Working from home may sound nice, but there are quite a few traps you can fall into. Journalist Jeannette Jonker explores how she and other work-from-homers avoid the pittfalls.
California-based writer Alex Soojung-Kim Pang argues for working fewer hours and taking more breaks in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. ‘When you examine the lives of history’s most creative figures, you are immediately confronted with a paradox: they organize their lives around their work, but not their days,’ he writes.
He looks at Charles Dickens who liked taking his dogs for a walk during the day, at Winston Churchill who would sleep halfway through his workday, and Roald Dahl who would deliberately stop writing when he was in the middle of a good sentence (because then he could start again the next day in a structured way).
‘They all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed and an almost superhuman capacity to focus,’ Pang writes. ‘Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.’
The book makes it clear that people today—despite our desire to stay busy and work non-stop—need to set aside time to rest. Rest is no longer a necessity, but an opportunity. (Think about this the next time you want to do some exercise in the middle of your workday.)
- You can find more tips on working from home in Issue 22.
Text Jeannette Jonker Photography Bonnita Postma