Tag Archives: home office

Chaos Theory

FractalAbout two weeks ago, I had a bolt of inspiration…or maybe it was lunacy. By this I mean turn my household (including my home office) upside down and reconfigure the way I utilize my work and living space. Not that it wasn’t perfectly functional,  it just didn’t make sense anymore.

It all began last December when my son Will completed his academic curriculum and entered the home stretch toward graduation in May. He already had a full-time job, and since he no longer needed to spend school nights at his dad’s to be closer to campus, I suggested that he come to live with me in my spacious, two-bedroom apartment.  At the time, the logical choice seemed to be that I would incorporate my home office into the larger master bedroom, and he would occupy the smaller bedroom.

At first, I liked the convenience of my integrated office and personal space, but over time, as my son and I got comfortable in our daily rhythms and routines, it became clear that we were both cramped in too-small spaces, while an absolutely lovely 150 square-foot living room went virtually unused. It’s decorated in a Japanese motif, with shoji screens framing a sliding-glass door that opens onto a balcony overlooking a wooded ravine with a creek running through it. Truth be told, I’ve fantasized about making it my personal space since the day I moved into this place eight years ago, especially since I don’t do much entertaining at home.

So…in that moment of inspiration / lunacy, I decided it was time to deconstruct my world. I had no trouble enlisting Will in the process, and the following Saturday, we set about the task of relocating every object we own: clothing, furniture, artwork, books, office supplies, computers, televisions, appliances…absolutely everything. Of course, this would mean living (and working) in chaos for a couple of weeks until all was put to rights; but it seemed a small price to pay for the reward of more spacious living for us both.

The following morning, when I awoke amid a sea of boxes and dislocated furniture in what used to be my living room, my first thought: “Good Lord!…what was I thinking?” As a Type-A personality, chaos makes me cranky, even if I’m the one who created it. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m a firm believer in the divide-and-conquer method of task completion. My motto: I can’t do everything, but I can do one thing. And that’s what I’m doing…tackling the chaos one tiny task at a time until my well-ordered world once again approaches an entropy of zero.

CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.

The Two Apps I Can’t Live Without

By Amanda Smyth Connor312226_multitasking

I can multitask as well as anyone. I am neither more nor less gifted in this realm than the average person. However, once I have met and exceeded my limit for “activities in progress,” things get decidedly ugly.

Multiple embarrassing and messy situations begin to arise. My quality of work suffers. I tend toward general hysteria. And instead of approaching this situation with a level head, I continue to swirl within this ugly vortex of multitasking until everything blows up and I become a Looney Tunes character in the midst of one of those black splatters of ash post-explosion. Continue reading The Two Apps I Can’t Live Without

Searching For Writing Work?

I’ve been trying an experiment whenever I need to pick up some quick cash in the slow times. I try to find work in the most out of the way, unusual places. Just for laughs I have set up account at freelance sites I’d never otherwise bother with, like those places where you have to be the lowest bidder on work that pays peanuts to begin with? I’ve set up accounts on several for when the real work dries up.

Some of my fellow writers ask me why I bother doing this, and my reasoning is simple–I’m not in it for the work. I am actually looking for relationships with people who are willing to pay for writing. That first job offered on the bid-for-work sites may not pay you what you’re really worth, but when that client comes back to you again and again as a satisfied customer, that’s worth its weight in gold.

Continue reading Searching For Writing Work?

Top Five Productivity Enhancers

Every once in a while–like today–I find the need for an extra something to keep the work flowing properly. Here is my list of current productivity enhancers:

1. The “off” button on my phones.

2. A large pot of PG Tips tea. By noon, it’s all gone.

3. iTunes on “shuffle”. Alternatively, Adam and The Ants “Dirk Wears White Sox” on repeat and very loud. I’m old-school.

4. Laptop and PC running simultaneously.

5. Once-hourly breaks for NPR news or some other update.

The most valuable is the “off” button. “Dirk Wears White Sox” makes me write faster for some reason, and having the laptop and PC on at the same time lets me multitask even more…I run all media from the PC, e-mail and research on the laptop, and sometimes compose on both at once. I’ll alternate between blog entries and articles and sometimes submit two unrelated pieces of writing within seconds of each other. This probably qualifies me as a bone fide nut job, but I don’t care. So far, so good.

Feel free to post your own productivity enhancers in the comments section, the stranger or more innovative the better.

Office Star SPACE Collection


Once upon a time I worked as an editor in an office that used these Office Star 5500 chairs. I was skeptical at first–that mesh back didn’t look sturdy enough at first glance…but I’m happy to say I was wrong about this office chair. I spent many months in one of these and would be happy to spend many more–I just wish quality office furniture wasn’t as pricey as buying a decent printer! The fact you can write these purchases off is a major saving grace when it comes to pimping out your home office.

I’m very tempted to replace my not-so-old current model in favor of this one, for several reasons. The one-touch seat height adjustment is a plus, and the adjustable tilt and lumbar support are good, too. I have a big carpet remnant underneath my desk and the oversized wheels on the Office Star 5500 come in handy for use on non-tiled or hardwood surfaces.

Buy the Office Star 5500 Office Chair for $145.00

CribCandy: Ultra-Modern Home Office Bling


It’s true that when you’re struggling in the early days of the freelance game, you can’t afford printer ink half the time, let alone a sexy new office setup, but once you’ve established some good relationships with editors and made some headway in the game you can start replacing your rickety old gear. Enter Cribcandy, our new favorite home design blog. Check out this collection of home office upgrades suggested by Cribcandy, and start making a shopping list. Some of it is silly, some of it is irresistible, and items like the Mash Studios wall mounted LAX desk pictured above is too space-saving and efficient NOT to own. Cheers, Cribcandy…you’ve got some new fans here at the Freelance Zone.