Working from home can be amazing. Interruption-free, in the zone, high-vibe-productivity turned up to max’.
It can also be a little isolating, lonely and a recipe for cabin fever.
One thing anyone who’s worked from a home office will tell you, whether it’s a legit’ separate, professional office space, or the living room couch, is that work and life/family/play/down time is at risk of becoming blurred. This isn’t something that’s solely reserved for the work from homers, by any means, but the effect can be exaggerated, and it’s something that’s been on my mind lately.
Today I had an awesome start to the day; I went to yoga, came home and walked the dog by the lake. Did a little Lakeside meditation, then had a totally delish bowl of buckwheat porridge for breakfast as I sat down and got stuck into work. A really productive morning ensued. I sorted out my inbox, made a few calls and pumped through a bunch of writing and planning that had been waiting for my attention.
I had my mid-morning chai, then powered on. I grabbed a quick lunch and then kept on keepin’ on until I suddenly realised I was about to have a skype call with a client and I was still sitting around in my sweaty yoga gear.
I’m not sure if the fact that it was dry by that point (it was a very hot and drippy class this morning) made it better, or a bit grosser...
I consider the fact that I can work in my comfy’s a particularly awesome perk of working for myself. I’ll quite often spend the day in yoga tights (usually clean ones :) ), and sometimes, I pull the old breakfast TV trick and put a nice top on over my trackies for a client video call (don’t tell anyone.)
But today particularly made me wonder; is this perk really a double-edged sword? Does there come a point where a line needs to be drawn, not because of any particular sartorial reverence, but as a method of clearly defining between my work time and my down time.
Working when it suits me means that I usually don’t work a standard 9 – 5. My work hours tend to bleed into all hours depending on what’s on the plate, but I’ve become very aware lately of the need to ‘leave work’ and disconnect. The temptation, especially in our smartphone-obsessed world, is to attempt to stay on top of things by constantly being on top of things.
‘Never put off til tomorrow that which you can do today’; it’s an old and well-worn adage that I used to watch swing and pivot around on my dad’s screen saver when I was a kid. It speaks to the ongoing battle of procrastination and resistance, but for me, it’s always implied that you should squeeze every ounce of productivity and output out of yourself everyday, and that’s a philosophy I now have some strong objections to, because at some point you need to stop.
We’re so culturally crafted to strive; to feel like it’s essential to work your butt down to the bone in order to feel like you deserve the rewards you achieve. When you have your own business it’s even more acute. And when your work place is also your living place, when you can’t physically distance yourself, it’s even harder to disconnect from the unending to-do list.
But it’s so, so important that we do disconnect. You’ve got to have down time, even when you’re giving birth to your business or brand (especially then), to recharge your batteries and make sure you can get your energiser bunny back up and running the race tomorrow morning.
So how do you disconnect when the boardroom table and the dining table are one and the same? This brings me back to my sweaty-yoga-clothes-wearing. Getting dressed for work gives you the ability to get undressed, or get comfy again, after work is done and that can be a really powerful way to signify to yourself that you’re done for the day. For us ladies, that might be as simple as taking the bra off (isn’t that moment heaven!) or swapping the jeans for track pants.
I know there are times when you’re in the middle of a project, or you hit productivity hyper-drive, and showering, brushing your hair or getting out of your dressing gown is just a waste of time. When you’re in the flow sometimes all you can do is put your head down and hold on, and when that’s the case you do what you gotta do.
It’s also awesome being super comfy while you work. I LOVE being able to rock out and do my thing in whatever I choose to wear! When it comes down to it, I’m certainly not going to reintroduce the ‘work wardrobe’ on a daily basis, but it’s time to create more of a psychological difference between work time and play time, and I’m thinking this could be a good way to start.
How do you switch from work-mode into family-mode? If it’s something that you find as challenging as I do, why not give this idea a go?