About 1½ month ago, I started working flexible work hours, often from home. It means that I’m in charge of my own little work area, and that I get to decide a lot of things. For example when and how I work.
It’s been a really interesting experience. I’ve wanted to try something different from working 9-5 in a giant office for a very long time. However, I’ve also found out that several of my dreams and hopes of working this way turned out to be more complicated than I thought.
Here are 5 different ideas I had about working like this, and how it has turned out in reality (Hover or tap the cards to flip them).
1. I will get so much more time to exercise because I can do it in the middle of the day
I will have lots of time to do all the things I didn't have time for before. I'll go swimming, do a daily yoga routine, and go for walks to easen up my desktop-job body.
No, except for the swimming part
Breaking my work flow feels absolutely horrible. If I'm in the middle of a task, I work on that task and forget the time around me. If I want to exercise I either have to do it early in the morning, just before dinner, or some time after dinner late in the evening. Just like before. The only exception is that I can now go swimming when everyone else is working, and that's awesome.
2. I will work less but be more efficient
I control how I use my day, so I don't have to go to a million stupid meetings all the time. Instead, I will work way more efficient, but use less time working. That will mean more spare time for me!
Not at all
Since I am responsible for my workday and output, I also end up working the entire workday to get as much done as possible. I spend less time on social media and haven't touched my online game that I've played religiously every day for the last 6 years.
3. My diet will be so much better
Since I won't depend on what is being served in the canteen that day, I can enjoy healthy and nutritious lunches and snacks. I also won't be tempted by all that office cake and candy.
Kind of true
The problem is that I forget the time, so I don't notice that it's lunchtime until my stomach churns and my blood sugar levels are acting up. So I open the fridge, stare into it and, low on sugar, take the first the best lunch I can find. That means I have to stock up on extremely easy lunch options if I'll avoid desperately scavenging the kitchen for some quick energy.
4. I'll work in interesting places to stimulate my mind
I can go wherever I want to, so I'll work from a new and interesting location every day. I'll chill in my garden, go to the park, to museums, and to work collectives.
Turns out that it's really friggin hard to work on a computer outside. Plus, my home office is just so much better suited for my work. I need a large screen for editing websites and video recordings, a mouse, a keyboard and a comfortable chair. I can't find that at a random café.
5. I'm going to love working skewed hours
I can finally work when I feel like it. The days of staring at a screen, pretending to work because my tasks are already done or I'm waiting for someone else, are over! No more bad conscience for lacking energy to find new tasks to do.
I really love working when it fits me and my time. And if there's nothing to do because I'm waiting for someone else to finish their task, I just work later. The freedom to go for a walk or a swim in the middle of the day is priceless. And surprisingly, because I'm responsible for my areas, there's always something to do.
So even if most of my ideas didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, it has nonetheless been a lovely experience.
The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that I really need to be strictly organized in order to fulfill my goals of both working, being physically active, and eating well. I mostly don’t succeed. Time just flies by. I’ve considered that perhaps I need actual timers for the different blocks of my day. But timing and planning every minute of my day also defeats the purpose of working flexible..
I’ll probably fall into some kind of routine. Or maybe the answer lies in all of those work-life-productivity-upstart-company articles that I find on Medium. One is allowed to hope.