1. You don’t really have one.

You think you do, but the corner of the catch all room or the dining room table will not work. Create a space for you to work. A space that is clean, clutter free, and all yours. It doesn’t have to be big! It doesn’t even have to be a room, but it has to be a place where you are able to “escape” and focus. I have always sacrificed a formal living room or dining room for my office space. If I have to work at home, I must have a place conducive to productivity!

  1. You’re not a home office kinda person.

My husband is a pastor, and because we are still a mobile church, the entire staff shares a loft area on top of a relative’s garage. That’s right, more than a dozen people cram into this space to “work.” Needless to say, it’s not a place that provides the proper atmosphere for studying, so each of the pastors get a study day at home. Kent CANNOT work from home. He will tell you himself when he tries to, he ends up eating all day and falling asleep if he sits down for any amount of time. It just doesn’t work for him.

If you find yourself constantly struggling to accomplish anything, feeling miserable and lonely, or unable to focus, a home office just may not be the right work environment for you. Quit trying to stick a square peg into a round hole. There are so many ways to fix this – yes, even if you have children at home. Chick-fil-A has a playground, french fries, and WIFI; what more do you need?! Truthfully though, it’s better to get an hour of focused work time in an environment that energizes you than to force yourself to try to be productive in an environment that drains you!

  1. It’s distracting.

I know I know, you’re a creative and you like messy chaos. I totally get it. However, just because it doesn’t make you uncomfortable (like the way it gives me itchy hives and heart palpitations) doesn’t mean it makes you productive. Just because you’re okay with the mess doesn’t mean you’re able to do your best work in it. If I’ve learned anything coaching people on productivity, it’s that organized looks different to different personalities, and that is okay! Just because my way is clutter free and pretty doesn’t mean yours has to be the same.  But if you find yourself jumping from task to task, or forgetting what you were even working on to begin with, you may want to take a look around. I think a good rule of thumb is the actual surface of your desk should have nothing on it but some pens and whatever you’re working on at that moment. A messy bookshelf won’t kill you, but keep that desk tidy. It’s hard to get distracted by nothing…

  1. You have way too much storage.

Yes it’s possible to have TOO much storage. All of America struggles with this need to have stuff. Did you know less than 30% of us park our cars in our garages? Do you know why? Because there isn’t room! 3000+ sq foot homes and we can’t fit our cars in our garages.

The same goes for our home. We have home offices that are out of control. We watch the decorating shows and purchase the home organization systems, and all it does is give us more places to hide things. If you have more than one file cabinet, you’re doing something wrong! If you have multiple book shelves holding anything other than books, you’re doing something wrong! If your desk drawers are so full that you can barely open them, yep, you guessed it, you’re doing something wrong!

So many people “fix” their organization issue by cleaning out their little hiding spots every so often, but within days, they’re filled back up again. Purging your storage areas is a great place to start, but what will really make a difference LONG TERM is to actually get rid of the culprit of your mess, i.e., cute baskets, extra shelving, decorative file holders, etc. If you don’t have the space to be a hoarder, you’re less likely to be a hoarder!

  1. Girl, it’s ugly.

Cue the angry emails from your husbands.

I’m sorry but the cuter a space is, the more I want to be in it, and the better work you will get out of me.  

When you wake up and it’s pouring rain, cold, and dark, is it harder to get moving? Do you choose yoga pants and Uggs over that gorgeous little jumper and heels in your closet? Of course! Atmosphere changes us. The elements change us! They change our mood, our level of effort, and our motivation. Why in the world would you think that an ugly, drab home office would inspire your best work? If you’re staring at four white walls and sitting in a lawn chair at the desk your in-laws passed down to you five years ago, it may be time for a makeover! And no, you don’t have to break the bank, but a fresh coat of paint and a few Target accessories will make a WORLD of difference in your ability to work efficiently and with excellence. I promise!