Steve Jobs: Home Office as Reflection of Who You Are

Home Office vs Corporate Office

Rumors abound about the Zen-like minimalism of Steve Jobs’ office at Apple headquarters. It took on a mythical status as an expression of the perfectionism and standards of the man. The truth may remain in the realm of myth and in the minds of those who worked closely with Jobs; there are NO photos of his office at Apple out there.

So the pristine minimalist home office in Apple white is the image we have of how Steve Jobs worked. And many home office exemplars seek to emulate this.

steve jobs in his home office

Steve Jobs home office. Minimalism and perfectionism don’t appear to be goals here. A functional home office.

But there are photos of Steve Jobs in his home office and they are more revealing. Pristine is not a word that comes to mind. The only thing minimalist is the white-painted brick wall. There appears to be a sense of order in his bookshelves – in between the stacks on the bookshelves. Computer and peripheral cables are visible. His desk looks like two tables pushed together. There is clutter on the floor. Everything is visible. Jobs gets props for having his desk near a window but not looking out a window, compared to others portrayed in the media. This is an office for work.

This kind of home office would not work for everyone. Too much is visible and a distraction to working well. I am guessing that Jobs was such a conceptual guy that visual sensitivity was not his strong-point. His product designer, Jonny Ive, lead the way to minimal design as the ideal at Apple.

Home Office Order vs Perfectionism

Too often a well-organized home office is confused with a perfect home office. That’s what’s sold in the media and in the marketplace. Click here to see a photo of Martha Stewart’s home office – even the post it notes are lined-up – perfectly.

Julie Morgenstern says: An organized space means you can put you hand on anything you need in five minutes. Five minutes to find the file for one of your past clients (not twenty minutes of frantic “I know it’s here someplace”). Current client/project files should be an arm’s-reach away. Five minutes to find a hammer to hang your latest artwork inspiration. What to aim for is a sense of order: You know with confidence, what drawer, shelf or folder to look in to find what you need – and it will be there.

One way to determine how to organize your office is to find out what to do if you are a Piler, or a Filer.

Put in just enough time organizing your office to make it work for you. Aim to meet the five minute rule. Order, not perfection.
Watch this humorous video about Desk Envy by Yuvi Zalkow. Comparing others’ minimalist dreams with his reality, he tackles the issue head-on.

Steve Jobs has been described by many as a very complex man. This peek at his home office is evidence of that. Being real, not being ideal.

To learn more about home office set-up and home office organizing, get your own copy of The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Your Income, Inspiration and Comfort.

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