I have been self employed several times during my life. The first time was whilst I was still studying to get my degree in Graphic design. I saw an advert in a local paper for the children’s Fun French Club in Croydon. I called the lady giving the classes and asked her if she needed the help of a designer/ illustrator to create learning materials. She said yes, and I worked for her for over a year.
The second time was when I was 29/30. I had just moved to Norway. I now had 10 years experience working in design but zero experience in speaking Norwegian. I enrolled myself in school to learn the language and worked with both Norwegian and international clients to help pay the bills.
This time around, although technically not self-employed (yet) I am very much heading in that direction. I am spending a lot of my time preparing to become self-employed. Whilst technically not being employed at all.
These three stints in to independent business all have something in common, and it comes down to one crucial defining concept. The one thing that I know will either make or break my mojo. It will determine whether I work effectively or let myself succumb to the temptations of daytime television or Facebook. That one thing that can hold me back from being brilliant… My pyjamas. Yes, you read that correctly… My success, or lack of it on a daily basis is directly and proportionately affected, by how quickly I get out of my pyjamas in the morning. And just for the record, quickly hopping out of my PJs and in to a pair of jogging pants does not count as ‘getting dressed’. No, my motivation only ignites upon a full costume change. We’re talking tights, a dress and probably some jewellery, at least earrings. Make up is obligatory of course.
It is only then I feel fit to join the human race and look them squarely in the eye, with the confidence that I have my proper grown up undies pulling in my mummy tummy. Then I can sit and focus on the task at hand. I will not go near the television, I will not pick up a book or open Facebook (for a quick look to see what everyone else is doing, like their lives are more interesting). No, I will work as if I REALLY mean it, I will do a decent job of being organised and structured and I will actually get the job done. I will be proud of what I accomplish and be motivated to jump out of bed the next day and repeat that positive cycle.
If you have a regular 9-5 job then you’re probably reading this and thinking that I’m just lazy or smelly or something. I promise you that I am neither of those. I am awake somewhere between 6am-7am, that’s what having 2 pre-schoolers in the house will do. I shower twice a day, again a child based necessity as my allotted timeslot for showering in the mornings is from precisely 7.45-7.48am. So I tend to indulge myself in the evening with a slightly less manic shower before I go to bed.
No it is not laziness that can keep me in my PJs longer than truly necessary, but a misguided instinct to get to work as quickly as possible. I will maybe fool myself that if I start earlier then I will get more done… But this is seldom the case. This is really only setting myself up for a disappointing day of little (or sometimes no) real accomplishments and a confidence crippling annoyance with myself.
So I put it to those of you that also work from home, whether you’re working as a creative or an academic, businessman/ woman or self employed blogger extraordinaire. Get properly dressed each day. You owe it to yourself and to your projects, to start each day feeling properly equipped to face the world. Even if the chances of you stepping outside the house are small. You will still benefit mentally from spending a little extra time each day prepping yourself to work as though you mean it!