Many people work from home during corona. What are entrepreneurs and your customers dealing with working from home for a longer period of time?
I can describe it with one word: Boundary. Many detest the structures of the office however once they find themselves without it they’re lost. Yes, there’s that illusion of ‘freedom’ with total control of time. However, it comes with 100% responsibility with how to use it. And most people don’t know how to handle that. They start operating based on a whim instead of direction. Always doing what they want instead of what’s needed thus leading to unbalance. The line that separates personal and professional time is erased and that’s when they turn into workaholics — leading to sleeping problems, overeating, and lack of exercise. Without structure, the day looks like one giant to-do list. Leaving them stuck on ‘catch-up mode’ from the moment they open their eyes.
You have contact with many entrepreneurs and made also a short survey. How are they overcoming this situation or what strategies do they have in order to be more relaxed?
Here’s the funny thing. They already know what to do: Sleep at the right time. Don’t eat (too much) junk food. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Rest.
However, there’s a huge chasm between knowing and doing. That’s what they struggle with. It feels like any minute not spent working is irresponsible. And therefore a waste. Yet deep down they know there’s something wrong. Some would join social groups that would keep them accountable. Peer pressure and community seems to be a strong motivator for folks. People are wired to be social — even the most introverted among us have that one friend they can talk all day with. Working alone can be lonely. Adding the jolt of interaction may be the trigger they’ve been looking for. So in the case of exercise, an accountability group serves as ‘outsourcing’ the decision to do work out. Since the group works out at X time, then that’s when they have to do it. Letting go of that decision somehow alleviates the ‘guilt’ because it wasn’t their decision to workout at this time, but the groups. I’m just ‘following’ along hence I’m not at fault for not working at this time.
What helped you in this situation and what is in your opinion the most important thing to become stronger in such a time?
Personally, it’s allowing myself time to think. A big cause of my stress is focusing on my clock instead of my compass. Here’s what I mean. When I focus solely on my to-do list without understanding how it fits into the big picture, sure it gives me the pride of crossing out all my tasks yet leaves me without the satisfaction of actually getting things done. It’s because I don’t take the time to measure how important each task is. Stepping back and understanding the tasks that will give me the best ROI for my time is critical. Whenever I do that, it helps me feel in control rather than putting out fires 24/7. As a side benefit, my to-do list tends to shrink when I let go of the bells-and-whistles and just focus on the few tasks that’ll get me the result I want.
Free time doesn’t mean it’s unlimited. Observe how you’re spending your time. Create a daily routine that focuses on things that are important in your life. I know it may sound counterintuitive to the idea of freedom by working at home, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably not satisfied with your set-up now, so I want you to understand one thing: Unlike what most people believe, there is liberation in limitations. If you want to live a life by design, not by default, then you better sit down and create the blueprint. Imagine if your house was created on a whim, would you want to live in it? So why would anyone live a life that way?
Thank you very much for this interview!
About Allan Ngo:
Allan Ngo is a work-from-anywhere father who operates DigitalSolopreneur.com. He helps solopreneurs and small businesses grow their sales using the power of email storytelling. He’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs change people’s lives for the better through the written word.