Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Advice from Singer, Lipstick and Powder

Thursday Thoughts: Advice from Singer --The More Things Change…

Recently the following photo was circulating on Facebook.

Responses ranged from laughter to sarcasm to outrage to fond memories of Mom or Grandma. 
After all, we’ve come a long way since 1949.  This is the stuff of dusty attic memories. Right???

I disagree.There is some timely and good advice in this yellowed page.

One of the consequences for better or worse of the technology age is the ability to work from home.

In the 1980s, I was one of the early wave of this new concept of working from home. It was ad-hoc, at first.  Snowstorms such as those we are experiencing in the Northeast would be accompanied by the packing up of files and the saving of documents to 3.5 inch disks so that time would not be wasted.  Of course, many managers still “suspected” that we were all really home with our feet up watching soap operas and Phil Donahue while painting our toenails.

Fast forward to 2014…. The age of the indie, the solopreneur both male and female. One of the consequences of a prolonged recession (is that all it is?) are hundreds of thousands of people trying to earn a living from home-based businesses. Combine that with the struggling authors, musicians and other artists who are pursuing their passion without the resources to have a workplace separate from their home and the combined numbers are probably in the millions.

On December 3, 2008,  not quite 60 years later, the Washington Post published an article called Strategies for Working from Home.  The link to the complete article is here

What it reveals is the wisdom of 1949 updated for the “modern” world.

 Singer 1949:  Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing,

WPost 2008: Many people believe that they lack the discipline to effectively telecommute. They fear that they would be too distracted, lured away from their job duties by household chores, too easily tempted by the television and the bed.

Creating the right mental attitude for work

Singer 1949: When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress…  If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing,

WP ost 2008: Get ready for work in the morning as if you were about to leave your home. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and change out of your pajamas. I am not suggesting that you slip into an Armani suit, but do wear clothing that you would not be embarrassed to be seen in. This exercise will help you to set the stage for a successful day of work.

Discipline and Focus

Singer 1949: Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do… Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

WPost 2008:  Although the challenge of remaining focused without the positive influence of a bustling office environment is very real, I doubt that most telecommuters actually spend their work days watching "The Price Is Right," napping and doing laundry.

Working from or at home effectively has not changed.

It requires discipline, a routine, and the right mental attitude, including having a regular and organized workspace and personal approach. You would not wear PJs to work or work on the couch in the reception area. Your home is your workplace act accordingly so that you can do your best work.

I am like many. Without the full-time day job I needed until my writing pays more, I worked from home. I set up a space and organized my day around a routine that started with job-hunting before I turned my energy to writing, editing (privately and for a small publisher), reading submissions and books for review.  I am blessed in that an unmade bed does not cause me any loss of sleep. I make time each week to go out to hear live, local music and schedule other recreational activities to refresh and recharge.

I haven’t got it down to a science but I am always focused on how to be more productive so that I can achieve my dreams.

Ah but you say, Singer didn’t tell woman that sewing was work…. They used words like enjoy and fun.
If you work from home, no matter how successful you think you are, if you do not enjoy it and have fun… are not reaching your potential.  Time to rethink your choices!

Do you work from home? What do you do? What is your best strategy? Where could you improve?