. So, there is hope for reclaiming your home office space, and you can get there in far fewer than 66 days with some organizational and tactical tips. And a will of steel and the recognition that your office-squatters may not like you very much.
Kick them out. Seriously
Too much togetherness can take its toll on anyone. Trust us, we’re right there with you!
Separation is healthy and can give your spirit time and space to recharge. Sometimes, actual physical separation is required to make your point. If your once clear work surfaces are now covered in stacks of files and sticky notes, art supplies, dirty plates and glasses, and maybe even small children, it is time to lay down the law.
No more treading on your privacy and messing with your stuff.
No more random electronics squatting in the only free electrical outlets.
No more needless interruptions because some urgently needed item is nowhere to be found. (They just need to look harder – we all know that.) Actually, that may be promising the impossible, but we can hope!
The point we’re trying to make is, only you have the power to take back your space and preserve your sanity. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and have at it. These five steps are a great place to start.
1. It’s yours, so claim it
Wherever it may be, however large or small it may be, dedicate your space for work. DEMAND that everyone shows your space the respect it deserves. If you have a whole room and the interlopers can easily be set up elsewhere, enlist their help in doing so, especially if they are children.
If you have a desk, a closet, or a shelf and a chair, mark it as your territory (not as a dog would, because that would be going much too far). Just tidy it up and get organized. Create rules around what is allowed in your space and what must be relocated. Plant a flag, if you must.
Make a sign or two to show the lawless there’s a new sheriff in town. If you do it with humor, they may be more apt to comply. Or at least we like to think so.
2. Show them what you’re up to and what you want
Let them know you mean business by putting it right out there for everyone to see. While maintaining everything digitally has its advantages, there is intrinsic value in writing things down and displaying them prominently.
A wall organizer is the perfect way to keep yourself on task and let others know that you’re hard at work. Write down your goals and to-do items on your 1THRIVE Center so that they are clearly visible to you and those trying to invade your office space.
A large, visible to-do list within your office space works its passive-aggressive magic by reminding you (and sneakily, the unnamed yet intended party) what needs to be done. Write it LARGE. Mention under your breath that the larger the writing, the more disappointed you will be if your wish is ignored.
3. Be the time master
We know you know by now how important it is to follow a routine.
You don’t need an elaborate, Pinterest-worthy color-coded alphabetized masterpiece. (We’ve taken an informal poll, and those don’t last. Believe us.)
But there is real power in letting people know what is expected of them during certain times of the day. Even if they aren’t doing it, it’s all there, and you remove their plausible deniability when they try to blame a missed date or assignment on you.
There’s also hope that if they know what you need to do, they’ll leave you alone. Isn’t that the point?
This is where your handy wall organizer comes into play. A highly visible, strategically placed notice of work tasks and deadlines could prevent those awkward Zoom moments. You know what we’re talking about. The ones that expose co-workers to more of your home life than you would ever be comfortable sharing, or the tragedy of double- or over-scheduling (that could be a thing, again, someday).
4. Be aware of all those things you have to do, so you can make up some great excuses
The stay-at-home world will reopen, and there will always be birthdays and milestones and events to track. Put them all on the wall organizer and give a prize to whoever gets you out of the things you least want to do.
Keeping reminders for all household members in one visible location (in addition to or instead of a shared online calendar, because who really does that?) will make tracking events and important occasions much easier.
5. Maybe if the important stuff is in one place, they’ll know where to find it
Wouldn’t it be nice to get back all the time you spend looking for keys, bills, or permission slips (remember those?). Luckily, your 1THRIVE Center has plenty of space to stash your belongings. Hang those keys, file those bills and crucial notices, and gather all the working dry erasers in one place for good.
Maybe, just maybe, you could halt one or two interruptions in their tracks because NOTHING IS LOST.
Boundary setting just might save us all
You may struggle to really put your foot down, but mental health professionals agree that boundary-setting is a characteristic of a healthy psyche.
Guard your space! Your work area is not the household’s gathering spot. Kick out the squatters. Liberate yourself using the power of thoughtful organization and tell everyone that’s what you’re doing. It sounds much nicer than telling them to back off because you need your space.
It’s time to take command. And if you must command, why not do it in style, and it will hide all your aggression. Here’s your solution: 1THRIVE. We offer customizable solutions for managing the personal and the professional at home and will especially help now that home has become work and vice versa.
The Susan, for example, features a calendar whiteboard, a to-do blackboard, a corkboard, a file holder, and hooks, to start. It’s a socially acceptable, beautiful, and functional way to mark your territory, get to work, and THRIVE.
Check the 1THRIVE website to explore all 1THRIVE Center options. While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter, the 1THRIVE Corner, and download some free printables to start you on your organizing way.