Out of Sight, Out of Mind
When I first moved into the apartment, I set up a temporary desk (a side table actually) in the bedroom. It stuck out a little and if I wanted to shut the door I had to move the desk. Friends suggested not having an office in my bedroom at all saying, “You’ll never get away from your work.”
For many people who work from home, it is hard to make the distinction between “work time” and “me time.” I’m one of them. It’s not uncommon for me to be working at 6AM on a Sunday. On the other hand, I’ve taken many a bike ride in the middle of a Wednesday. I once had a boss who said, “When you’re on, you’re on, and when you’re off, you’re off,” meaning that when you’re working you give 100%, and when you’re not working, you should be fully off, renewing your energy. I don’t always follow that advice. But I should.
Now I can.
Last week I installed a fold-down desk (really a fold-down table) from IKEA that fits perfectly in my “office.” I did this to save space, but it turns out, when the desk is folded down it’s like a sign telling me, “Office is Closed.” After only a week, I’ve embraced this signal, feeling like I can actually “shut down” mentally, and am no longer tempted to get one more thing done. And sure, while I’ve gained back space in the bedroom, with the desk in the folded down position it looks like an interesting art installation on the wall.
Many folks today set up their “offices” in Starbucks, Barnes and Noble or even on trains. We open our laptops and voila, instant office. And when we’re done, we fold up the laptops and in that instant it’s like we’ve closed the office. Just as crossing things off a list may make you feel accomplished, “closing up” shop for the day feels pretty good too.