Do you ever wonder if you could make your life more “seamless”? Would it work for you to have less division between your work and personal lives?
In these glorious summer months, I am reminded of how much I like a seamless work-life existence. I like that when I get up in the morning at our house in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, I can spend an hour wandering around the vegetable and flower gardens and then take the big 2-second commute to my upstairs office.
I like the fact that I can join a conference call from my backyard hammock, or pause on an all-day bike ride to return a call to a client. I like that I can be on-line returning emails five minutes after arrival at our house in Mexico, and then go up on the rooftop to watch the sun set.
A seamless existence works for me. I think I have developed a reasonable skill at focusing on work…and then just as intently focusing on leisure. Furthermore, I would suggest that if you are running your own business – or contemplating running your own business – it is a vital skill to learn. Too many people leave the stresses of a full-time job, only to be just as stressed, or more so, at their own company.
Not everyone can switch channels from work to leisure easily. If you can’t find that switch, you can find yourself permanently on the work channel or conversely, forever on the play channel. It is one of the most important factors to consider before you launch yourself on a career as an independent consultant, coach or any other career direction that requires self-management.
So if you are thinking of heading in this career direction, here are 5 questions you might ask yourself to test your ability to lead a seamless existence:
1. Importance of work colleagues: ask yourself how important it is to have work colleagues close at hand? The old water cooler conversation (or modern day equivalent!) is considered key to many people in being able to maintain not only work relationships but also keeping abreast of what is going on in the company. Give this one careful consideration because it may be that this element is a critical success factor for you.
2. Ability to have someone to bounce ideas off: running your own home office based company can not only be lonely, but some people miss the close proximity of having someone to bounce ideas off. Do you have a network of people that you could call or meet over coffee who could be sounding boards for you? Remember this does NOT always include your clients – they pay you to know the answers!
3. Stimulation of the work place: are you a person who enjoys the buzz and activity of an office? Do you need a certain amount of visual and audio stimulation to get your juices going? Will you be able to recreate that in some way in the quiet of a home office?
4. Closing off distractions: if you are a person who needs quiet in order to work, can you create that in your home office? Kids coming home from school, dogs barking, your partner asking you to do things – these are all common distractions. One home office consultant told me that she has the cleanest kitchen floor in Vancouver since she creates the distraction of sweeping the floor to avoid working!
5. Self sufficiency: be tough on yourself: can you truly manage your own calendar, create your own power points, remember to buy post-it notes? If you are accustomed to having a support person, it can be difficult to teach yourself new tricks and remember all the little and not-so-little things that keep an office functioning and keep you efficient and generating those billable hours. Is it worth learning to do these things yourself or can you afford to hire someone to do them? A good solution is to engage a Virtual Assistant on an as-needed basis. But if you are used to having someone in the next office, this might not be enough. These are just a few of the things to consider. Another colleague of mine said the thing she missed most was getting dressed up to go to the office. Her solution was to put on a business suit and makeup every morning and then go to her home office!
I have developed a tool kit for people looking to start their own businesses, including a list of resources. If you would like to find out what’s in that tool kit and further test your readiness for a seamless existence, please send me an email or give me a call.
And enjoy the rest of the summer!