While putting up Christmas decorations, I came across a notebook from a few 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, I loved the ability to work from home. However, I was isolated, pulled in too many different directions, gaining weight and losing my work-life balance.
For most now, remote work is mandatory, not an option. And I am assuming, most folks are suffering as I was.
I needed to find a solution. For me, it was becoming part of a coworking community, and I am so glad to keep sticking with each of those resolutions!
Tell me if yours sound anything like mine did. I resolved to:
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.
Working in a coworking office showed me 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. My enhanced productivity even makes it so there are days I don’t even bring my laptop home … which is amazing!
It is also motivating knowing my coworkers are in the same boat that I am. Seeing other parents pack their bags up at the end of the day encourages me to wrap things up and fully engage at home.
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. Seeing others being productive makes me productive. 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
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.
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. 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 creates 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 members juggling family with fulfilling careers while still taking time to travel, dance, knit, or whatever gives them bliss. We succeed when we have a supportive network and authentic relationships relieving our minds of some stress and financial uncertainty!
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 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.
It is important to be in a walkable and vibrant area and to have plentiful outdoor space for exercise or simply a change of work scenery. Some of my coworkers work out mid day or ride their bikes to work. Even the various ergonomic work furniture options keep us from getting stiff and slouching.
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 make 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 with a supportive work environment, can help you accomplish?