Kerri Ough - a work in progress...

My Home Office

When I’m not operating out of a minivan or from a hotel room, I am happily working away in my home office. It’s mine all mine: the only space I don’t share with anyone.

This is where I write, where I wrestle with receipts, where I practise piano, ukulele, banjo and guitar. This is where I draw and paint; where I send emails and update spreadsheets. I used to work in the kitchen, or the living room, and spread my papers all over the house. It was confusing and time consuming to gather my materials and move around. I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done for the third time in January, and decided to get serious about a home office and moved into the spare room upstairs.

Officially moving in meant investing in much-needed office supplies that were missing: an in-tray for my papers, an automatic labeller to improve my filing system (I highly recommend buying one if you’re thinking about it!). I decorated with art I love and brought plants into the room. It is now the only place in our house where I go to work. When I am in there, I am working. When I leave the room for the day, I am no longer working. These boundaries have made me more productive and the clear division between work and play has improved my “at-home” time with Brian. Having a space where I go to work, is also a cue for Brian to leave me be, until I open the door and rejoin the world.

This space is always in gentle flux and even in chaos it inspires me. There are pieces of me all over the room: dozens upon dozens of notebooks filled with my terrible handwriting line the bottom of my shelves, orange Gerber daisies brighten up my periphery today, pencil crayons, grouped by colour, rest in old mustard jars above my printer. After I snapped the photo below, I put my “smile-on-a-stick” in my pen jar to make me laugh when I get frustrated.

My keyboard and amp are set up behind me near the window and my acoustic instruments come and go depending on the song I’m practising. Above my desk and on the shelves to my right are photographs of my family and friends. When I lean back to sigh and stretch, I see my grandparents faces and photos of my nieces and nephews stacked three deep in some places. (It’s a cluttered mess, I’m now realizing looking at the photo below.) I have a few photos of Mom and Dad up too, and one of our family from 1985 as well as the last family photo we ever took in 2014. And at the moment, my favourite photo of Brian from Hawaii, bobbing happily in the huge waves in Maui, sits in a frame to my right. There is so much love in this room.

office vertical

I’m in here now completing my Morning Routine which consists of 30 minutes of writing (I use followed by 30 minutes of reading (currently reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones) and I’m about to dive into 2 hours of deep work before lunch (which today means practising and memorizing fifteen new songs for tour next week.)

I love my work and I love giving it a fighting chance to improve by building a place to do it well.



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