So Keith’s away, and it’s our turn to play! A great big thanks to Mr Robinson for letting me play in his neighbourhood while he’s relaxing on the beach. It’s going to be tough filling his shoes, but I’ll do my best.
As Keith mentioned, I’m a designer and marketing guy. I have a particular interest in understanding the mechanics of branding. I’m fascinated by how our brains remember and interpret events, and how our efforts in design and marketing impact purchase decisions. (If this sounds even remotely interesting, you may want to read a post I wrote back in April titled The B Word)
This interest in making sense of my own thought patterns has led to some insight into how and why I go through periods of high and low productivity.
Like Keith, I work from home. I’m pretty new to it as well, with less than a year of full time non-commuting under my belt. I’ve managed to learn a thing or two along the way. I’d like to add my own tip to the excellent list you started a couple of days ago. It’s this:
Stuck on a problem? Move. Staring at the screen? Move. Not sure what to do next? Move. Brain down? Move.
When you work in an office, there are a ton of reasons to get up from your chair. When you work from home, most of those reasons disappear. I’ve found it takes tremendous effort to remember to lift my butt off the chair. As a reminder, I’ve got a post-it stuck to the side of my monitor that reads “Move your ass!”. It works! I try to get up when switching between clients too. I find it helps mentally close one file and open another.
Moving gets the blood flowing, which in turn gets the ideas going. I keep five or six blank sheets of newsprint taped to my office wall so that I can jot down notes when I’m moving around my space. It’s an incredibly effective tool, and one I highly recommend.
Moving gets my body involved a bit in my work too – forgive me if this sounds all new-agey and grosses you out – but living exclusively in my head, I find my ideas can get stale. Moving my body helps to remind me that our human motives are not purely mental; a fact that’s particularly tough to remember when I haven’t moved for 14 hours!
Finally, moving keeps me healthy. When I first started working from home full time, I was thrilled by the extra couple of hours I had saved from the evil commuting monster. I used those hours at my keyboard, where I promptly developped a nasty case of repetitive-stress injury. Moving gives me an opportunity to shake my hands out, stretch my shoulders, and give my hands a bit of a break.
Ok, I’m going for a walk!