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Re-write: Remote!

Remote: 1) far away, removed, as a remote island; 2) a TV control device that sometimes hides itself.

With so many working from home, how can we avoid Tom Peters' prediction from decades ago: "Digitization will be a professional dream and a personal nightmare"?


Written Broadway plays start with "Setting." Setting includes the physical (i.e., "Where's this taking place?" "What does the audience see when the curtain goes up?") as well as intangibles ("What's the mood or tone?"). Let's begin here: Do you have positive or negative feelings towards working at home? How is your current set-up? Can you create a space that you use exclusively for work?

I'm writing this on an old laptop. I don't use this laptop to check e-mail, I don't surf the 'net, or read the news on it. Zero notifications. I work in a small corner of my bedroom. I am training myself: "When you sit down at this table, with this laptop, it's time to write. To create."

For some, working from home is a godsend, an escape from office interruptions. But recall the Spanish saying, "The best part of the sunshine is the shade." When there's no hustle-and-bustle to escape from or get back to, remote work can increase loneliness and lower productivity. And many prefer the camaraderie of the office. What's important to you? Check in on your views about working from home, as they can effect the setting you want to create. Be aware of your own thoughts and feelings about this.


One of my favorite business writers is Dan Pink. In his 2018 book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, he suggests we discover our chronotype. Are you an "early bird," a "night owl," or what he calls a "third bird," someone who's most alert in the middle of the day? Once you know your chronotype, set a schedule that makes the most sense for you. Here's a CNBC article that summarizes Pink's main points and helps you discover what to work on and, as his title says, "When."

Steamlining or Slacking

One of my clients asks his staff for 5 solid, focused hours of work per day. And, he adds, "Almost no one can actually do that." From home, you just might be able to. Ask yourself if the activity you are engaged in truly adds to the bottom line. By "bottom line," I mean the last line of the Income Statement, where a company or division tallies up revenues and subtracts expenses, leaving "the bottom line." You may find it easier than you think to cut out some of what you've been doing.


If you have done a "What's important to me" exercise, I bet "health" sits at or near the top of your priority list. With so many working (or shuttered) at home, physical and psychological health can take a hit. I am making sure to exercise (a good book to check out is Your Body Is Your Gym by Peter Paulson); I also meditate (TM) and practice Qigong. And I connect with friends and distant family, scheduled around (not during) those 5-6 hours of focused work.

The odds that remote work will last several days, weeks, or even months are not "remote." So like Eric Clapton pleaded, in his song Layla, "Make the best of the situation, before I finally go insane."

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