Rituals and Rules and Safety (yes, again)

I’m in my ninth month of this role and just starting to fall into a morning ritual that works.  Ahhh, rituals.  I need them, yet I despise them.  Ritual is a much better word than rule, at least.

So I wake up, drink the coffee my husband hands me, head upstairs and do one of two things:

1. Work: email, planning, thinking, email.

2. Avoid work: Bones on Netflix, random web surfing, blogging.

When I just jump into working, my days go pretty well.  I still have a rather silly job (in the big scheme of things – it’s not like I’m growing food or saving lives) that’s often frustrating, but it’s bearable and almost-satisfying.

When I avoid working because I don’t have the answers I’d like/ don’t have the prep work I’d like/ don’t have the answers I like (repetition on purpose), I DREAD WORK.  With a capital D.  Dread.  Stomach roils with anxiety, emotional state plummets, attitude gets all victim’ed out.

And yet, I keep going with #2 when knowing full-well that #1 works better.  Strange.

The nice part about working with a team on the west coast is that I have a blessed few hours of quiet before things get busy.  As a non-morning person, I’d never experienced this.  It’s great.  I read email, respond to queries, and think through what needs to be done without anyone being in the office to bug me. Aaaand, at the end of the loooong day when I finally give up the working, I’m comfortable knowing I can do any needed prep work in the morning.

That is, if I actually start working at (cough) 9:00 am.


The thinking about rituals has me thinking about uniforms (costumes?) as well.  I feel more competent in heels and skirts.  Wtf?  True, though.  I feel like I can kick ass and make the world a better place when I click, click, click my way from one meeting to another.  It’s a bit Pavlovian since the click of heels means I’m on my way to a real meeting with real people (in the same real meeting room!), but hey, my dogs lick their lips when I say, “Inside!” even though they only get treats every so often anymore.

Perhaps the click of heels will trick my brain into work mode.

So I’m back to the whole “must make my home office not suck” thing I do every so often.  It’s silly, this idea that an office might turn my whole work world upside down (rightside up?) but I can’t manage to let go of the idea.  Maybe if my office was a little less craft room and a little more Office, bitches, of a woman with authority and competence and knowledge, I’d actually succeed.

Because I realized the other night that the successful periods in my career have all coincided with me working in a real office, a factoid I find completely terrifying since I’m living in Knoxville (not the bastion of corporate opportunity) and thinking about moving to the lake (ditto).


So, office.  Option A, Jenna Lyons’ nursery via Domino:

I love the contrast of the white walls and black (chalkboard paint!) walls.  The ceiling is super bad ass, but I won’t be painting my ceiling like that anytime soon, so would the room still work without it?  I’d paint my long wall in chalkboard paint (navy blue in my dreams, but that ain’t happening) and the other three walls in a bright, chalky white.  Desk would face the dark wall where I’d scrawl my goals and hang my awards (okay, maybe not the awards).  I’d consider dragging the alm0st-bar-dresser-thing up from the basement because it’s currently chalkboard painted and would be cute in the corner.  Oh, or this would sit in front of it:

I have a big table in the center of that room I’d paint with a coat of white lacquer (top only) and some bright red IKEA chairs for interest.

Option B, A Woman Works Here (I’m making this up in my head, bear with me):

Dark cement-gray walls, “pop-y” stuff within, like my bright yellow comfy chair and bright red IKEA chairs and orange arm chairs.  I love that wall color – warm and impactful and chick-ish.  Challenges: my floors are wood, not cement.  Lighting is a constant challenge for me.  Winter is approaching and my husband thinks this will be moody and depressing if not done right.

Hell, maybe I should paint the ceiling? *shoot me*  My husband told me to just pick one, any one, to get out of gridlock.  I’m still gridlocked, though, because I think to pick a paint color is to commit to a whole room.  I was watching Bones (yea, obsessed, shut up) and they were in a court room and I loved the dark gray-blue walls and wood so I started thinking navy blue curtains and wood paneling and crystal barware in the corner (helloooo, Mad Men) but let’s not kid ourselves.  I’m cheap, lazy and have houses to work on.  Spending too much time and money on this office just isn’t going to happen.



3 thoughts on “Rituals and Rules and Safety (yes, again)

  1. The ceiling will be easier to paint if you do thick, wide stripes instead of thin ones. I think you can do it, and it would look great!

    Also, I agree with you. The days that I jump right into work (i.e., not commenting on blogs at 9 in the morning; i.e., not today), I am more productive and like my job better. The other days, I avoid work from beginning to end. Sigh.

  2. I used to com in early (7am PST) and loved the quiet in the morning. I could bang out almosy half a days worth of work before the rest of the office trickled in by 9am. Now I’m in at 8:30 and I feel less productive. I avoid work because I know I’ll have hours in the afternoon to get it done.

    I love both options. I think you could do option 2 without it looking too dark. We have a grey wall behind our bed but used ALOT of white (other walls, sheets) and accented with black, grey and birhgt yellow. The room glows even in the winter.

    I think I’m more productive working in an open space with a big table.

  3. I go through the same thing with my home office (regularly!) Not only is it where I have to be able to get serious concentration work done, it’s small and it’s a side room for me to escape to if my husband has guests over and I don’t feel like tagging along (ie guy time). So it has to be comfortable as a lounge space and also functional and calming as a work space. Everyon once in a while I freak out and distract myself by re-organizing the space/cleaning/filing. I would do the chalkboard paint with white walls and let the items in the room pop with colour. I love that second colour too but I agree it’s pretty dark for a room that already has lighting challenges. Also, I still can’t say enough about how much more “ready to work” I feel when I’ve showered, dressed and gotten right down to it. Even if I take a break shortly after I start, I don’t linger on the distracting stuff.

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