What Do You Do When Your Life is on Pause?
The goal of PAUSE MORE. RUSH LESS is to suggest practical ways to “insert pauses” into your daily routine—voluntarily. Looks like Covid-19 beat me to it. And, the virus single-handedly flipped the script. Like it or not, we’ve all had our lives put on pause involuntarily—and simultaneously! Suddenly, we’re all working from home. Shopping from home. Practically confined to home. So, what do we do now? How do we make this “mandatory pause” productive?
How long can we clean out closets, desk drawers, filing cabinets or the garage? And how long is the novelty of working from home going to last? What happens when this aspect of our home captivity gets frustrating or unproductive? Then what?
Certainly there are no easy answers, and I will be talking about how we can make pauses in our lives memorable in future issues of this newsletter. But for now, may I ask you a question regarding how you will adapt to your working from home gig?
What if, there I go, a “what if” question. Stay with me. What if, it was YOUR idea to work from home? In other words, if working from home eventually becomes tedious, lonely, or distracting, how would this experience be completely different if it were your idea, and it wasn’t abruptly thrust upon you? Think about it. Ever notice how most situations seem better, and somehow more rewarding, when it’s your idea?
When my sons, David and Mark, were young it was my idea to work from home to start a home-based business. I pulled the plug on corporate America and launched an advertising copywriting and executive speechwriting business. I said goodbye to a good salary, a steady paycheck, and a generous corporate insurance plan and set out to chase my dream of living the life of a freelance writer. (Not the same as a global pandemic you say? You’re right, what is? But hear me out.)
I set up shop in my home office and began to adapt to my 10-second commute down a flight of stairs and the interruptions that invariably come with young kids who believed a visible dad was an available dad, and if he can work at home, he can certainly play at home—anytime, right?
After a few serious adjustments, agreements, peace treaties, and ground rules about when to interrupt a writer at work, the new normal eventually became something sacred—a time of building family traditions.
Backyard football games became our trademark. Short ice creams runs became a stimulating part of our summer ritual. Nature hikes, complete with brown bag lunches and walking sticks, became a norm. A father available during the daylight hours became a novelty.
Make no mistake, my deadlines set the agenda, but flexibility was the bonus to my work at home life. I made up my time away from my work after the boys went to bed. And during those years, when the boys were fast asleep, I would be back in my office in the stillness of the night realizing, in a deeper sense, what I was working for. Who I was working for. And where I was drawing my inspiration from.
Your situation will undoubtedly be different with meetings online, but you get the idea. You will likely have more flexibility than ever before. So, blend flexibility with creativity and your new reality of work from home could become more than you ever imagined.
My sons are adults now. David is a creative writer in marketing and social media with his company. Mark is a senior product manager. Like you, they are both working at home during this crisis. When I look back at this slice of my life, the work-at-home years were a bonding time with my kids. I would work at home almost 10 years. Today, I would not trade the relationships forged with my sons during this window of their childhoods.
I certainly don’t know how this work-from-home-world is going to work out for you because it was thrust upon you, but if it gets frustrating or overwhelming, may I challenge you to reframe this time of your life with the question I posed earlier? What if working from home was your idea? How would it be different? How would you make it better? Richer? Meaningful? And memorable?
More details of my "work at home life" were published in an article titled, "Time of Possession." It was published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book titled, Reboot Your Life. You can find the full story here on my website under the NONFICTION tab.
Please feel free to ask me a question, leave a comment, or join my mailing list by subscribing to my FREE newsletter, PAUSE MORE. RUSH LESS. below. We’ll talk about how to slow down your life to live it more fully.