How Breaking Old Habits Brings New Excitement

new office 2 new officeI reorganized my office over the weekend.

I know, I know – this is hardly earth-shattering news. But you all know how it is. I spend in the neighborhood of half my day in this room, between my day job and the writing career. To rework it after several years has a profound effect on my life. Plus, I like the change much better than I’d expected to.

See, the day after Christmas, I went online and bought myself a treadmill desk. All of you out there looking for those great articles about the DIY treadmill desk or the cheapie alternative? You will not find it here. Yes, I looked at all of those articles and people gave me great advice. But, in the end, I wanted a long-term solution that I could live with for my roughly half a day that I’d spend with it. I’ll do a post on my solution when it all arrives (not for several weeks), but the short version is that I’m getting a hydraulic desk that I can raise and lower, so I can either sit or stand or walk while working at it.

The new desk is significantly bigger than my current desk, so I knew I’d need to rearrange. Especially if I wanted to keep my window view, which was a high priority for me. Since I couldn’t have my new treadmill desk yet, I could displace that excitement into a bit of New Year’s new office energy.

Basically all I had to do was flip the furniture from one side to the other. Here’s how it looked before:

Storyboard 2My story board was propped on a little table to the left of my desk.

Writing deskAnd – well, it turns out I don’t have a good picture of the other side, but all my computer/day-job related stuff (printers, scanners, files) were to the right. When we moved in, I set it up that way because there’s a handy-dandy power strip along that west wall. It seemed logical to put all the plug-in stuff next to it. But the problem with that kind of thing is the power strip location drove everything else. Which turns out to have been not the best choice.

Part of this comes from changes in technology, but all that STUFF is now to the left of my desk, which you can see in the very top pic. The equipment is all smaller, combined, with fewer cords. I also like the serendipity of how the painting of the view out a window to the ocean kind of carries over from my real window with the desert view.

Now the corner is much more all about my writing face. I love how my story board is now right there – and I can swivel in my chair to see it and contemplate. (It’s set up for the Phantom e-serial now, so if the act structure looks different now – for those alert blog readers who notice such things – that’s why.)

I don’t know if it shows in the pictures, but the difference in the feel of the space, the feng shui, if you will, is startling. More, I find the change has stimulated me. See, habits can be good things. The terrific thing about habits is they carry us through tasks that don’t require thinking. Like learning to drive. At first it felt like ten-thousand things to think about – clutches, accelerators, brakes, steering wheels, turn signals, wipers, lights, fifteen-million other drivers in a mad whirl – but over time that becomes automatic. We can drive our entire commute without really thinking about it, which lets us pay attention to things like audiobooks. But this energy-saving feature of our natures comes with a cost – it’s easy to miss stuff this way. Who among us has not been driving down the highway and suddenly realized half an hour has gone by that we don’t remember? What did we miss?

Deliberately breaking a habit can bring new awareness and stimulation. Just being in my reversed space makes me have to think about where the phone is, where something is now kept. I feel excited and ready for new things.

Plus? Treadmill desk!

7 Replies to “How Breaking Old Habits Brings New Excitement”

  1. We did something similar when we moved back in after the renovation. E. used to have a very small and cluttered workroom while we had a huge bedroom where we did nothing except sleep. After we moved back in we switched it around and he now has a roomy workroom where he feels much more at home.

    1. What a great idea! We were just talking over the holiday about how big our master bedroom is – and it’s the place we spend the least amount of conscious time in. Kind of ridiculous, really.

  2. Hi, Jeffe! Great article. As I set up my new apartment, I’m thinking about a lot of these very things. No truly wonderful views but once I start getting the pictures up, I think it will work. Also, there’s an app on my iPad called Magic Window with some wonderful scenes in it. I’ve been using it for my alarm clock, so the only time I see those wonderful scenes is when I’m waking up. Hmmm, Maybe I should see if I can connect the iPad to a tv as a hdmi device… looks like I’ve got some research to do! Thanks again, and good luck with your treadmill desk! I am confused though… did you end up getting two devices? The treadmill desk AND a sit/stand desk? I like the thought of both of them, for sure!

    1. Love the iPad idea Karen! And yes, I found the best deal that gave me exactly what I wanted was a treadmill base with a box control that sits on the desk and then a hydraulic adjustable height desk, that lets me lower or raise it with a switch. So I can use one desk for sit, stand or walk!

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