I work for myself. And I have a great boss – most requests for training get approved, I work flexible hours, and if I really don’t want to take on a particular job, I don’t have to. I get pretty much anything I ask for from my boss.
However generous my boss is, I realised the other day that he may not be doing everything he can to help me do my Great Work. Because I am not asking for everything I need. In particular, I don’t (yet) have a workplace that really supports me in doing the best work I can. (I was inspired to think about this by hearing a reference to “the most fun workplace in human history”.*)
My best ever chance to have the most fun workplace in human history is right now – when I am my own boss, and I work mainly from home. Who else in my life is going to be so motivated to give me everything I need and want to get my work done?
So what would I ask for if I could have anything I want to support me in doing my Great Work? Here are some things I thought of:
- an uncluttered, calm and tasteful work environment – nice pictures on the walls;
- great coffee, available on demand;
- someone to do all the Good Work for me that has to be done, but which is not my Great Work (including sales and marketing, bookkeeping and financial planning);
- membership of a gym to help me keep in shape; and
- an in-house café serving healthy, tasty food.
And then I asked myself how much of this can I have right away. So in the past few weeks I have:
- de-cluttered my house and my home office, selling/donating/recycling/binning things I no longer need or want;
- hung up the on my walls the pictures that were in my storage cupboard for so long that I had forgotten they were there;
- bought, installed and filled the furniture and storage I need so that I now have a place for everything and everything in its place;
- got back to inbox zero on a daily basis, and am working now on emptying my physical in-tray;
- got back into exercising twice a day (at home rather than in a gym);
- taken the time to cook a proper lunch a couple of times a week;
- invested in a coffee maker that makes a thermos jug of coffee in one go – so I can take it up to my study when I start work in the morning, and avoid having to pop down to make a fresh cup every half-hour or so;
- researched local book-keeping services;
- started using an ironing service on an occasional basis to free up time for me when I am busy.
All of these are things I could have done at any time in the past 6 months, but because I stopped noticing the environment I was working in, they either never occurred to me, or didn’t seem to be priorities.
So I’ve also made a note in my ‘to do’ list to review my work environment again at the start of next year. I wonder what small things I’ll notice then that will improve my working environment straight away?
Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, what one thing could you do this week that would help you have the most amazing workplace possible? Leave me a comment below to let me know; I’d love to hear your thoughts.
* The phrase comes from Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job [Amazon associate link] by Dennis W Bakke. I heard the book’s publisher Mark Pearson use the phrase in a podcast interview with Michael Bungay Stanier.