Like many working parents, summer creates a big disruption in my workflow as I add my kids, out of school and busy as ever, to the daily demands that I juggle. More grocery shopping is required. More meal preparation is required. I'm suddenly taking a break during the workday to run my kids to their daytime activities. The house is dirtier, there is more laundry, you get the point, and many of you are shaking your heads in agreement and despair.
This year different I arrived at the middle of summer break with my mental and physical resources depleted. I felt less creative, less focused, less productive, and let's face it - less happy. Then after weeks of working out of my home instead of heading to the office, I took advantage of a break in my daughters' schedule and went to the office for the day. And as Dinah Washington sang, "What Difference A Day Makes." Suddenly I was back to my old self, feeling energized and invigorated by my work and happy to walk away from the demands of my house for a few hours.
For almost fifteen years, I had worked out of my home, only signing an office lease this January. I had not realized how accustomed I had become to having a primary work location that was not inside my home. I just assumed that returning to the work-at-home model I had known for years would be no big deal. Instead, I've realized that my office has become this bright spot in my life where I enjoy getting lost completely in my work.
Reflecting on this, "A Change Would Do You Good" by Sheryl Crow (1996) plays in my head. [This is typical for me as there is the perfect song for any given circumstance in my world.] Change is at the core of all the coaching work that I have done in my career, so I feel appropriate in calling myself an expert on the subject. In spite of this, I can tell you that seeing the change that you need in your own life can be difficult. A colleague from the Women's Networking Group to which I belong encouraged me to make the change to an office space. She could see more clearly than me, the value I would find in having a dedicated workspace and I am grateful to her for sharing this advice.
Whether you are thinking about yourself or the team of people that you lead, if things are feeling stagnant, you can know with confidence that a change would do you good. Studies have shown that people think more freely, are more creative, and are better able to listen and consider alternative opinions when they leave their regular work environment and meet off-site. Taking time away from daily tasks to focus on personal development, industry conferences, or a mini-vacation is consistently reported as rejuvenating to problem solving and creativity. So jump in with both feet and shake yourself loose from the constraints of habit and the ease of the familiar. Even the smallest change can Ignite Your Extraordinary - why wait!