Spring is in the air. The flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining and the weather outside is anything but frightful. It can make working all that much harder, especially for those of us who work in a home office environment. What’s to stop us from taking a break to get in some needed “outdoor time?” In a word, nothing!
As I have the benefit of being entirely self-employed I can take the entire day off, ride my bike, go for a run, sit out on the roof deck and read a book. Of course in a month I’ll wonder why the checks have stopped coming in, and I’ll be forced to live outside all year long. That’s not a pretty picture.
But I’ve learned to time shift. This concept is probably most associated with devices for recording TV, such as TiVO and other personal video recorders (PVRs). These allow us to time shift our TV shows, recording them when they’re on, and watching at a later point. Wouldn’t it be great if everything in life could be time shifted?
Well, in a way much of the business day can be time shifted. That report can probably be written at 10pm instead of 1pm, right? If it can, then you can take some time and enjoy the day while the sun is out, and write in evening. Of course you can’t put off that report any further or else the work will pile up, and then you could end up with full days looking for a new job.
Likewise, some people may find the pressure of working just before going to bed to be too stressful. This can put work in your head and lead to insomnia. But if you work ahead a bit, you can get a good night’s sleep knowing that you have a little less to worry about. I’ve learned that if I get a head start on things – such as doing some of my assignments late at night that I can then get back a few hours the next time for that bike ride. So in my case I’m not time shifting to do work at a later point, I’m actually trying to work ahead as much as possible. Thus I am rewarding myself after the fact, not prior to it.
The added benefit to my time shifting of my workday is that I’m unlikely to be disturbed by phone calls and e-mail in the late evening. And in my case, by writing late at night in the summer, I can re-read my work in the morning with a fresh set of eyes.
There are other ways to get back some time in the sun. If you’re working from home chances are you don’t need to be dressed in attire you’d wear to the office. I know some would argue you should dress the part even at home to stay in work mode, but I’m of the opposite school of thought on this subject. The point is that unless you have to meet someone in person, you could do those conference calls from a park bench as easily as you could do it from your desk.