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Your desk matters.
The environment where you put your desk matters.
You can work anywhere and get really creative with how you make a space work for you.
But, pay attention to where you consistently make trade-offs to make do with your desk, your notebook, your room, and whatever else is in the environment where you work.
You are great at figuring out how to do good work wherever you are and with whatever the tools are at your disposal.
You’ll do your best work if you figure out what environment and tools are best for you and bring out your highest contribution.
Episode 113 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 1 13 desk matters. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Mm hmm. I’ve neglected to do podcasts these last few weeks. And I have a little guilt because I have been so consistent creating episodes each week. Or at least recording a few at a time and having them go live each week that I do have moments of shame, guilt, irresponsible feelings associated with not doing the podcast. But I decided it was too much. I was trying to balance travel a lot of visitors and very little private space and I thought it’s okay. No one’s going to miss a podcast, but I do miss doing it myself. And I wanted to make sure that I got back on today and started creating episodes again because I certainly have a long list of topics. In fact, I had this little notebook I was carrying around and I was transferring notes from it to a larger notebook and I was shocked that I had four or five pages of podcast ideas listed in that little notebook, along with lists in my online Evernote account and list and emails and all these things that I slowly brought together. While the same time going forget, trying to bring it together, just record all of them. Keep creating this body of work of ideas and stories and insights that I enjoy sharing in the process of being in so many places. I am more aware of some of the needs I have related to doing good work. I have a desk that I love to work from and it’s not actually a desk, it’s a table because even though I talk about desks a lot, what I have in my mind as a desk may not be the same as what you have in your mind. In my mind I actually picture a large table or a standing desk which is pretty much a table that’s high, okay you usually don’t have drawers or anything like that in standing desks and I absolutely love standing desks and I do not have a standing desk right now. That is a goal of mine for this year though because I have higher productivity with it and along with a standing desk, I prefer a director’s chair, so set a little higher and so I can choose to stand a kind of subtly sit down. It’s kind of adjustable, right? So it could be like low to the ground, like a regular desk or it can be high up. So you could sit and work at the standing desk. But I’ve also noticed that having a desk isn’t enough for me, I need to have an environment where I don’t hear everything everyone else is saying. So if I were to sit at a desk in a coffee shop, I would probably be fine because it’s background noise and conversations, that kind of thing. But when you’re in someone’s home or in a space where there’s only one other person talking, it’s very easy to get distracted. And for me, it actually blocks my ability to think because somehow I get focused on what they’re saying or not saying. And then I find myself working on very mundane administrative tasks that my brain can handle and I don’t get to doing the good work. Along with that. I’ve noticed that you get creative if you don’t have the right space. So for me, creative means I go to the car with my stuff and I try to record the podcast. I’m recording a podcast right now in my car so that I can have a nice sound booth and privacy. But I also take notes in the car. I also attend certain meetings in the car. I do a lot of things in the car that helped me with my work. It’s not preferred, but it’s an option, right? You get creative if you really want to do good work. But the carrying in and out of things means that some of your tools can get damaged or there’s more likelihood of an accident happening. I think I shared an episode months ago how I used to do the podcast in the car and somehow that back and forth and transitioning and everything. I think that my podcast microphone got ruined. And I think that’s very interesting because I just decided to use my headset going forward, which I’m using right now and this still works even though it’s technically more delicate if you look at it right, there’s a thin wire, there is a couple pieces, one going into the laptop, one going on my head connected to this little black box that I can carry. It’s a Samsung P. X. D. One if you want to look it up. So there’s all these trade offs we make with our work and as I’ve been making these trade offs the last few weeks as I’ve been traveling and working in different places and none of the places have been hotels, so I haven’t had that benefit, but thinking about how I’ve been doing this for years, my building was contaminated where I worked, so I’d find other buildings to work in. So I always had the backpack or the computer bag and was loading things and I would load things in and out of the car trips across campus to different buildings and that kind of thing. I used to have meetings in my car at work because you could get the wifi in the parking lot, I would try to close the door at times, but if you close the door, that meant more bad air was coming into a small space and it didn’t matter because people would still knock and that kind of thing. And then of course there’s cube farms where there’s no sense of privacy and you can hear the buzz of everyone else’s conversations and I thought, wow, it’s so amazing that for so many years I have gotten creative and tried to operate in these different spaces to get work done and in some ways it’s probably helped my work because I haven’t gotten stagnant, I’ve always had to seek out something new that meets my needs. But I’m starting to pay attention and say, okay in some ways it does help. But in other ways I’m constantly in a position of slowing down the momentum and the constant interruptions that really inhibit me from pursuing certain options and to think about what I can do to design my workspace in a way that honors my needs. And I started to look at all these experience and go, what are my needs. And I realized that some of these needs are things that I was suddenly aware of in the past, but extremely cognizant of right now, I need privacy. I need to know that I’m not being listened to. I need to know that I’m not listening to others. I need to have a standing desk and a director’s chair. I need lots of sunlight. I need to have a space dedicated to the work where I don’t need to take my materials in and out based upon another use of the room or another person’s schedule. I know a lot of people are bootstrapping it right now and starting a business or in just doing business from home when they used to work in an office. And it’s tempting to think, oh, I’ll just use this corner of the kitchen or this corner of a bedroom or that kind of thing. And that may work temporarily. But I encourage you to think about what you really need to do your best work and to take slow steps toward securing that space, securing enough money to buy the thing that will help you offer up your best work to situate yourself in a way that your mind is at ease so those creative juices can start flowing. One of the actions I decided to take earlier today was to pursue the next dream. And part of that is thinking about, what kind of office would I love? And realizing that I’m someone who would rather have small bedrooms in the house and have more practical living spaces and working spaces that were larger rather than have a very beautiful large bedroom that I’m never in except to sleep, right? So you start to look at space in different ways and go, how would I really use this? What do I really need to do my work? What do I need to change up? And when I say I want more or different space? I don’t mean I want more things in it. I just want more space, more privacy. And that’s not something you find on Pinterest, right? These are things that come to your mind as you work and you feel like they’re constraints and you try something different and you decide, okay, I have a special list for myself of things that I need and I’m gonna make it happen because if I work, I’m making that happen, I’m positioning myself to serve and to grow and perform in ways that I have not been able to in the past. You can perform really good work regardless of where you are and what materials your provided, you’ll get creative, you’ll find solutions. But in that process I encourage you to pay attention to what could be improved in your environment toward making this happen. It matters. And even though I talk a lot about changing your mindset or looking at things in different ways, I understand through experience that sometimes you just need to change some things in the environment because you’ve done a lot of work on your mindset and no matter how much work you do with it, you realize there’s no reason why you shouldn’t change your environment. There’s no reason why you can’t have the standing desk. There’s no reason why you can’t have a room with a window or without a window. There’s no reason why you should refrain from buying the $30 notebook because maybe you’re just someone that loves great paper and a great pen. And you have excitement when you write down your creative thoughts in a special book and you don’t have to give a reason why you just like it. And because you like it, you show up better to your work and it seems simple, but you offer better work from that point. Your desk matters how you feel when you work matters. My sister said that a few years ago, she spent some time learning about Fung shui and when her husband was out of town on business for a week, she decided to fung shui his home office space. And this involves putting little trinkets or little money or flowing water or their pictures in the right place of relationships and wealth and productivity and family and that kind of thing. And some people may think that does not matter. But he made more money that year than he had ever made before and he performed very well in his work. So who’s to say it didn’t make a difference. There are some of you listening that spent a lot of time making sure you have a beautiful home, a wonderful car to drive and nice clothes to wear and make sure that your surroundings look beautiful and to you, I’d say pay close attention to what you’re purchasing and why you’re purchasing it. Are you doing it because you think it looks great in the catalog or because someone else has it? Are you doing it because you have decided out of all the things, those things actually give you the kind of energy and feeling you want to offer up your best life and work. And there are some of you that on the other end of the scale that you are so minimalist that it’s almost like you quash some possible desires to have a beautiful space or you say, I’m not going to spend money on that. That doesn’t matter. And I encourage you to do the same thing. Look at what you have and love it because you’re so good at simplifying and you’re so good at not spending extraneous money on frivolous things, right? But are there things you can do to your space, rearrange it, purchase something? Think differently about the room you’re using or the desk you’re using or the chair you’re using or the notebook that can set you up for offering up even better work and have fun and joy while doing it. Who is that lady? The declutter lady Maria Cuando, I think her name is. I may have pronounced it wrong, making sure that you set yourself up to have positive emotion before you even offer those ideas in your head or roll up your sleeves and do that work is important even if you have a dirty job, right? Even if you’re a mechanic or in construction or the plumber, what things can you do in your work environment to bring more joy satisfaction? Positive energy to your work. It matters. You show up differently if you have created a space for you to come to your work with the right attitude. These are just some thoughts from the desk. The desk matters, but so does the environment that the desk is in. Take a look at your environment today. Mix it up a bit, start paying attention so that you can offer up your best work. I promise. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye. Mhm. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com. Mhm.