If you’re an entrepreneur spending any amount of time on Facebook, it’s likely you’ve read this “humor” piece from the New Yorker recently: I Work From Home.
I know it’s supposed to be funny in an over-dramatic sense, in the same way that The Hangover represents all bachelor parties and Bridesmaids represents women in weddings.
But as I read it, I became more and more annoyed by the description of this work-from-home entrepreneur who seemingly cannot feed or dress himself, interact with other humans, or remember what sunlight looks like… and who doesn’t actually accomplish work, instead distracted by YouTube and coin counting.
It’s so bad that “Robert” (our entrepreneur in the story) has to call 911 to connect with a human being who tells him how to live his life.
A friend of mine patiently listened to this rant of mine, thinking it wasn’t so bad until I turned the tables. What if, I suggested, this article was about an artist? Someone so incompetent at life that they accidentally ate some paste yesterday (needs glitter), who misses every appointment because they’re off staring at trees and clouds and crying over life’s rich tapestry. What if this artist had to call 911 because the sky was darker than charcoal and this was disconcerting?
My friend, a talented artist who has her life together, understood my ire.
While pieces like this one in the New Yorker are meant to poke fun at our tendencies, to amuse, they’re really just ignorant and silly.
So here’s the thing… I work from home too.
I woke up, on time, with my alarm and got ready for my day. Despite not having meetings in person, I got dressed. Including shoes. My hair is brushed, makeup done, deodorant on, and none of my clothes have indeterminate food stains.
I work at my computer, actually completing deadlines for client work and in my own business. Just because I’m “the boss” doesn’t mean my day is filled with YouTube and other distractions.
Because I’m the boss, I will also take off an hour this afternoon to work out at my gym. I may also sit on the sofa to snuggle my dog Wilson who turns his puppy eyes against me on the regular.
Throughout the day, I’ll drink lots of water and more than one cup of coffee. To keep my energy high for my workout and my brain sharp, I eat real food made in a kitchen. This week, that’s fresh squeezed orange juice, scrambled eggs, and toast, and all the fixings for a salad.
I’ve never shoveled spoonfuls of chocolate frosting into my mouth like “Robert” does in this story. But there are some dark chocolate peanut butter cups in my fridge.
If you read the story and relate more to Robert than you are comfortable admitting, then change is entirely up to you. In January, I started some new personal goals, set up in 30-day challenges, and making small shifts is the key to long-lasting change. Here are some of the challenges I’ve done and am considering (feel free to adopt):
- Get dressed every single day, including shoes
- Make your bed every morning as soon as you leave it
- Take your dog for a walk daily or simply walk on your own
- Clean the sink of all dirty dishes nightly before going to bed
- Take the mail out of the mailbox daily and open all of it
- Drink 4 bottles of water every day
- Spend 20 minutes reading for personal enjoyment or business growth daily
- Sit down to eat, with food on a plate and utensils, at least twice a day
- Eat meals without touching your phone, watching TV, or being on your computer
- Take the social media apps off your phone or at minimum remove notifications
- Move your body at least 20 minutes a day, every day
- Find a workout routine that you enjoy and commit yourself to getting out of the house
Fellow entrepreneurs, we don’t have to be like “Robert” – a sad caricature of someone who works from home and is therefore anti-social, lazy, anxious and helpless. You can be empowered, healthy, take regular showers, and accomplish great things all from a home office.