My family once lived 15 minutes away from my husband’s work but moved households to be 10 minutes closer. We just don’t believe in commuting unless we have to. But how do you make the mind/body transition from your home life to your work life if you work from home?
You use Jedi Mind/Body tricks to trigger your work day, that’s how.
1. Cue the Music
I find that starting a work day with a Pump-Me-Up song is just the ticket to get me in the zone. I could wax forever on why listening to ESPN Presents: Jock Jams is perfectly reasonable way to start the day, but really, anything that empowers or sets the mood you need is the right kind of transitional music. By that same token, ending the day with a transition song can cue your mind and body that it’s time to transition to all of the stuff you left behind in the morning — even if your laundry was really just in the next room.
Here’s my favorite Pump Me Up song:
And a good day-ender for a late-afternoon swan song.
2. Cue the Nose
Any number of smelly things can be used to launch your work day, especially any of the essential oils known to be particularly energizing, like Peppermint. Check out Aromaweb’s list of energizing essential oils and blends to explore, OR, simply walk outside to the garden, where the mint is growing like a monster and stuff your face into it for a minute. An olfactory work cue might be just the ticket. And the more you use the same method, the more it becomes habit, the more smelling the thing gets you in the mood to forget the rest.
I’m not a great fan of the visual — I spend so much time staring at the computer anyway, but if you don’t actually have a commute, and you don’t have the visual transition of having the world fly by you before you start work, consider taking a short walk. Do the same walk every day, just as you would probably take the same route to work. And if you can add in some smells, all the better.
If you would have showered for work at an office you really should be showering for work at home, too. Wash away the rest of yesterday! Or, barring that option, consider simply having a pair of “work shoes” that you wear while working at home. For one thing, feeling “dressed for work” makes you more able to create a barrier to your home life (even if it’s five feet away). Here’s a great blog post from Bridgette Raes about dressing for working at home. Lately I’ve been putting on these shoes to work at my desk. Seasonal? No. I should be wearing flip flops in this weather. But when you’re making business calls, you had best wear shoes!
Do you really need the caffeine or is it the bitter taste of coffee that you associate with Business Time? Okay, it might be the caffeine, but having a taste cue associated with your work is always a good thing. Especially if it is the taste you associate with getting busy at your desk. And since taste and smell are intimately associated with each other, its best to pick something with an aromatic component — i.e. no icky cheap coffee, but a single varietal, tastes like blueberries awesome single origin coffee. I get mine from Wire and Flag coffee in McMinnville.
I would love to hear any of your ideas for how to transition from life to desk and back again! Follow me on Twitter @emilygrosvenor.