I Created a Tiny Office in My Bedroom, and Here’s Why You Should, Too
One of the things you’ll hear repeatedly if you’re new to working from home is that routine is everything. People will suggest that you keep to a regimented schedule, just like you would at an office. They will say to make a designated work space and to use it consistently. People will suggest that not adhering to structure will make you less productive or less successful. As someone who has successfully and (mostly) productively worked from home (and for myself) for more than a year, I’m here to tell you that’s not always true. A designated workspace? Great. Rigid rules to stress over? Not so much.
When I first started working from home I, too, thought a perfectly organized daily schedule and routine was going to be key to my success as a full-time freelancer. This also meant that when I inevitably worked from bed for a morning or slept a little later than usual, I felt like I had failed—that I somehow wasn’t working as hard as everyone else with traditional office jobs. Without even realizing it, I had set myself up for failure by believing that working from home had to look a certain way.
So I let myself figure out a schedule and routine that worked for me naturally, even if it didn’t look like everyone else’s. It took a little trial and error, but eventually I landed on something that worked for me and, more importantly, allowed for flexibility. This is why when COVID-19 happened and a lot more people started working from home, readjusting my routine not only felt necessary, but it also felt natural. I was used to adjusting and readjusting my habits as I needed. Despite the fact that I was used to working from home, I knew I needed to switch things up about my day-to-day work habits.
Unable to frequent my weekly coffee shops and cafes that usually broke up my day-to-day schedule, I knew I needed a change of scenery. Enter: the bedroom office. There was a time in my life when the idea of working from my bedroom would have made my skin crawl. It’s the one place experts always say you shouldn’t bring your laptop or take work calls. I had limited space to work with though, and a desperate need to carve out a new, refreshing space that I had never worked in before. I wanted sunlight, space, and silence, and the only place in my two-bedroom apartment that happened to have those things available was my bedroom. So I hauled my tiny desk up to a corner of my bedroom, set up my laptop and charger, placed a small notebook on the table, and got to work.
I didn’t have to fully decorate my little bedroom office (pictured above), mainly because the placement of my desk allowed me to use a few of the design elements already at play in the rest of the room. The corner of my carpet provided a nice, cozy pop of bold color underfoot, and the little shelving setup right beside the bedroom doorway, already home to a collection of books, framed photos, and plants, would be a perfectly acceptable Zoom “work” background should I need it. I added a candle and a small Windsor chair with mid-century modern legs to the mix and called it a day.
Part of me expected this setup to last a few weeks before eventually being disregarded and becoming a place to pile up clothing. Instead, it’s been more than 100 days since I set up my tiny bedroom office, and I still use it daily. While I welcome the day when I have the corner of my bedroom open again, and I won’t have to dodge the sharp corner of the desk every time I make my way to my dresser, I am also thankful for the change of scenery. It was exactly what I needed to avoid the Groundhog Day-like routine of quarantine. Although it’s not perfect, this setup has allowed me to have moments of peace and focus when I needed them most.
If you’re thinking, “Tech isn’t supposed to be in a bedroom,” or “I could never work in my bedroom,” well, I would encourage you to throw those “rules” right out the window. Instead, remind yourself that the only thing that matters about your workspace is that it allows you to get work done in a way that’s as stress-free and efficient as possible. If that means you have to work from a patio chair on your porch, under a weighted blanket on the couch, or in a tiny office space you made in your bedroom, then that’s what it takes. Despite whatever you’ve been told about what’s “acceptable” for an office space or what’s not, if a certain environment allows you to feel your best and get your work done, then guess what? That’s as successful a work place—and day—as any.