How to Create a Home Office That Inspires

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Leigh was a single mother with a stressful job and two young children. After attending Making a Living Without a Job, she knew that self-employment was the answer for her. She quit her job,  purchased a vending machine route and tripled its sales within two months.

Once that was in order, she started her next profit center, buying and renovating houses. Not only did she find that she was spending more time with her kids, she also got them involved in her business as much as possible.

One day Leigh and her children went to visit a friend who had moved into a large new house. The friend took them on a room-by-room tour of the house proudly showing off her new home. When the tour ended, Leigh's 5-year-old daughter looked at her  quizzically and said, Mom, where's the office?

Color, personal objects, music, incense, fountains, and toys are apt to be part of the new entrepreneur's decorating style

Leigh's daughter is not the only one who assumes that a home should have an office. Glossy magazines now feature layouts of slick home offices. Builders of upscale homes are including an office in their plans. Trendspotters tell us that this work-at-home lifestyle is not a passing fad.

Designing Your World Headquarters

Whether your workspace is a studio, a rented office or a card table set up in a corner of your bedroom, efficiency is only one of the requirements. Your working space needs to be inviting, a place where you function easily surrounded by things you love and find inspiring.

My friend Karyn laughs about her first home office that was a mirror image of the corporate workspace she had abandoned. No wonder she had a hard time going there and getting her business launched. Today her office reflects her witty personality, including the life-sized Elvis Presley cutout that guards the entrance.

It's obvious that most of us do not duplicate the corporate cubicle look when we set out to design our personal working space. Gray and gloomy may be an appropriate backdrop for corporate workers, but home workers like to spice things up a bit. Color, personal objects, music, incense, fountains, and toys are apt to be part of the new entrepreneur's decorating style.

Create Good Energy

Feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, is an old technique with a growing number of modern followers including both large and small business owners. One of my favorite recommendations from the feng shui masters is to get the new year off to a prosperous start by greeting a new stranger every day for 27 days. (You'll probably have to leave your office in order to accomplish that.)

Here are some other suggestions that are easy to implement:

  • To invite opportunity to knock, fix your front door. Allow no squeaking, sticking or wobbling door knobs. To further your opportunities, unblock doorways and remove stored items from behind doors.
  • To support your vision and commitment, sit at a desk that is spacious, allowing room for the expansion of your ideas.
  • To call forth a clear vision, hang a brass chime just inside your office door. * To think creatively, hang a mirror to the right and to the left of your desk.
  • To cultivate good luck, place fresh flowers in your office.
  • Place your desk facing the door with the back to a solid wall rather than a window.

Chances are you're reading this on your office computer. So take a look around. Does your office reflect your power and vision, or does it resemble a junk room with a desk? Are there objects, pictures and words that lift your soul? Is it easy to find things or do you waste precious time going through piles of papers?

As Steven Pressfield points out, a professional seeks order. He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind. He wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.

Does entering your office make you smile? It should, you know. This is your laboratory, your creation center, your idea place.

So listen to Vivaldi, light some incense, get a fountain, paint the walls terra cotta, hang a poster from your favorite movie, or decorate with whatever brings you joy. It's a one-of-a-kind creation and you're the beneficiary. Make it both beautiful and useful.

Barbara J. Winter is a gypsy teacher who has taught thousands of adult learners throughout the US, Canada and Great Britain. She considers classrooms to be her natural habitat.