5 Tips for Creating a Work Space When You Don’t Have an Office

Living in a one-bedroom apartment is great for the money, but terrible for space. Merge two people’s lifestyles into that space, and there’s little room for anything extra… like a desk, and especially not an office.

With so little room for dedicated spaces, it can be hard to find a conducive work environment. Sometimes, you need to be creative to find a space that works for you. For around two years, I had to work out of my living room. Now, I have a small office set up in my bedroom. Though not ideal, these are solutions that work for me right now, and they just might work for you! Here are some tips for creating a shared office space.

5 Tips for Creating a Workspace When you Have no Office | Rose Colored Water #office #career #workfromhome

 

1. Clear the Clutter

When your space is cluttered, it’s hard to focus. Keep things simple. It’s easier to look around, breathe, and focus. When working out of my living room, I would clear out everything that wasn’t a natural part of the room. Every morning, do a quick tidy up. This goes for your bedroom too. I carved a small corner out of my bedroom to work from, and it is simple and clean. Too many random items will distract from your true purpose.

2. Look for Natural Light

Working in natural light is good for your well-being. Seriously! They did a study on it! Why wouldn’t you want to work in wholesome sunlight anyway? Open the windows, pull the blinds, and take in some nature, even if you live next to the street as I do!

3. Use a Coffee Table

Without a desk, it can be hard to keep everything you need organized and in close proximity. Having a coffee table can help relieve some of that stress, as it functions somewhat like a desk if need be. I had my friend build a massive coffee table for my living room so I can lay out all my paperwork, coffee, pens, and electronics.

4. Put Some Music On

Nothing sets the tone like music. Whatever your work jam is, your makeshift office won’t be complete without it. I like to listen to Spotify’s jazz playlists, such as Coffee Table Jazz and State of Jazz. Find what works for you and dance into your work zen.

So, are you stuck without an office? How do you work? Have you tried any of these tips?

8 Tips for Surviving a Cold at Work

Last week was miserable for me. Monday, I had that feeling. You know the one – it feels like you might be getting sick. Tuesday, I was sniffling and blowing my nose. Wednesday was a full on head cold. Thursday, it was all over. I only made it through a half day at work. I could not keep my eyes open.

It was horrible. Every year, the cold gets me, no matter how healthy I try to be. I was LESS healthy than usual this year and far more stressed. Thankfully, my cold only lasted until Friday morning, and by the afternoon, I felt almost chipper.

In a perfect world, we could all stay home and snuggle with our pets during the cold/flu season… but this is not a perfect world. So I felt it my duty to give you my tried and true tips for making the sick times at work more bearable.

8 Tips for Surviving a Cold at Work | Rose Colored Water #career #sidehustle #success

1. Pump Yourself Full of Vitamin C

It doesn’t really matter how you do it. Drink orange juice, eat oranges, chew vitamin C tabs (they taste great), or make green smoothies. A green smoothie is a great way to boost your overall immunity to sicknesses, in general. This will help shorten the life of your cold.

2. Take Meds

I know not everyone is keen on this, but it is a survival tactic. Taking cold meds may be the only way you can push through the day. My go-to is Alkaseltzer Cold & Flu. Whatever floats your boat, take them. Sometimes, it’s the only thing to keep your head from exploding while staring at a computer screen for 8 hours.  Also, take the night ones – preferably right when you get home, so you can sleep as much as possible.

3. Have Lots of Soft Tissues

When I’m sick with a cold, I blow my nose a lot, so I take a whole box of tissues to work. If I didn’t have a super-sized box of Puffs w/ lotion by my side, I would freak out. And please splurge. Just get the lotion kind. Your nose will thank you.

4. Sanitize and Repeat

Unless you want to be treated like a leper, carry hand sanitizer. No one wants to be near the files the sicky just touched, so do everyone a favor and sanitize.

5. Eat Soup for Lunch

Chicken noodle soup/broth is your best friend. Is this an excuse for Panera? I think so.

Drink hot liquids to help fight a cold.

6. Hydrate

This is the key to killing any cold. Drink lots of water. If you hate water, drink OJ or tea. Just keep drinking all the day long.

7. Do Important Tasks Early

The longer you’re at work, the worse you’re going to feel, no matter how hard you try to be jovial. Do the hard stuff first, then focus on mindless tasks in the afternoon. This will make surviving the afternoon slump a tad easier.

8. Try to Take Off Early

Sometimes, you just need some extra time to recoup. If you can survive most of the work week, a half day isn’t going to hurt anyone. Sometimes, it’s just what you need to kill the bug.

Do you have any other tips for surviving sickness while working? 

How to Embrace the Freelance Life

How to Embrace the #freelance life. | Rose Colored Water #sidehustle

Ahh.. the freelance life. I am already freaking out about it. I’ve had one offer come my way, and trying to manage it with the rest of my life is overwhelming. I woke up at 5 this morning, but that was counteracted by an oncoming cold. I’m not miserable yet, but I feel it coming on.

I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve been thinking about how I want to manage my time and my life with added work outside of my job. I’ve said it before, but it can be hard taking care of a man and dog, while also trying to fit side hustling in. So, I need to get my priorities straight. I’ve made a list of how I’m going to do it. This could help you too!

How to Embrace the #freelance life. | Rose Colored Water #sidehustle

1. Get healthy.

I have been so tired lately, and I know it’s because my eating habits suck. I drink way too much pop (though I have cut back), I eat junk food all day long, and I hardly ever drink water. My vegetable intake is low, not because I hate vegetables, but because I fill my stomach with bad food. That’s a recipe for disaster and sickness! It’s no wonder I’m fatigued. I’ve started taking a B-Complex, and by started, I mean I swallowed one today. I hope that this will grant me a tiny bit of added energy.

I’m also going to start making green smoothies again. I bought the goods last night, and while I didn’t take time to conjure one up today, I am definitely doing it tonight.

2. Prioritize

I am terrible at this. I worry so much about the apartment being clean that before I know it, I’ve spent the entire evening doing dishes, laundry, making dinner, and mopping floors. I enjoy that, so it’s hard to shut down and focus on side work. In the mornings, I do the same thing, or I get lost in Facebook. EHHHH. Wretched FB! From now on, I will have a to-do list every morning and evening, so I know exactly what I want to accomplish.

3. Get Organized

Somewhat like priorities, staying organized is the key to a successful side hustle. I am an organized person, but because I’m new to the freelance life, I’m struggling with what needs to be dealt with first. It’s a real struggle. From here on out, I’m taking it one task at a time. Once that’s completed, I can cross it off my list and never look back.

4. Keep Reading

I have at least 30 articles bookmarked about freelancing from all my favorite successful bloggers. I’ve skimmed them, but I need to reread and soak up their knowledge. I know that learning from others will be key to my success.

5. Work Faster

This rides the line with staying on task, but it is so important when you’re working “two” jobs. I have to be fast and efficient. I cannot become distracted by the interwebs. Gotta stay focused. Laser sharp.

This is how I’m embracing the freelance life! Also, I forgot to include, drink more coffee!! What do you say? What other tips can you give me in your own freelancing experience?

I Shaved My Head Once…

Black and White Bald Photo

And it was one of the most liberating things I have ever done. Even though October is almost over, I want to reiterate what most of you already know. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’m not going to regurgitate the stats you’ve already heard. You know them. The risks are real. The chances of having breast cancer are high. Check yourself. Watch out for lumps. Live healthy.

Ok. Now that we’ve reiterated that… you may be wondering why I shaved my head. It started as just a whim. It was one of those things that kept popping up in my mind, and I would push it back down thinking, I could never do something like that. What would people think? One day while in college, I was sitting with my friends, and we were talking about Breast Cancer Awareness month and the volleyball game our school was having that night to promote the cause. It was called, “Dig Pink.”

I said, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if I shaved my head?” I believed that they would laugh and say yes, that would be insane, but they didn’t. They supported me! Though I brushed it off, after lunch, I went back to my room with my friend and grabbed the scissors. I cut a huge hunk of hair off the top of my head and said to her, “Now there’s no going back.”

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthI continued cutting the long parts off while she started shaving the back with my Venus razor. I never cried over the choice to shave my head. The first days were actually easier than the later months of regrowth. It was such a relief to have finally completed something that I had always considered doing.

The Journey

Women tend to hide behind their hair. It has long been a point of beauty. Long hair is seen as lovely and feminine, while women with short hair, or none at all, are often viewed with sad, pitiful eyes. When you’re bald, there is nothing to hide behind. My family freaked out. I received many awkward glances and secret stares, but I also gained huge support. There were several different responses from people who didn’t know me. I couldn’t imagine how it would have felt if I had actually been fighting cancer – to deal with that AND everyone else’s feelings towards you. I don’t think that’s what cancer fighters want. They want to be treated with dignity and try to retain some sense of normalcy in their lives.

I was asked if I was sick several times, but that was what I wanted. I wanted to remind people that while I was not sick, there were thousands of women fighting a battle incomprehensible to us.

Hair is JUST hair. It will grow back. Choosing to shave mine off gave me a truer sense of self, and helped me relate to an entire group of people going through real problems. It made me grateful. I reevaluated my priorities. I can’t really describe the emotions I went through. There were different stages during regrowth that I questioned my choice, but I never regretted it.

Reflecting

I reflect on that experience often, and it always makes me rethink my stresses and “first-world” problems. I’m thankful for my health and my ability to go to work every day, even when I don’t want to. Every day, thousands of women wish they could be normal – have a job, tend to their children or spouse, and go out with no fear. Yet they can’t because their immune system is too weak and they’re fighting for their life.

Shaving my head and putting myself in their shoes, in this tiny way, opened my eyes to something I knew nothing about. I still can’t relate, but I have a better understanding of how it feels to lose one of humans’ most defining characteristics. I became a better person. I gained confidence, patience, and empathy – all things I struggled with as a 20-year old girl. It reminded me that life is always beautiful, whatever the struggle.

The Mall in New York City

I’d like to end this post with a poem I wrote during the regrowth. I am no poet, but it was for a class and I recited it for an open mic night in college. It was the closest I came to crying through the entire experience.

An Ode to My Hair

a trying trek we trudge each day
my darling thin haired head
but what you’ve done for me, I pray
fewer words cannot be said

you pushed me in without a doubt
and told me not to care
what other fools may scream and shout
if they even dare

it’s hard to say what might have been
had I stopped to think a bit
my gutsiness kept running thin
I almost lost my wit

I grasped my locks of strawberry blonde
scared to let them go
never had I broken such a bond
that took so long to grow

I grabbed the scissors in my hand
to begin the daunting chore
down they fell, each little strand
followed by more and more

like paratroopers off to war
they dove like missiles down
screaming as they hit the floor
distressed to leave their crown

I cringed and cried with weepy tears
and breathed a relieving sigh
I overcame my biggest fear
and gladly waved goodbye

I broke through walls I’d refused to climb
to prove a point to all
hair will grow with passing time
but life is far too small

for someone else to say what’s right
it’s pointless, you will see
don’t stand down, take the fight
be all that you can be

 

 

Dog Vomit and the Exceptional Power of Baking Soda

If you’re anything like me, your four-legged companion is your best friend, secret keeper, and comrade in all things dangerous. Therefore, when they feel bad… You feel bad. Though I loathe when people call their pets their “babies,” that is what Motley is to me. He is like my child.

How to clean up dog vomit with baking soda

So when he vomited four times in four different places on my new living room carpet, I was upset and concerned. This happened about 45 minutes before leaving for work. I was stressed and running late, and the last thing I needed was to clean up dog puke. I believe despair was the exact emotion I felt at the time.

I had no Woolite pet stain remover, which is a great carpet cleaner for pet messes, so I was at a total loss on how to clean this carpet. Then I remembered everybody’s favorite household cleaner… BAKING SODA!

If you’re in a bind, this is what you can do to make sure your carpet looks (and smells) like it never even happened.

Step 1

Remove as much vomit from the carpet as possible. Use whatever you have to – old rags, paper towels, etc. You want to get all the chunks up.

Step 2

If the vomit is wet, you’re in for a good time. Try to soak up as much liquid as you can with paper towels. This is where the baking soda comes in. Sprinkle the baking soda onto the leftovers. I put it on heavy because I wanted nothing left behind. This will dry it all up.

Step 3

Wait until dry. This is the hardest part. You have to give the baking soda time to soak in. I was in a hurry, so I went ahead and vacuumed it up. If you can help it… DON’T DO WHAT I DID. Leave it for at least 30 minutes. If you vacuum it up too soon, you will have wet soda clogging up your vacuum, which is irritating to clean out later.

Step 4

If you waited the appropriate amount of time, go ahead and vacuum up the baking soda. You may find that the carpet is still a little wet. That’s okay. Just throw on more baking soda and repeat the earlier steps. I tried to brush the soda deeper into the carpet roots to make sure I got ALL the nasty dried up.

An alternative pet stain/odor remover-baking soda and Dawn

Step 5

I don’t know if step 5 is necessary, but I did it anyway. I put a teensy bit of Dawn dishwashing liquid (not the kind with bleach) into some hot water and scrubbed the vomit areas after I vacuumed over them for the second time. It made me feel better about the germs. Rinse the area thoroughly.

Step 6

Once the area is dry, vacuum one more time to make sure no remaining ickiness is left. I also took an old, dry rag and scrubbed into the carpet one more time to break free some crusty baking soda in the roots. There will be some down in there if you have shaggier carpet. I’m pretty sure I got it all up.

This should remove all the odors and make your carpet look good as new. Some of the areas looked a little more frayed after all the scrubbing, but you can’t tell if you’re not looking for it. There is no carpet discoloration and no bad smell. I wish there had been some Woolite carpet cleaner in the house, but alas, you take what you can get. I can say that this method works, though it can be a hassle and time-consuming.

NOTE: I wasn’t able to complete all of these steps before I went to work, though I was able to do most of them.

Let me know if you ever try it. I’d love to hear if it worked for you as well as it did for me!