“Is it the future already?” Remembering to let yesterday’s truths go

My Grandmother is not feeling so well these days – she’s been in and out of the hospital twice and felt unsafe settling back into her environment of living alone in her appartment. I’ve spontaneously decided to move in with her for a week and to help her take care of some chores as well as accompany her to doctor’s appointments to make sure she’s taken seriously: Not all medical professionals seem to be all that invested in the well-being of a 95 year old patient, I’ve had to find out.

My Grandmother lives in Southern Sweden, more than 1 000 kilometers away from our home. Can you imagine what it took to make it possible for me to just leave the office behind and drive here, out of the blue? If not, let me make it easy for you: It took a laptop and a mobile phone.

So now I’m working at my Grandmother’s, and while things are a little different from the desk at home, they are certainly not worse in any way – this is my office this morning:

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I’m fine with this – and not only is my work is not suffering but the opposite is true: Without the distractions and endless possibilities of my usual environment I’ve gotten around to just get stuff done that I’ve been putting of for weeks!

“Yeah well, you run your own company and your job this Monday morning is to write a blog post – this just won’t work for anyone in a ‘real’ job! How does this even begin to apply to my situation?” -Readers of this article

Good question! I understand where you’re coming from, but bear with me for a minute and ask yourself: Is this impossible for you because that’s just how it is – or simply because that’s what we believe is true? Thinking back on the jobs I myself have held as a regular employee, there is not a single one among them for which – in today’s time and with today’s technology – this wouldn’t have been possible:
Personnel planning, controlling, project management, copywriting, sales, account management – sure, all of them profit from regular facetime with peers and clients but the majority of the work is sitting in front of a screen/by a phone and creating value by being creative in one form or another. And thinking back, I believe most of my bosses used to stress the importance of not letting yourself get side-tracked by your colleagues while doing so …

Ironically, the most I’ve ever been allowed to work remotely has been a mind-boggling two days per month – one of the reasons I left my last job and founded my own consulting business. And trying to convince anyone I could actually do quality work while staying with Grandma in a different country? Unlikely.

One of the reasons we still see situations such as this so rarely, I believe, is that there is the very deeply ingrained idea that work must be the number one priority in life. Somehow, you’re expected to switch off all other aspects of your life and turn yourself into a persona that is reduced to a role or function in the corporate context from 9 to 5. Don’t let any personal stuff creep in, it will dilute the quality of your output!
Of course this doesn’t work because it negates human nature and as a result we get a workforce that feels more and more disconnected from itself and its work – the economical costs of this are in the billions.
This week I’m doing things differently, aligning my professional actions with what my soul tells me is the right thing to do – and, as I mentioned above, one of the results is that I’m getting more done.

So how does this apply to your situation? Take this article as an invitation to probe the way you and your team get things done – and remember to take a step back once in a while to contemplate whether it’s really necessary to bite whatever bullet is in front of you or if maybe the world has evolved to such a degree that you can just toss it out. We managed to do so with the fax machine, too, right?

Have a good week, wherever you are!

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