I like separating work from my personal life, so working from home seemed impossible. Turns out I only needed to tear apart time, space and matter.
Working from home can be its own worst-case scenario for those of us who need work-life boundaries in order to hit peak productivity. Separating professional time, space and matter from the personal is critical for our performance.
I do my best work when there are clear boundaries between the professional and the personal. The very thought of working from home used to send shivers down my spine because I’m a Segmentor. I thrive when I separate ‘work’ from ‘life’.
Now, after almost two years working from home, I’m pleased to share that the transition was surprisingly smooth, and I’m more productive than ever. The critical factor was dedicating energy in the very early days to working out what my needs were then creating separate time, space and matter.
First, I acknowledged my needs. I know I’m a Segmentor — I need work-life boundaries. At the other end of the spectrum sit my Integrator friends who are much more comfortable blending their professional and personal lives. FYI, the WorkLife podcast gives a nice introduction to these archetypes (‘When work takes over your life’ April 2018), as does this Quartz article. In case you’re wondering, apparently “Both segmentation and integration have benefits, as well as drawbacks.” Second, I had motivation. I wanted to be effective in both my professional and personal spheres. Being more productive makes me happy; being happy makes me productive. Third, I figured out which tools would facilitate working from home. This is a combination of digital technologies that support both my day-to-day administration and my professional contributions (I’m part of the ‘knowledge economy’).
Then I just needed to split the Work-From-Home atom into its three components: time; space; and matter. Each needed to be further separated into sub-atomic ‘work’ and ‘life’ particles to enable optimal energy release.