My life is very different today than it was a couple months ago, and next month it will be even more different still. Turned on its head different, actually. This is because in just a few weeks time, I will be getting on an airplane and temporarily moving to China.
Earlier this year I threw off the bonds of the traditional nine to five, and left my job at a publishing house in San Francisco to join the Weaving Influence team remotely from Los Angeles. The move and new job have been so much more than a change of place and pace, but have resulted in fundamental change of lifestyle. Not having an office I need to arrive at everyday, and not requiring a conference room to meet with my co-workers has opened up a world of flexibility in the workplace I could not have wrapped my head around without having lived it first.
I can do my job from literally anywhere. Granted, living in Shanghai (where I fully intend to take and post selfies with Beau Sides’, Lessons From China, all over the place) will come with its own set of challenges, but it’s this company’s commitment to flexibility that is allowing me to live and work all over the world, as well as being the reason I will cheerfully wake up at odd hours to make myself available to my team members. To reap the benefit of flexibility, one must equally be able to exercise self regulation.
I can balance my life in a way that makes me feel incredibly sane. The success of my clients is very important to me, and I’ve burned the midnight oil more than once to ensure they get what they need, but my personal life and relationships are also a very high priority. Having the ability to put work on hold for a moment to help a friend in need, or to rearrange my work week to fit in activities that make me feel fulfilled on a personal level, has transformed the way I live.
I can wear all my hats at once. I am no longer a sometimes runner, sometimes girlfriend, sometimes artist, sometimes sister, trying to squeeze in time for these different facets of my life between commutes. My role as a Project Manager is now occupying the same space as my role as a friend. I am flexing a new mental muscle as I draw my own lines between where work ends and my life outside it begins–now that I no longer have the sharp line of an office wall to distinguish it for me. Though making the distinction is not always inherent or particularly easy, the flexibility to choose what works best for me proves that the way we work doesn’t have to be one size fits all.
Tell me something! How are you seeking flexibility in your life? What are you doing to better serve others without forgetting to serve yourself?
This is a dynamic testimony of the culture and philosophy of the Weaving Influence organization. Applause and celebration goes to Beck Robinson and the entire staff who joyfully and audaciously develop the organization as they support and develop each other.
Wonderful post, filled with gems. You coined a paradox: “To reap the benefit of flexibility, one must equally be able to exercise self regulation.” I struggle with the mixed blessing of a home office. Wonderful benefits of flexibility, with distractions at every turn. Any tricks to share on the self regulation you mention? (Don’t feel obligated to respond–I just need to DO IT!)
Thanks for the thought-provoking post.
Honestly, my biggest ally has been keeping a set schedule with work day start and work day end rituals. I’m not one of those people who can roll out of bed, switch on their computer, and get down to work. I have to get up, get dressed, scan the news–basically go through the same motions I did before leaving the house when I had an office job. It sends a signal to my brain that says “we’re getting ready to be focused and productive now.” It’s amazing how much more distracted I am on days where I don’t bother to switch my PJ pants for jeans. Same with ending the day, I have to give myself a hard stop where I shutdown my computer and don’t touch it again until the next morning. Having set “office hours” keeps me focused and more resistant to distractions because I know I only have so long to get my tasks done. That’s not to say that I don’t take breaks during the middle of the day to do laundry, read a chapter of a book, or run an errand but I have a much easier time coming back from those breaks when I’ve prepped myself to get into a working mindset.
I set my self some targets every day- actually a few more than I can accomplish ,so that gives me flexibility in choosing what I do ,i organize which ones I will do first or tackle according to terrain,eg if what is most important takes me in one direction then I do all task in that general area ,take a break and then move to the other area with new task( group tasks) ; I also give my self a flexible cut off time and take a coffee break ,meet a friend ,read ,plan etc.Hat isn’t done on that day goes to the next day in priority.This is in nutshell,.