A lesson I learnt fairly early in business was not to hire someone to help…
Should You Get Dressed Up for Work, or Is It Okay to Stay in Your Pyjamas?
I know from my many conversations with female entrepreneurs around the world, that the wearing of a bra is an often-discussed topic. There are plenty of memes floating around that suggest that the first thing a woman does when she gets home, is remove her bra. But what about when you work from home?
Is it okay to stay in your pyjamas all day, with the idea of putting on underwear upholstery as far from your mind as humanly possible? Is it okay to spend your working days propped up on the recliner, computer on your lap and Netflix playing in the background? Does it matter if you do your hair, have a shave, put on make-up, or even have a shower?
My answer is an emphatic NO. It doesn’t matter if you do all or none of those things… as long as it’s what makes you feel good about what you are doing.
I find that I can easily get caught up in the flow of what’s happening, with no real structure to my days. I have an idea of what I want to achieve, and I work on it with no time schedule in mind (unless I have an external deadline of course). I am, and have always been, someone who is far more productive when a deadline is approaching. The more time I have to do something, the more time I take to do it.
As someone who lives with bipolar disorder and anxiety, whilst also trying to run a business, a household and a family, I know that I have to maintain a fine line between doing too much and too little. Doing too much can send me hurtling towards hypomania, insomnia and unproductive running around like a headless chook. Doing too little can make me feel anxious, worthless and feed the little mind monsters that tell me I’m lazy and will never achieve anything.
So what is the answer? The answer is… whatever you decide it is.
Structure or not
Are you someone who works better under pressure, or someone who is consistently focused? Neither way is right or wrong, we just have to know which way is right for us. Knowing that I work better with deadlines, I try and make my own deadlines, even if the actual required date is in the future. I do this because despite working better with deadlines, they make me extremely anxious, so it’s not great for my mental health. If I set my own deadline, I can get it done, knowing that should I need to take a break, or if an emergency pops up, it’s not a major drama.
Are you someone who loves long timelines, or do you prefer to leave things until the last minute? If it’s the latter, how do you feel in those last hours before you have to get something finished? Do you feel excited and motivated, or is it more stress and overwhelm?
Office or not
Do you have a designated office at home, or do you tend to work in front of the TV or in the garden? For me, it depends on what I’m doing. If I have to create a structured program, or plan my social media, then I’m better at my desk in my office with no distractions. However if I’m writing an article or a blog post (like I am now), then I am more creative when I’m sitting on the sofa watching Netflix. There’s something about the background distraction of the TV that helps my creativity to flow. I don’t know why that is (if you do, please let me know).
Look at where you work most consistently and why. Where do you find you are most productive and focused? How could you improve on your working environment?
Clothes or not
I’m not talking about naked working (although if that floats your boat, then go for it, as long as you’re not planning on visiting a co-working space), but whether or not you feel more confident and organised if you “dress” for work. I use Skype for my client appointments, so as they only see me from the shoulders up, it really doesn’t matter what I’m wearing. However, I will say that putting on proper clothes makes me feel more like I’m working. Sitting in my jimjams feels more like the weekend and I find I get more easily distracted by other things.
Do you get dressed formally if you work from home? If so, is it because it makes you feel more focused, or is there another reason?
Whatever your answers to the above, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter as long as you are happy!
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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