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Working from Home : Don't Work Where you Sleep

When the alarm does go off, get up and prepare for your day as you would for an office job: take a shower, and get dressed - New York Times
Whenever I tell someone that I work from home, or am a freelancer, I almost-never fail to get envious sighs from them. A sigh, especially from a very tired working mom or dad, that tells me that, perhaps, they wish they were in my shoes.

While I also point out the perks of working outside of a home, I DO concede that there ARE benefits to working from home. Working out of your jammies, so to speak. I remember the days when I would:-:-
  • cook and work at the same time
  • breastfeed while making phone calls or answering emails (rewind 15+ years ago)
  • walk out of the house with paper clips in my hair (because really, who has time for pretty little Hello Kitty hair clips when you're harried)
  • get no proper sleep all day, every day and apparently a real Living Dead
  • thought that I could master everything on my own
  • go berserk at the smallest things which includes finding ants in my coffee cup
It's a recipe for disaster. 

It seems funny now but it wasn't so much when I was trying to find my footing. Working from home is not something you can do when you don't have any support from helpers, friends or family. But despite all of the challenges, I still say that it's possible. I'm not saying I would go through all of that again, but I am saying that it's very, very possible.

Laptop on Bed
Credit : FreeImages.com
A Place to Work
While I found myself working in my bedroom during the start of my career, I've discovered that working where you sleep is a big time-bomb to your working and personal life. 17 year of working from home tells me that I would rather work anywhere, be it a nearby Starbucks or a rented SOHO office, than on my bed. My bed has become a sacred place where I tune everything out....and it SHOULD have been so from the start. If I had just ONE advice to give to anyone who would like to work from home, this would be it - DON'T work where you SLEEP or RELAX. Keep it as separate as you can.
Treat your study (or wherever you work) like a real office. Close the door at 6 p.m. and don't open it until you are beginning work the next morning - Monster.com
Discipline
It takes all sorts of methods and tools to get you completely self motivated. You need to do it to a point whereby it becomes clockwork. For example, if you spend the morning rolling around in bed scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter for several hours, THAT will become your clockwork and it is not ideal for people who work from home.

You need to actually get out of bed, kick your own ass and be your own friendly reminder. The downside of this is that you WILL miss out on the all the camaraderie you share with colleagues you work with on a day to day basis. People who haunt you for deadlines, people who eat lunch with you, people who b+++h with you, people you hang out over Happy Hour with, people who demand reports from you, etc. Without coworkers, it gets a lot lonelier. The upside is that you start being a really motivated person and your priorities are set straight right from the start.

The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Because the line between work and personal life becomes blurred, balance becomes a struggle. Before you can get your ducks in a row, you'll find yourself teetering between trying to find time for dinner with your family and completing the PowerPoint presentation that is due today (in advertising term, that's LAST WEEK). 

However, we can't fight ALL battles. Pick and choose your battles and you'll find yourself being more at peace with both your work and personal life.
Take stock of activities that don't enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them - WebMD
If you need to take a nap, take it. Don't equate needing a nap with being lazy because if you read about our body sleep-work cycles and body clock system, you'll see that it's completely natural to suffer from after-lunch comatose. Studies found that naps contribute to improved efficiency and productivity so, don't be ashamed of it.

The Japanese even have a word or two to say about choosing to nap during a hectic workday (surprisingly from a culture that is known to work themselves to the bone) - inemuri, a.k.a. napping while present. It is believed that with a 20- to 60-minute nap, the mind is revitalized and you tend to perform at a more optimal level.

Taking the Time to Adjust and Commit
The same can be said for those who have to travel for work. Imagine traveling halfway around the world, are 8 hours ahead or behind your regular colleagues, suffering from mind fog and having to perform the very same way you would if you were physically present in your normal office.

High expectations, NOT impossible, and good luck.

It's better, suffice to say, to give yourself the time to adjust and then commit to a schedule that would work optimally for you and your work friends/boss. And even if you're stuck in a hotel room on the other side of the world, I say 'don't work where you sleep'. Leave the bed alone and work from the coffee table, dining room, kitchen or get a small room outside of the hotel to do your work. Separate-ness is essential to your work-life balance and it would be detrimental to your health and performance is you thought for just one minute that 'It is OK'. Why? Because you might end up doing the same thing over and over again for the rest of the week/month. Your best bet is not to start at all.

Have a pleasant day ahead, guys,
Love,
Marsha

Credit: 

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/smarter-living/take-naps-at-work-apologize-to-no-one.html
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/smarter-living/work-at-home-tips-advice.html?mcubz=1&_r=0
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-working-from-home-2951766
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