When I started working out of my house, I read a gazillion-and-one tips on how to maximize productivity and stay healthy. I approached things like I was studying for a bar exam, hoping that between acute focus, earnest intentions and osmosis, I would follow every rule to the letter and become a telecommuting super-human.
Like many things – New Year’s Resolutions being a prime example – I learned that there’s a Grand Canyon-worth of distance between trying to do the right thing and actually doing the right thing. I still do eye-exercises religiously, shower each morning and check off my list of daily tasks, but here are three pledges I failed to honor when I started working remotely:
I will sleep more, not less than … more
So, what did I do? I tried to change my sleep clock. I knew I had to make a choice: work late or work early. As someone who is more productive in the morning, stumbling, sleepy-eyed or not, I tried to get to sleep early. I really did. When I realized I would have to whittle down my already-short nights of playing Halo or catching the latest episode of The Walking Dead, this promise became a no-go.
I will take a regular lunch, not inhale food at my computer
I will not work in bed under any circumstances
If that’s true, then my tablet murdered the time I’m supposed to be, you know, sleeping. For me, it starts with a game of Bejeweled and then continues with a chirp from an incoming email and evolves into checking email and Twitter and eventually finger-tapping work-related messages, all of this way past my bedtime.
Do I answer emails from that long, lost cousin who narrowly cheated death during an elaborate car accident? No, but I will answer messages from salespeople I’ve never met, especially ones offering extremely over-priced advertising deals where the odds of me taking them are Slim and None, and Slim just moved out with his friend Not-A-Chance.
Like many telecommuters, I’ve learned to kinda/sorta accept my flaws while making constant tweaks and improvements to work from home life. It’s a long slog and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but as long as haven’t dropped a gallon of ranch dressing on my shirt, I consider each day a victory.