While putting up Christmas decorations, I came across a notebook from a couple of years ago. In it was a scribbled list of new year’s resolutions. It was obviously a pie in the sky wish-list, at the time. However, I am happy to say that so many of my wishes HAVE come true … not without hard work and certainly not in the way I thought they would.
Let me backtrack. A couple of years ago, I had a secure job, a nice private office, and the flexibility to work from home. On paper, it was perfect. I was isolated, pulled in too many different directions, scattered and getting personally and professionally stale.
Then came 2015 … we took a huge leap and started planning something that had been tugging at me for a few years. It then took another year of planning, praying, talking, and rallying to make it happen. Creating the first coworking community in our county for sure wasn’t something we did for money, but rather as a solution and resource for other burned out and strung out folks like me. (Not quite sure what coworking is? Check this out!)
Tell me if your New Year’s resolutions sound anything like mine did …
In the new year, I resolve:
To NOT multitask so much –
For the longest time, I thought I was being efficient…. Changing out loads of laundry while on hold on a conference call, grading papers while dinner was cooking, etc. I was busy so I must have been getting things done, right? Wrong. My inability to focus on the tasks at hand meant I wasn’t 100% at anything I was doing. The interruptions of the dogs, chores, UPS man, and all the distractions of home made it impossible for me to give my work the attention it needed.
With coworking, community members can be as “in-the-zone” as they need to be. Some come in, don their headphones, and get to it, camping out all day. Others have a bit of coffee talk, get some work done and then head out to a meeting, leaving all their gear set up for when they get back. Either way, we all know our purpose for being there and all the resources we need (fast wi-fi, printers, coffee, etc.) is there to help us get our work done
To separate work from home –
I tried doing much of my work from home because I thought me being physically present would make me a better mom. What it did was blur the lines too much between work me and home me. I never felt I was totally “present” in either of my roles and never felt as if I could turn off the other side of my brain.
What I have found with coworking is that being able to have that physical separation between work and home is essential. The process of dressing, packing my bag and taking my big four-minute commute to work gets me into work mode.
It is also motivating and encouraging knowing my coworkers are in the same boat that I am. Seeing them begin to pack their bags up at 4:30 keeps me from dragging my work into the early evening and not even realizing it, like I used to do in my private office or at home in my bath robe. My enhanced productivity makes it so there are days I don’t even bring my laptop home … which is amazing! Even the virtual members who simply use us as a mailing address like the separation it brings.
To make a plan for my day and stick to it –
Putting this out there now … I suck at staying on task. I can have the best intentions for the day but my wandering mind and pseudo-narcolepsy make it virtually impossible to self-regulate when I am working alone.
This is one of the reasons I love being part of a coworking community. I can walk in and say to one of the early morning folks “my goal today is ______, if you see me piddling around or surfing on Amazon, flick me!” (literally, I say that!).
Having others helping and collaborating keeps us on task as well. If I ask someone to proof read something for me, I better darn well be on task to finish it. When I am looking forward to having lunch with a coworker (IF I finish my current task) it spurs me on to complete it
To take time for me and surround myself with good people –
Whether in my office or working from home, weeks would go by without taking a break to have coffee with a friend, read a little bit of a book, or really do anything that got me off the hamster wheel and connected me to myself and others, even though I knew when I did, I reaped such huge benefits. Mental health issues are a huge concern for independent workers because of the isolation, disconnection and lack of feeling part of a team.
Being part of a coworking community works those little bursts of inspiration and connection throughout my day. I can talk to coworkers without drama or competition and everyone there wants me to succeed. I am inspired when I see our members juggling family with successful and fulfilling careers while still taking time to travel, dance, knit, or whatever it is that gives them bliss. Our businesses succeed when we have such a supportive network and authentic recommendations … relieving our minds of some stress and financial uncertainty!
To learn or experience something new every day –
Getting stale scares me (and it should scare you!). In a world where technology moves so fast and where new things are being discovered every day, not evolving is not an option, at least not a viable one.
Having the ability to attend lunch-and-learns, read business magazines and creativity books from the lending library, or simply learning a little bit about the dozens of different professions under our roof makes me feel more well-rounded and encourages my personal and professional growth.
To be more physical and health conscious – (of course!)
I think I am the only woman in my neighborhood who isn’t a runner. As much as I would love to say I will get up at 5am to exercise, I know I won’t. But there is a big difference between someone who works out 2 hours a day and someone who sits for 10 hours working without getting up to move around.
Most coworking communities try to have an active vibe. It was important to us to be located downtown in a walkable and vibrant area and to have plentiful outdoor space for exercise or simply a change of scenery. We built a shower to encourage people to ride their bikes to work and are getting a treadmill for those who can’t. We keep healthy snacks handy and have a gym as one of our community partners. Even the various ergonomic furniture options keep me from getting “stove up” like I used to in my old office (that is what my Granny would call it when your joints get stiff from sitting too long).
Beyond the physical things encouraging us to move, coworking community members are an excellent source of accountability. Whether a fitness goal or a professional goal, having a support system and great role models makes reaching them easier.
Do I still have resolutions? Absolutely! We would all be liars if we said we didn’t need improvement.
Is there some goal you have for the new year that we, a diverse and energetic community of business professionals, can help you meet?
I am sure there are …. and we would love to help you look back at 2017 and smile.
Want to learn more about how coworking can help with your new year’s resolutions? Take a look at “Why coworking should be at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions” by Gemma Church