A Colourful Life
In the midst of the COVID 19 Pandemic, many people are experiencing working from home for the first time, and for some, it has proved to be a challenge. For me though, this is something I have done to varying degrees, for many years. Part of me wonders what the fuss is about, and the other part of me wants to shout from the roof tops about how this can revolutionize you life!
I’ve watched with great interest as many articles have been released, giving commonsense “guides” as to how to essentially replicate your day job from home, without the commute. If you are interested in this sort of information – check out a recent article from the design files.
However this has sent my entrepreneurial brain into a head spin. I have polar opposite views – working from home isn’t about re-creating work life boundaries, it about unleashing, amazing opportunities that this offers. Its about how to shake the 20th century artificial work restraints and allow your productivity and creativity to exponentially thrive!
Here’s what I mean. On a granular level, life could be considered a series of tasks that you do for different people. There are the things you do for your children, you partner, your employer, your friends, your community and yourself. They are all things to be done and hopefully enjoyed. Yet somewhere in the 20th century we decided to “box” everything. We travel to work to do x tasks, we come home to do y & z. We dont base it around when is the best time to do tasks x, y or z, nor which are the most important, or when our natural biorythms are ready to do our best work.
I believe that successful entrepreneurs schedule their life tasks according to priority, capacity, and capability, rather than the time of day. If you wake up with a sense of urgency about tasks, it makes no sense to supress your natural instincts until its an appropriate “time” to clock on. Many of us are hardwired to think more clearly from the time we wake with productivity gradually gradually petering out throughout the day. Instead, write your list, work out what are the most important things to be done first – and go for it! When the highest priority things are done, there is a better sense of leisurely time for a walk, yoga, breakfast – with you mind more at ease about the control you have over the day.
There is a massive school of thought surrounding these concepts that I won’t go into, but the key takeaway is to use the time you have working from home, to flip normal schedules upside down, and free yourself from the confines of non productive time spent in normally requisite time frames.
Its not about working more, and work life taking over, its about scheduling whats important into the right times of day. If spending time with your children is important at a particular time during the day- pop that in to your days schedule, and move another “work” task to later on.
Here are my top 5 tips, to flip work habits upside down:
- Don’t waste time on social constructs that are not important to achieving your goals. DONT spend time “getting ready for work” like many are suggesting. Schedule getting dressed for when it least interferes with your work flow – like a break between tasks. Be the anchor newsreader who pops a suitcoat over his shorts and t-shirt when the news is filmed (ie you have videoconference). Optimal comfort clothes enhance focus.
- Identify the times of day that your mind is firing on all cylinders and schedule hard slog technical/thinking for then. Arrange all the more creative tasks, for time slots that would normally be allocated to coffeee breaks and down time. In fact combine them, go sit in a “coffee area” maybe outside with a cuppa and let your mind wander while you deal with creative pursuits.
- Rather than putting the brakes on tasks because its time to “clock on” or “clock off”, schedule everything (all life tasks) for when it makes sense. Removing the boxes reduces artificial deadlines that create pressure.
- Think of knock off times in terms of achievement of your day’s goals, not achieving a certain number of hours work. One of the biggest killers of productivity is “presenteeism”. (Sitting at a desk for a requisite number of hours and then going home, regardless of output focus and energy.) The focus on the goals, not the hours will drive your focus and productivity.
- Enjoy the advantages of your own space. If you are doing something mundane/routine, enjoy a simultaneous podcast or music. If what you are doing doesn’t require you sit at your desk, don’t. Find a nice part of the garden, or in different times a coffee shop and work from a different environment. Shaking up the setting is invigorating and breathes new life into your soul.
I believe that when we stop thinking about work as a 9-5 affair, and start moving the goals that we want to achieve into a simultaneous life blend, stress is reduced and productivity is enhanced.
And this is the unique mindset of entrepreneurs.
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