Take Your God Damn PJs Off

; and, wear a pair of real pants to your home office.

There is one thing that I have been practicing very strictly since my very first day of working from home — When I walk into my home office I look ready to present at a TED talk. This means that my face is fully camera ready (for recording lectures and video conferences with clients) and that I am wearing a pair of real pants.

Do I have to? No.
Do I want to? Not really.

So why do I? Why should you?

  1. You can’t be a boss if you don’t feel like one.

When you work from home, whether you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, remote employee, writer, or working from home while you are on maternity or paternity leave, you are in charge of your schedule and tasks. No one tells you what to do. No one looks over your shoulder to make sure you are working. That means, you are the boss of your own. But, you can’t manage yourself if you don’t feel like a boss. I am not saying that you need to put on a full suit (and if putting on a full suit makes you more productive, go for it!). But, the simplest things like taking a shower and putting on clothes that make you feel good can help you jump start your day.

2. Having a routine is key to Carpe Diem.

Chefs call it ‘Mise en place’ — placing all the ingredients and tools to in the right place in preparation for the day. Mise en place applies not just for ingredients, but also for action items. When you are orchestrating your own schedule and tasks, this preparatory step is key to seize the day.

For me, I cannot start my day without getting coffee. My day does not and will not begin without coffee. Then, I clean my desk. I usually rush downstairs to my kids at 6pm sharp, so I don’t have time to clean before I wrap up my day. My partner wakes up early to work and many of my students work on assignments after business hours, so I would usually have some messages on Slack and emails. As soon as I sit down, I check them to see if there is anything I need to pay immediate attention. Then, I write down 3–5 most important tasks that I must do. It is kind of like turning your GPS on for the day. This preparatory step takes me no more than 20 minutes.

Even the days I don’t have any conference calls, I still put on real clothes before I walk into my home office.

3. Home office, too, is an office.

Your home office is your workplace. Regardless of how many people are there (or not there), it is where you conduct business. Think of it this way. You wear yoga pants when you go to a yoga session. You wear bathing suits when you go swimming. You wear a tuxedo for a gala. So, put on a nice pair of work pants (whatever makes you look and feel good) to conduct business. Yes, saving money on drycleaning is definitely a benefit of WFH. But, being unproductive or less productive can be costly.

Yes. Sitting down at your desk or on your couch in your pajamas while drafting client emails is very tempting. However, working from home, successfully, takes discipline. And, surpringly, it is just the string of these simple acts and habits that helps you to have more productive and successful days of working from home.

So, take those god damn PJs off and put on some real pants, and have an amazingly productive day working from home! Also, let us know what you do get fired up and ready to go.