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Wellbeing / Work styles

Hot-desking for soloists

Are you one of those soloists who is most efficient and effective when you sit quietly in your home office and get things done? Or do you prefer hot-desking?

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I have what I consider the perfect career. When I’m not doing face-to-face training, I get to work from home and write training material. And there’s the problem: working from home.

It’s damn near impossible for me to get motivated to actually sit at my desk at home and do any work. There are so many distractions! The cat wants cuddles. And it’s often much more appealing to lie on my very comfy couch and read a motivational and inspiring book than it is to do any work.

In defence of this last one, at least in my mind I am getting some kind of inspiration, even though I’m not actively doing anything I’m getting paid for. And yes, we all need motivational words to make us better people. But the work needs to get done.

Even deadlines aren’t enough to get me focussed. I even deviate from the work to write articles like this one.

Those of you who write for a living may understand where I’m coming from. It’s hard to keep writing for long periods of time. You need regular breaks. You can easily get distracted. Writer’s block is a real and serious affliction.

So I’ve come up with a plan, and I’m sharing it with you in the hope that if you identify with my dilemma you might find some inspiration in it.

A wonderful friend suggested I find a good coffee shop to sit at, and assured me I’d be inspired if I took my laptop with me. I have to admit that the first time I tried it, it was a bit of a disaster. No work got done.

"It’s damn near impossible for me to get motivated to actually sit at my desk at home and do any work. There are so many distractions!"

As soon as I got into the right mind frame, however, it all fell into place. I realised I was not getting anything done at home, and I needed to take this seriously if I ever wanted to get anything done at all.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work styles section.

So now, on the days where I am not training face-to-face, I have a routine that goes a little like this:

  1. I make sure I’m at a coffee shop by 8:00 am to start ‘working’. The location of the coffee shop doesn’t matter. If it’s one a bit further from home, I just leave earlier. My new start work time is 8 o’clock, and I treat it the same as any other job: I can’t be late for work.
  2. I focus on writing and work until 10:15 with no distractions except my flat white and scrambled eggs or other delicious breakfast, made by someone else. (Added bonus: I don’t get distracted by cleaning up afterwards).
  3. I do a gym class at 10:30. I discovered long ago that very early morning gym sessions don’t work in my favour, but doing a class mid-morning really seems to clear my mind.
  4. I’m at a different location for lunch by 12:30, when I start work again and focus on writing for two solid hours.
  5. At 2:30 I pack up and head home. I give the cat a few minutes of cuddles when I arrive, and then work for another three hours. Now it’s easy because I haven’t been home all day and it feels like a welcome change to be there.

During a typical day like this I’ve written for seven hours in total. It doesn’t feel like it at all, my mind remains fresh, and I get a lot more done.

Does hot-desking like this work for you too? Or are you more productive in your own space? Share your comments below.

Alicia Vaughn

is a trainer that specialises in corporate workshops that empower staff to become better managers, trainers and presenters. Her aim is to increase organisational health by encouraging companies to invest in growing their staff.

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