An Organised Life founder, Beck Wadworth has been a friend of Totem Road for some time now, previously styling her Sydney headquarters with some of our adored pieces including the Luxa Dining Table and Isabel Desk. At the end of this week (March 2023) Beck will be closing the doors on An Organised Life so we sat down with her to chat what's next and to find out more about how she stays productive when working from home.
Over the past 10 years, your stationery business An Organised Life has supported the ethos of being more productive and efficient, however AOL will close this week while you move into the next phase of life. Talk us through how that decision came to be and what’s next for you?
When I first launched An Organised Life in late 2013, my goal was to bring structure and organisation to people's lives through a curated collection of premium stationery products and journal articles. I wanted to give my customers the tools and resources to feel inspired, motivated, educated and ultimately organised. I feel proud to say we achieved this goal and I’m eternally grateful to our dedicated customers, community, stores, corporate clients, media, friends of the brand and of course my team, who have supported myself and the brand for the last 10 years.
Since moving back home to NZ in 2018, I have worked hard to run the business and team in Sydney remotely, however, entering motherhood and welcoming our beautiful daughter Isabella to the world in July 2022 was a pivotal moment in my life which has helped guide me to the decision to close the business. Motherhood made me reassess my whole life - my goals and my dreams. My priorities shifted and I’m excited to move in a new chapter of my life that will allow me, first and foremost, to be able to slow down and enjoy motherhood and to be able to put my energy intoMakespace and a new project with my partner Isaac.
It’s an amazing feeling to be able to close An Organised Life on a high.
Makespace is a brand that aligns with the Totem Road values - we love the concept of ‘everything you need + nothing you don’t’. What do you hope to teach people through the Makespace ethos?
Yes! The two brands align beautifully with their core values. Makespace produces pre-designed, architectural dwellings with (as you said) the design ethos of everything you need + nothing you don’t. We put a heavy focus on functionality, attention to detail and materials, all of which are crucial to creating our spaces successfully. Crafted locally in NZ and dropped in nature or in your backyard, our onsite consultations focus on landscape connectivity ensuring that the building fits within the surroundings (particularly rural settings at this stage), the modular spaces are then manufactured off-site at our Auckland or Christchurch HQ's and delivered to the customer, ‘ready to live’.
We want to teach people that you can live bigger with less. We put a lot of time into our floor plans which act as a base for our customers to build their dream home with and offer spaces that are 46sqm - 200sqm. Our goal is for the pre-built spaces to complement and connect with the surroundings and beautiful backdrops of the locations whether it be Great Barrier Reef, Te Arai, Central Otago or the Far North.
As the mother of a young daughter, how do you allocate your time between work and home life?
One of the main reasons I am closing An Organised Life is to give myself more time with my beautiful daughter and to grow our family. I went back to work full time when she was three months and it’s been the most difficult thing trying to power through work during her naps and to be a present mum when she is awake. I felt exhausted by the evenings and could tell it wasn’t something I could sustain long term. My number one rule is when she is awake I don’t work - I love to give her my all and really value that time I get with her.
What are your top 5 tips when working from home?
1. Make sure you stick to your morning routine
When you're working from home it's extremely important you create a morning routine as you would if you worked from an office. For example you might go for a walk, come home - have a coffee and breakfast, catch up on the news, get changed (yes, that's right - don't work in your PJ's!), check your diary, write your to-do list and prioritise it - start your day. This routine creates structure but also direction and focus.
2. Set your work hours
Off the back of tip 1, it's also a good idea to set your work hours. This might stay the same as your normal office hours or due to family situations or the flexibility of your industry you might be able to pick those hours. If this is the case it's also a good idea to identify when you are the most productive. For some it's in the mornings and for others it's in the afternoons. If you're a morning person, maybe you want to start earlier than you usually would at the office and knock off earlier so you can be present with your kids, etc. Everyone is different so make it work for you.
3. Create a dedicated space
If you have the space, I love the Isabel Desks by Totem Road, however it doesn't have to be a full on home office, just a wee corner or a space on your dining table that you can pack down easily in the evenings. There are no rules but having a dedicated space you can go to everyday will help you with your daily routine too.
Note: If you set up in a common area of your home - make sure you pack away everything at the end of each day. Trust me! Otherwise you will constantly feel like 'work' is right there and you're surrounded by it 24/7. It's good to separate personal and professional home life.
4. Utilise a to-do list & prioritise it
My top tip to organise your life, especially when working from home, is to create and utilise a daily to-do list. Jot down every single thing you need to do and prioritise your workload in a methodical way. This allows you to put everything into perspective, immediately reducing your stress levels and giving you a structured way to get through your workload. We love the satisfying feeling of ticking off each task throughout the day too!
Make sure you also prioritise your to-do list with a system that works for you – maybe it’s colour coding or it could be utilising symbols. Define your x 3 MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) and focus on these first, while your brain is feeling fresh.
5. Work in time-blocks & schedule breaks
Another great thing to do is to work in time blocks. One of the positives of working from home is that it does give you the flexibility to be able to do more of what you love rather than just being at the office 9-5.30pm straight. If you want to stop for a long lunch or a midday walk or a coffee/Facetime break with loved ones then you can do this. Just make sure you have divided your day into time blocks to ensure you get everything done. If you don't have anything specific to stop for, utilising time blocks is still helpful especially for scheduling proper breaks. For example I might do:
7am - 8am: Walk, coffee and get ready
8am - 9am: Emails
9am - 12.30pm: Top 3 priorities from my to-do list
12.30 - 1.30pm: Lunch break - catch up with a friend
1.30pm - 3pm: Tick off X, Y, Z
3pm - 3.30pm: Coffee or general break, sit outside on the deck for some fresh air
3.30pm - 5.30pm: Tick off X, Y, Z
Note: To take this one step further you can set alarms on your phone!
What are your must-have desk essentials
1. A notebook - for my to-do lists and to jot down notes and sketches.
2. A great desk. I have the Totem Road Isabel Desks at the office in Sydney and will be bringing them back to NZ as my desk at the Makespace HQ and at home! They’re beautiful and so functional.
3. A yearly diary - I utilise this to plan my schedule and daily movements for our family.
4. A signature scent - I love having a signature scent when I’m working - my current favourite is the Diptique Baies
5. Laptop - of course!
SHOP HOME OFFICE
While stock lasts, for every desk purchased you'll receive a free vegan leather notebook from An Organised Life.