Where I work…

Anyways, I was reading a post not long about how you needed a space that was inspirational in order to produce your best work. Given that I work from home – for both my day job and my writing – I figured that I’d audit mine along the same guidelines…and take the opportunity to show you around my office.

De-clutter your workspace and change habits that create clutter

Hmmmm. I tend to work in what I call creative chaos. I have, however, got into the habit of putting my books back on the bookshelf as soon as I’m finished referring to them. These days, I also spend 10 mins or so on a Saturday morning just tidying things up a bit so that I can start Monday with a relatively clean space.

I also do my bills weekly (instead of when a reminder comes in), and my accounts monthly (instead of the mad rush before we go to the accountants at tax time). I’m still hopeless at filing receipts and tend to have a massive purge of paperwork in July – just before tax time. You can see it all neatly (?) filed (?) above the files it all needs to go into in the pic below.

Remove or fix anything that’s broken

Ok, I do this…although I’ve got a MacBook charger that’s waiting to be replaced as a result of a close encounter of the canine kind. With the help of some electrical tape, I’ll get a bit more life out of that yet.

Anchor your purpose in your workspace

Also on the wall is a huge daisy picture by Garry McEwan about love. I’ve had it for years and look at it when I have the gloom and dooms and my creativity has got up and gone. To me, it says creativity and love. It also says:

Love is like a flower-

when it starts blooming in you,

you have to share it, 

you have to give.

And the more you give,

the more love grows.

If you go on giving,

a day comes when

you become a constant,

infinite source of love.

Place your furniture in the command position

Ummm no. Apparently, I should have a view of the door and a solid wall behind my back. My room doesn’t work that way. According to Feng Shui, this probably means that I’m not open to opportunity. Whatever.

Choose ergonomic furniture

Yep. That’s a big tick. I even have my laptop raised on a stand these days.

My desk is a heavy wooden one that I accidentally bought at an auction one time when I was looking for some dining chairs. It’s absolutely perfect for me.

And my “guest chair,” ie where Sarah plonks down when she comes in to annoy the dog, is a swiss ball that lives in the corner. So far it hasn’t been used for swiss ball type exercises, but the intention is there.

Something about fluorescent vs full spectrum light bulbs


Open windows

Yep all the time…except for when it’s raining. This is the only window in the house where the rain comes in.

Switch to all natural cleaning products

I’m an enjo user, so get a tick on this one too…

Reduce distractions

Trust me, I’m perfectly capable of creating my own. Having said that, I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated office with a door that closes.

Create a view

My view is of our pool – and a sleeping dog. That’s a big tick.

Bring nature indoors

If that means my dog, I have that covered too…her snoring provides the soundtrack to my day. It’s hilarious (to me) when I have to wake her up when her snoring is loud enough to be heard on my teleconferences.

On the plant stakes, while I do have a solar-powered daisy that bops along, I also have Sarah’s Epipremnum or Devil’s Ivy which is in my office for some intensive care. Beside that are a pair of jade elephants that my mother-in-law gave us.

What else?

On the art front, I have a series of three photos by Queenstown photographer Jason Law hanging on my wall – they’re there to remind me of the Routeburn Track (as if I need to be reminded) and the fabulous landscapes around Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki.

I also have some pen and ink pics – my fave is the music-listening fish. You can see it in the main pic. As a Pisces who listens to music all day, this represents me. Still to go up is the black and white Highland Cow Sarah bought me for Mother’s Day. It’s still resting by the door.

On my desk is a glass block photo of the Sunshine Coast hinterland near Maleny and the ceremonial bok choy that my boss brought me back from Malaysia one time – it’s supposed to be lucky or something, and in case it actually is lucky I haven’t been able to bring myself to get rid of it. Besides, I rather like its kitsch.

Another thing that stays on my desk is my Chinese fortune or chim sticks. I bought this set in Hong Kong at Shanghai Tang, and I love them to pieces. I’ll tell you more about them because they actually inspired my novel – which will be out towards the end of the year.

Behind where I sit is a bookcase – this one just has travel guides and food and travel memoir. On top of it is my Kiwi corner with some little blocks I bought in Queenstown and a few other bits and pieces of Kiwiana my bestie has bought for me over the years from Abstract in Cuba Street, Wellington.

What do you have in your office that helps your bum stay in that chair, and helps you produce words that make sense?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

28 thoughts

  1. Nice office, Joanne. And that chair, looks comfortable. I get a feeling of warmth looking at the photos of your room. Personal, lived in, not too perfect. Realistic. A great deal of warmth and character. Possibly like its owner

    Tears surfacing when I read the poem. Beautiful! You have inspired me to do something with my piles of paper (even though they are neat piles). I am now intrigued on the “object” you choose to share.xx

  2. Jo, I feel like I’m there in your office with you! I think many of us have an exercise ball stashed somewhere but the intention is there 🙂 I loved the tour of your room and the explanations of your little bits and pieces, so thanks for sharing the setup. By the way I also use Enjo products 🙂

  3. Great office Jo, and lovely view. I’m writing from various places at the moment. Sometimes my work desk, sometimes outside, sometimes the kitchen table. Fingers crossed we are putting on a study extension in the near future!

    1. I always love seeing where you work. I try and get out once a week to a park or something – but only if I’m not day-jobbing.

  4. Now I have a more 3D visual of where you are when you’re zooming. Love all your ephemera and the stories behind them all. I have an office with lots of bits and pieces in it – my husband refers to it as my version of the “pool room” so when I see something pretty he says “yes, that’d look great in your office” (man speak for please don’t put that anywhere I have to look at it!) Anyhoooo despite having my own space, I tend to do most of my online stuff on the dining room table where I can look out at the world passing by and the view across the road – it makes me feel less tucked away and isolated. Maybe if I had a pool to look at…….

    1. Thanks for the tour of your office. It looks very conducive to working. I’m sure I could sit there for hours. My office is up in the loft which I love as it’s very quiet with no distractions. My window looks over the treetops. #MLSTL

  5. Love the desk, Jo and your work space looks so cool … I am of course jealous that you have a lovely swimming pool. My own work space is great, but we are about to do a repaint, and a bit of a sprucing up. But I adore having this space and use it a lot … like now. #MLSTL

    1. On a beautiful day the pool can be a bad thing to overlook sigh… but it is a reminder that when I clock off for the day I can have a dip.

  6. Great and helpful post. Hopefully, I can take a serious look at the suggestions. I always want my desk to look like yours, but I am easily distracted. Now and then my goal is to get down to the wood. I like the idea of facing a door with my back to the wall, but the stuff would fall of my desk! Shared on my SM #MLSTL Michele

    1. Every so often the clutter builds up but these days I try and tidy every weekend. It helps keep me on track in the day job.

  7. Hi Jo, thanks for bringing us into your sanctuary; very inviting. I like the ‘command position’ when eating out, but not so much in my office. It’s kind of a nosey, people-watching thing, I guess. I have a few places around the house where I like to sit with my laptop. My mood and what I want to accomplish usually dictate where I’ll land. Since my daughter is living with us and working from our home office, I decided to ‘feminize’ that space a bit; light wall color, natural fiber area rug, and two upholstered guest chairs done in an offwhite fabric. Still looking for a suitable piece of art and a small table for between the chairs. When she returns to her own home, I will claim the space for myself. Looking forward to the story of how the chim sticks inspired your new novel. Take care.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I sit at the kitchen bench often with my laptop but for day job work I need the discipline of the office. I’m fortunate to have my own space.

  8. No wonder you are successful and disciplined. You have such a lovely space from which to work. My loft is full of things that make me happy or bring back happy memories. But my desk chair is a nightmare. It won’t lock in place so with one hand I am trying to hold myself straight at the desk while the other hand does whatever I am sitting at the desk to do. Kind of labor intensive!! If I don’t hold on, my chair will twirl the whole time. Thinking I might be more productive if I bought a new chair.

    Your art is so vibrant and adds such positive energy to your work space. And that pup is adorable.

    1. Somehow, yes, I think you need a new chair! And yes, the pooch is ean essential part of my room decor – she’s always there with me.

  9. What a beautiful space Jo. Can you come and create mine? LOL:) You’ve inspired me now. I have a lovely view to the hinterland from my desk but I’m still trying to find out how to house all of the cords for chargers, laptop, internet etc. I’m going to go through your list and try to make my office space almost as lovely as yours. Thanks for the inspo and sharing at #MLSTL. xx

  10. I just popped over from Picture Retirement and this post caught my eye. I am also fortunate to have a dedicated office but mine is in serious need of tidying up… it’s not messy, per say, just not as calm and attractive as yours. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m a new follower to your blog (and I see a few of my blogging friends have already found you).

  11. James and I have both been working from home. He works a typical work day, so he has been working from our office. My hours are flexible as I am a university instructor, so I generally take the kitchen table. My back is against the wall, but being so close to the kitchen is a bit distracting… – K

  12. What is better than a peak behind the scenes at someone’s working space?

    I have a serious case of envy looking at your bright windows and a water view! The only space I could carve out for myself is in the basement. The view sucks. Big time. But it’s my happy space in all its imperfection.

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