As a self-employed person one of the most important qualities you must have is discipline. Time management. The ability to prioritise.
Which is why I spent the first three weeks of my freelance life on a quest to find The Perfect Desk.
‘If I’m going to be spending my days at a desk I want it to be a nice desk. A happy space where I want to spend time,’ I told my husband.
Which is a perfectly fine rationalisation, if you set aside the fact that I’ve spent the last eight years sitting at grubby desks, in grubby offices, where there has been little-to-no effort to Feng Shui.
Desks made of dull plastic; grubby, sticky, dusty desks, covered in piles of paper and plastic cutlery, books and magazines which may never actually get read; desks with drawers stuffed full of receipts and snacks and corporate notebooks. Very Uninspiring Desks.
And yet somehow I have still always managed to get the job done.
But this would be my desk, so that’s different.
Ikea desks were too boring, designer desks were too expensive, second-hand desks looked a bit used but new desks looked a bit sterile. Corner desks were too large, retro desks didn’t have enough storage, arty desks wouldn’t fit with anything else in my house.
It was with some fear and trepidation that I started searching on Ebay.
I’ve had some success on the famous online auction house before, having just last year bought a 1950s drinks cabinet off the site.
‘I’ve won! I’ve won!’ I yelped in victory at the time.
‘It’s ugly. I don’t like it,’ said Husband.
‘But I’ve won!’
‘You haven’t won. You’ve bought something.’
£7.50 for a wonderful vintage drinks cabinet is hardly a purchase, it’s a victory.
Or it was until I realised a few minutes later that it was collection-only and 120 miles away in Coventry.
Luckily for me a work colleague hails from Coventry and was home visiting family that weekend. She dispatched an uncle to the stranger’s home to pick up the cabinet and we met on the M40 to ‘make the drop’. Just your typical Sunday afternoon, really.
And after enlisting another friend to sand off the varnish and work some shabby chic magic, I am now the proud owner of one very contentious drinks cabinet, which 50% of the household population still claim to hate.
You live and learn, anyway. This time I entered my postcode as a search parameter (no colleagues to dispatch anymore, you see) and set about trawling through the listings. And, just 30 miles away, a quick nip across the Dartford Crossing, I found The Perfect Desk.
It was another 1950s relic, wooden with three drawers and quirky, only slightly wonky legs. It even had a little flap in the top so you could store stuff in the top, just like in an American movie school. I mean, it was pretty small actually, there is a chance it was in fact a child’s school desk, but otherwise entirely perfect.
There was a tense, hawk-eyed week of watching and waiting for the bidding to end. And then…
‘I’ve won! I’ve won!’
‘….. yeah, you won.’