Garden at the Office

Two things I don’t like:

  • Pushing ink around on paper because I've scheduled an hour for some project that really I have nothing to say about right now.
  • Sitting in front of a computer for more than 40 minutes at a time.

Three things I love:

  • Writing by hand.
  • Moving my muscles while the project I'm working on unfurls inside of me.
  • Veggies.

In the summer -- which in Oregon I can pretend starts in March if I ignore the rain -- I move my office into the garden.

My garden gloves are part of my office supplies as much as my clipboard, pen, paper, and laptop are. And along with tea, and maybe a grapefruit, they all come outside with me.

My rhythm is: Work (writing, talking, designing) until it has all spilled out of me. Stop (as in stop -- don’t keep going. Stop.) And then Garden (dig, plant, admire) until a new bunch of thoughts begins to crest and tumble. Then find a page, pen, computer, whatever, and repeat.

Now, THIS is time management. Productivity, pleasure, sunshine (or rain-shine, with which I’m fine), exercise, and veggies.

This is my Office. Garden, trees, rain, swinging bench, occasionally a computer plugged into one of those long, orange extension cords that we use for the weed whacker. And the room inside the house -- the one with my desk and a door -- it’s part of my Office too.

When you create an office you have to start with how you really work. Your rhythms, what gives you pleasure and sustains you, your loves and stories all have to be built right in there along with the laptops and lighting.

So, try this. For a week Notice what you do. Notice all the actions that go into and support your work. Start with the obvious work actions. I make sales calls. I type on the computer. Notice then the invisible actions that you do unconsciously. I get up about a million times and make tea because my brain is empty and I need to get out of this chair. Notice the ally actions, the support actions that you do regularly to make it possible to get up every day and create. I walk in the park. I sit on the bench swing and listen to the crows. And notice the absent actions, the ones you wish you were doing. I wish I saw more plays because I know it changes the way I think.

Making room in time and space for all these actions creates an environment for your full workflow. It does not need to be contained in a box with a desk and a swivel chair.


We’ve got two cards this month: Support and Pinpoint.

Pinpoint is the card of specificity. Owning what is yours. What makes you unique. And what gives you LEVERAGE. We hear a lot about leveraging things in business. Your time, your FB ad, your new book. These are points of a deliberate strategy that let you move a mountain with a stick.

But we don’t hear as much about leveraging your SPACE. Your physical environment. Aka your office. When I identify -- OWN -- the fact that I think miles better when my hands are in dirt, and then leverage that in my workflow by creating an ‘office’ that uses that information to my greatest advantage, that is Pinpoint.

The other card, Support, balances Pinpoint because where Pinpoint goes small, Support goes Big. Support sees the World. (Pinpoint sees the detail.) Together they put your specific needs into a framework in which the world is there to support you. This helps you steer away from the dark side of Pinpoint, which is thinking it all rests on you.

The cards reorient how I experience the world. Before, I saw time in the Garden as pulling me away from my business. Now I see it as something that helps me work in ways that feel easier and spacious.

It's a generous way to live. And exactly how I want to feel when I garden at the Office.

Judith Tamarah
You are invited to a Fresh Look

If your office or workspace feels funky -- and not in the good way -- you can invite Judith to take a fresh look at your space and get insights on how to bring your office into greater alignment with Who You Really Are. Just ask.

Judith helps you figure out where your desk should go, what color to paint your walls, and all of the little details so you feel more at ease, totally at home, and completely held by your office.

She holds a Masters Degree in Interior Architecture at the University of Oregon and is certified in Design Psychology.

How does this deck work anyway?

I created a deck of cards that ‘reads’ our environments. It's still a little mysterious to me. How, I ask, can the cards 'read' the environment if they can't even 'see" it? However, they have proven again and again to be amazingly helpful in both creating designs for my clients and helping all sorts of people understand their relationship with their workspaces and home spaces in order to feel more spacious, free and alive.

In each newsletter I draw a card for all of us, to help us navigate the month ahead, understand what our collective environment is presenting to us, and suggest small changes we can make to our personal physical space that will support us in the coming month. Would love to hear from you if this card was helpful!

Make your work space as brilliant as you are.

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