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Erma Bombeck Vs Martha Stewart – How A Perfection Mentality In Your Home Office Damages Productivity

A few years after Martha Stewart became a star (before the prison gig), she could be seen on television in her immaculate maison, wrapping perfect presents with satin ribbon and decorating sugar cookies with all the flair of Degas.

I do not know how the family joke got started, but my mom took to referring to the Connecticut queen as “Martha F. Stewart.” Not to offend, but you can probably guess what the middle initial stand for.

Credit is due to Ms. Stewart for helping America reconnect with its neglected homes and discover that we could feather our nests and curl up into them. However, her inimitable style upped the ante for America's working moms, in particular, and thought on a good case of resentment and guilt.

I think that was what my mom was getting at.

Is Martha in your office?

I was talking with a client the other day who's been battling habitual clutter and winning. But when she mentioned that a small pile had developed on her desk, I could hear her voice get smaller and her energy shrank.

When I probed, she realized that her expectation of a clutter-free, functioning office was that it had to have nothing, nothing in it. Gleaming, ready for the photo shoot. Martha F. Stewart.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is, your office has to work for you, not the other way around. Your office is the place where you work – and work, by nature, is messy.

If you are in the middle of a project, it's only natural that you have on hand the supplies you need to complete it. It might look like a mess, but that's okay.

Something more like reality

I like Erma Bombeck. If you have not read any of her books, I highly recommend that you pick one up. Any of them. She used her wicked sense of humor to make poignant observations about motherhood, marriage, lost socks, and life in general.

Her philosophy, or so it seems to me, is that life is full and messy and you'd better find the funny in it so you can make it through. She made a point not to sweat the small stuff.

She's more my kinda gal because her attitude parallels my own approach to office organization and design. If your space is functioning for you and your business, great. You can always tweak what is not working, but do not chase after perfection. It will just make you tired.

Instead, find the love in your work, the fun in it, and make sure your space is functional enough to do it well. There's time enough for Martha F later.

Things to try

1. Inspiration:

If you surround yourself with talismans and images, you may not stop to notice them very often.

So, look around your office and locate things that are beautiful and inspiring to you. Then, take a moment to really soak in the energy and inspiration that they bring you.

2. Significance:

Find something in your space that anyone else might think ugly or messy, but is significant to you.

Maybe you have a project going that is your Next Big Thing. Congratulate yourself on having the vision to bring it to fruition (even if you have not touched it in a while).

Or, if you have some object or collection that reminds you of a special person or event in your life, pause to reconnect with that meaningful memory. These are the deep roots that give us courage to fly.

3. Gratitude:

Your workspace is a sacred container for your business. Take a deep, cleansing breath – and thank your office for supporting you.

Soak in the significance of having the space and tools together so that your business may thrive and help others.

By noticing the beauty and purpose of your office and its contents, you are nourishing and giving yourself the strength to carry on. What beautiful gifts you, in turn, can to give the world.

Categories:   Bedroom Ideas