Ever since I left my traditional corporate job back in 2009 I have struggled with trying to develop a routine for myself that would enable me to fulfill my work responsibilities and take advantage of the opportunity to work mostly full-time from my home. When I began my consulting career and started to see some success, I decided it was time to make the investment of building a private home office that was not a corner of the living room, a desk on the sun porch or my laptop at the dining room table. We worked with a contractor, designed a space in the basement that included four walls and a door. I spent a lot of money picking out nice furniture that allowed me to have a large desk, lots of storage and an aesthetic that would make the room feel like a space of my own and offer me an environment for maximum productivity.
I painted the walls purple. I bought some pictures to hang on the wall. I installed a TV with Fios. I bought an iMac to complement my macbook pro. I built myself a woman-cave. I was in heaven. I had faux-hardwood floors and, for the first time in my adult life, I truly had a “room of my own.” That was about a year ago.
Now I have to force myself to go down there to work.
I was talking to a prospective client yesterday at her Wall Street office and we discussed the pros and cons of working from home full-time. Sure, it has its perks and I have lots of friends who envy my freedom and flexibility. However, it also has many downsides. There is nobody swinging by my office to chat in the morning while we sip our morning coffee. There are no windows to stare out to look at the sights of the city or watch as the lights come on in all the skyscrapers on the dark winter afternoons. There are no staff birthday parties to ceremoniously step out of my office to reluctantly attend.
I have been struggling to understand why this wonderful space (which, by the way, has some good karma because much good work has occurred in that room and many deals have been brokered in there), has become such a dreaded place for me. Many experts, much smarter than me, will suggest that I need to set boundaries. I need to create rituals of going to work and leaving work so as not to begin to feel swallowed up. Others might suggest that my extroverted personality and the lack of sunlight in my office cause me to feel isolated and lonely and, therefore, trigger less than positive feelings about the space. And others might suggest that I am simply lazy and don’t want to go to work. All of those are probably true to some degree but I am all about solutions and learning how to process my feelings and learn from them.
So, one of my goals in the new year is to learn to love my space again and continue to be productive. And, to make sure to feed my inner extrovert as much as possible.