I will start by confessing, I am abundantly blessed when it comes to my personal work space. The crazy Queen Anne Victorian house we bought came with a single room on the 3rd floor. The rest of the 3rd floor is the attic. There were concerns when I claimed this 5th bedroom as my office. The stairway up is steep and narrow. It is so narrow that I come down the stair sideways with my backside against one wall and a hand on the opposite wall for stability. My desk was brought up in pieces and assembled in the room. Before moving in we painted the room a pale pink with deep blue trim. I love being up here. When it rains I hear it clearly. When it snows I feel like I am in a snow globe.
I am also blessed to be married to a tech wizard. For 40 years he has been on the bleeding edge of technology in the Silicon Valley. When he retired, we bought this house and moved away from the life we knew for a life with our grandsons and a lifestyle that suited this chapter of our story. He has set me up with a 3 screen extended display, Evernote scanner and Brother printer to support the custom built computer with all the software I desire and top speed internet.
My office is what makes much of what I do possible. I can spend hours researching, reading, writing and investigating the world without leaving home. I can organize the stuffing out of just about anything. This is where the work gets done.
For many, the idea of a solo office sounds isolated and lonely. For others, it is the dream. I am in the dream group. I need solitude and quiet to bring my efforts to their fullest. Like a diesel engine, I need a glow plug to get started and a good warm up before I’m ready for the road. It takes an average of an hour for me to start writing. By the time I edit, rewrite, reconsider and grammar check, even the shortest posts can take a full morning.
My biggest challenge is those stairs. In order to get to my office, I have to actually come up the stairs. Sitting down, firing up the computer and diving in is easy. I’m already committed. I’m already up here. It’s opening the door and transitioning from the lure of the tv, the comfort of my reading chair by the fire, the extra cup of coffee with my husband over the breakfast table, the freedom of not having to answer to anyone else’s schedule.
I set my own office hours. I am the only one I am accountable to. I open the office, set the tasks for the day, decide when it’s time for a lunch break and if I am going back to the office after lunch. I also am the one who would fire me.
You see, I know the long list of things that could be coming out of this office. I know the books waiting to be written, the projects and the goals, the courses of study and the courses to be presented. I know the connections and relationships I want to develop. I know the incredible blessings I have and with that comes great expectations and responsibility to be a good steward of those blessings. None of those expectations are external. They all come from me.
It’s not enough to have all the tools, all the time, all the freedom. I have to climb the stairs and do the work. That is where the joy, the reward, the fun is. It’s not in the having. It’s in the doing. It’s in hitting the “Publish” button. It’s in seeing the word count for the day pass the goal because I was so wrapped up in the story that the count was no longer the goal, the story was.
My hope for you this Monday morning, is that you find delight, joy and energy in your office hours. I plan to keep mine more faithfully.