Life, Work and Happiness

January 7, 2015

These three words summarize what 2014 brought me. I recalled how I felt at the same time last year. At that time, owning and living in a house that would be perfect for our family was only a dream. Then, we found a house perfect for us.

We became home owners in spring. Then, we renovated our home over the summer to fit our taste and our needs. Although I co-founded Sproutive last year, I devoted more time on the life side of the work-life equation. The process brought nice surprises. It’s funny how everything fits together sometimes when we work together towards a common goal.

Reframing our assumptions

The story behind my home office illustrates that fact. Since I work from home, having a practical and inspiring home office was on a must-have when we searched for a house. What I didn’t expect is that my office would again end up in the living room. I was keen on having a room of my own. In fact, this is what I get by using the living room of our split-level 60’s home.

What line of thoughts brought us to that conclusion? The process started because I wasn’t able to fit a couch in my office. My work involves many hours of strategy, planning and brainstorming. These tasks are best done by sitting on a couch than at a desk. But the bedroom assigned to be my office was simply too small to feel airy with a couch, a desk and a few storage units inside. With sadness, I gave up on the idea of brainstorming on a couch.

During that same period, my husband worried that when kids play in the playroom, they could hit his big screen TV. We needed something similar to the media unit we just bought for our living room but at a cheaper price point. Personally, what I didn’t like was that his computer area took space that we need for something else in the basement. I also complained that we spent all that money on new living room furniture but that we never use the living room even when we have friends over. We either entertain in our kitchen/dining room or spend time in the basement. After a few days, we had a lightbulb moment. We already had all the furniture we need; some pieces of furniture were simply in the wrong room.

home office :: work in progress

All these problems were solved by rethinking how we use three rooms. The bedroom where I originally planned my office became my husband’s office. We sent to the basement the media unit we bought for our living room. Then, we brought the L-shape sofa closer to the large window to make room for my desk. Because the living room is its level, I get the privacy that I want. Voilà! We are all happy!

We don’t hear anything. It’s so quiet here.

What else has changed in our move. The biggest change came from leaving the city after two decades. It’s a different beat but it’s totally worth it. I recalled what my husband told me the first night we went to bed in our house: “We don’t hear anything. It’s so quiet here.” I need that level of calm in my life. When I have moments where I feel less “in the know”, less cool, I remind myself that I feel much relaxed now. I need a calmer environment to be happy, to be creative and to focus on all the parts that make work-life integration a reality.

2014 was the year when I built the home of my dreams and when I figured out how to allocate time between my family, my life and my work. Now that we have found a good rhythm as a family, I can focus on accomplishing my business dreams. What about you? What are your goals for 2015?

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