After many years of working from home, I have learned about the flow of work and the ways I need to treat myself and work to enjoy the ride and have an impact. I often take notes and use these notes to reflect on what has gone well and what can be improved.
I’ve worked at several places that had a hybrid in-office/work-from-home setup. The hardest part is remembering that if you have anyone remote, you’re a remote company. This means you’re doing a disservice to the remote folks any time you talk about anything business-related in person instead of over chat.
I share my notes with friends who also work from home and they share their thoughts with me. One friend, Chris, reminded to me “remember to figuratively (and literally) clean my room before you go out into the world with my venture.” I often think about this advice because its both so simple and profound: do the little things right to create the culture you need to achieve success.
Chris is a fountain of wisdom and his reflections are worth quoting more broadly. He explained the following to me:
“Lay a firm foundation of self-awareness and peace. It may sound paradoxical, but you can only see things clearly as long as you take the time regularly to force yourself to experience physical and mental discomfort to drown out your other feelings. Go on a hike alone and away from the world when it’s cold and listen to what your heart tells you. Call your grandparents and ask how they’re feeling today.
Dishonest people can’t focus on themselves because they’re afraid of what they’ll see. Be honest with yourself and be honest with those you love. Honesty is bravery. Try meditation and really listen to your negative thoughts and feelings. Force yourself to feel both physical and mental discomfort simultaneously at least weekly and listen to everything that comes into your mind with patience.
Privately write down what comes up and revisit your notes when you have the strength. Once you reach enlightenment and full self-awareness, you can proceed with your venture and see the challenge ahead of you with perspicacity. Don’t be afraid of Duck Syndrome: embrace it and listen to what it tells you. Praying has been an evolved human need because it essentially forces us to listen to ourselves and heal our souls. So pray however you do.
I pray via mediation and isolation to listen to my inner voice. Once your mind is clear, you can work on your body. Calories only exist in four things: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and alcohols. The ratios of these are most important: not how much you actually eat in calories today. You need the right balance of macro- and micro-nutrients daily to be happy.
Have you used the restroom today? You need enough water and fiber in your day as your gut has tremendous control over your mind. Economic activity is fueled by human activity so keep that train moving. Start a business, clean your room, go for a walk, and don’t slow down but take regular breaks on weekends and evenings. Silent hikes in the middle of nowhere keep you strong and healthy – especially if the weather is bad. The more you feel physical discomfort and fear, the more you can see the rest of what you are feeling.
Modern people dilute their lives with distractions that they don’t want to care about because they’re afraid to face their fears and feel alone. If you’re not healing, you’re dealing. Awareness is the only key to happiness – be aware of your surroundings and yourself. Take time to enjoy the little things, focus on your feelings, and appreciate yourself. Take time to listen to what your body and mind are trying to tell you.
Identify the negative in your life and purge it out. Regardless of how many people are in your life, you can feel alone or scared so take time to just yourself and force yourself to be alone in your mind and give your thoughts what they want. So put your oxygen mask on first before helping your neighbor and clean your room! Once you’ve done this, resume your venture with perspicacity and nail it!”
In the new normal, society probably won’t go back to working 100% from the office. You may work from home for a long period of time, or your entire career. For some that will be great. For others, this path will most likely be wildly unpopular.
How you embrace the future is your decision and you can influence how your company responds and sets itself for the future. Here is one creative outcome: have people work from home two days a week, including customer support, operations, sales. This isn’t remote working, it’s part time WFH. The logic behind two days is to have some type of rotation where people can share desks but still be able to have whole teams in the office at the same time for trainings, meetings and so on. I am still learning the WFH game. But these tips and general life guidance are perspectives I wish I had when I was younger. And I hope you feel the same.