When I started Get Rich Slowly in 2006, I wrote from home. (Well, I also wrote from work, which naturally caused some conflicts.) As the site grew, I set up a home office. Most of the classic GRS articles were written in that space.
Eventually, I outgrew the home office. Or, more precisely, I found that the home office didn’t work for me…because I didn’t work when I was in it. I played videogames or chatted with friends. Plus, my wife thought that if I was home during the day, I ought to be doing yardwork or repairing the roof.
After a year or so if less-than-ideal productivity, I rented an office space up the street from our home. For $335 per month, I got a dedicated space that was only for reading and writing about money. Sure, I sometimes lapsed and played videogames (I’m going to do that no matter where I am), but mostly I experienced the most productive period of my life.
In 2012, I surrendered that office space. When Kris and I got our divorce, I also went into a state of semi-retirement. I wasn’t really writing anymore, so keeping that space seemed silly.
When I started Money Boss eighteen months ago, office space wasn’t in the picture. Kim and I were in the middle of our RV trip, so I had to work from the road. (Or from our temporary home in Savannah, Georgia.) After we returned to Portland last June, I ran this site from one of the spare bedrooms in our condo. But that didn’t work so well. Just as when I was writing Get Rich Slowly, I found that I was too easily distracted by other things: Kim (when she’s home), the dog, iPad games, and so on.
“What I need,” I told Kim a couple of weeks ago, “is dedicated office space. I need somewhere I can go during the day and know that I’m going to work — and only work.”
I spent a few days scouring the neighborhood for available office space but came up empty-handed. There was one spot opening up in a building across the street from where we live, but it was roughly 300 square feet for an outrageous $2000 per month. If I was willing to wait until May, I could have a 75-square-foot spot in the same building for $500 per month. Nice, but still expensive.
“Maybe Kathleen will split a spot with you,” Kim said. Our good friend Kathleen Celmins lives nearby. She’s also an on-line entrepreneur. She runs For-Profit Blogging and Frugal Portland, and she’s a managing partner with the Stacking Benjamins podcast.
Sure enough! Kathleen was interested. And motivated. Within a couple of days, she’d found a space for rent in the middle of a nearby industrial building. Back behind companies that manufacture beehives and surfboard fins, we found a barren 150-square-foot hole with our names on it.
We signed the $500/month lease and are giving the spot a three-month trial. If all works well, we’ll book it long-term. (If things don’t work out, we’ll resume our search.)
I took a couple of days off mid-week to prep my office space. I installed the door hardware (something I’ve never done before, so it was fun), put down carpet tiles, carried over boxes of books, then squeezed my desk and filing cabinets into the Mini Cooper. By Friday afternoon, my half of the office was ready to rock!
I have high hopes for the new office space. I’m eager to enjoy undistracted productivity. Plus, I’m happy to have an excuse to walk an extra three miles every day. That ought to give me an hour of podcast/audiobook time. (Actually, maybe more than an hour. I intend to bring the dog with me most days; that should add an extra fifteen minutes each way.)
There will be two keys to actually becoming more productive here:
- First, I have to actually make it to the office. That shouldn’t be a problem. It’s close enough to home that it oughtn’t be a barrier to get here.
- Second, I have to refrain from unproductive pastimes while here. Specifically, no computer games. This might be tougher than you think. We’ll see.
I have a lot of fun stuff planned for Money Boss. Meanwhile, I want to begin work on a couple of other sites. To accomplish what I want to accomplish, I need to focus and work hard. This dedicated office space should provide me with the mental and physical space to do that. But only if I exercise discipline and self-control!