Working Simply: How I Design My Workspace

When it comes to my workspace, I’m 100-percent clear what I’m after:

Quiet. Tidy. Simple.

This isn’t because I’m trying to be “minimalist.”

It’s because that sort of space brings me clarity. And ease.

It minimizes stress and distraction.

It helps me focus – and follow through – in a fully present way.


It makes room for receiving, creating, expressing.

  Cabin, porch, lake, mountains, sky, cats

Cabin, porch, lake, mountains, sky, cats

At present, this workspace is the main room of a small lakeside cabin.

My desk is “me-sized” and custom-made from reclaimed wood – a gift from my partner during our first year together.

On it sits my laptop. An extension of my workspace, this gets a weekly edit.

Digital clutter can be as stagnating as the physical stuff. Each weekend, I do a thorough tidying of laptop files, folders, to-do lists, images, downloads and such.

Behind my desk, against the entirety of the back wall, sits a hand-crafted bookshelf.

This same shelf once sat behind my teacher and mentor – the founder of the Chinese Medicine college where I completed my doctor training.

Its shelves are home to:

  • My favourite books (the only ones surviving rigorous edits of my belongings)

  • Binders of course material I now teach at the Chinese Medicine school

  • My gratitude journal, which I’ve written in daily since last winter

  • A hand-written list or “place mat” I create weekly, with mantras or places of practice, intentions or goals, and one or three top to-dos

  • One or two pieces of paperwork needing attention (I clear these off my checklist and shelf ASAP, minimizing physical, mental and energetic clutter.)

  • A portable speaker for listening to Alexis Ffrench (>sigh<) and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (lately)

  • The most recent card from my partner (one of my favourites yet – on its front: a drawing of a messy nest…ha)

  Desk, bookshelf, what remains of my book collection

Desk, bookshelf, what remains of my book collection

Sitting here, I’m surrounded by high wood ceilings. The wall in front of me is all glass windows and sliders opening to a wrap-around porch.

To my right is another large widow. To my left, a tiny kitchen.

My two Siamese cats are always close at hand (or in my lap), offering sage counsel.

I look up from my workspace to look out at water in two directions. That’s why I moved here.


It fills and calms me. It brings me back to what matters.

  Gratitude journal, currently reading, sage, messy nest

Gratitude journal, currently reading, sage, messy nest

Is my workspace perfect?

No. Truthfully, it’s a little louder than expected. Cars are always passing on the mountain highway, and though I can’t see them, I can hear them.

Often, I also hear the mechanical pump of my neighbour’s hot tub. (Thankfully, however, a large willow tree sits alongside my porch and cascades over the railing, blocking all view of the road, the neighbouring house and everything else.)

So, not perfect. But it is perfect enough. For now.

dana-leigh-lyons-woman-kissing-siamese-cat

And you?

What three words describe your workspace?

Is it what you most want and need?

If not, what three words describe your *perfect* (or perfect enough) space?

What’s one small, simple thing you could do to move in that direction?

I’d love to hear – please share in the comments!

kootenay-lake-cabin-nelson-bc

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