Recently it seems the whole world has learned to work remotely. We often don’t know if a person is wearing pants based on the top half we see on Zoom. With so many online connections, we seldom have to choose between pjs and performance, but is blurring the line blurring our success?
Rest and Performance
There’s two kinds of success at hand (for this discussion): rest and performance. Rest is important as it’s part of recharging. Even our i-Things need to recharge. We shouldn’t be surprised or hide the fact that we do too. Performance is important too or else how could we excel, get paid, and make a living? Let’s break those down a bit more, but first, a word on outward appearance and how it affects your mind.
Carmen Lopez points out in her Craving Current article, “What you wear directly influences your thoughts and behaviors.” She goes to mention a 2004 study where a team tested performance on participants based on what they were given to wear. Those who were given lab coats, for example, always seemed to out-perform those without them. Our brains may understand the task, but our minds are more motivated based on outside factors such as (but not only) clothing.
That being said, we can’t be go-go-go all the time. We need both pjs and performance in our lives. Being successful comes with a little self-check once in a while too. So, it’s good to have a routine for both types of days.
We certainly need to recharge sometimes and that means an occasional pj day. That’s totally fine. In fact, one day of rest a week is recommended… even the Bible says God rested on the seventh day! Let’s get over the fact that we need rest and just plan it. Maybe the kids are in school or it’s a vacation day, but you have nowhere to go and no appointments to keep. Going to stay comfy? Great! Here’s some rules:
- Dress comfy or stay in pjs – Yup! No nice clothes allowed! Be relaxed down to your slippers.
- No appointments – Seriously, none, or it’s not a full rest day. This means no zoom, no calls, nothing. Stay in.
- No work – No work means NO WORK! Laundry can wait, cleaning can wait, emails CAN wait. Yes, yes they can! Let people know you’re off and unreachable that day. They’ll be just fine.
- Restful activities only – During your “rest” time, only do enjoyable and in-home activities such as reading, listening to podcasts, watching movies, or building a puzzle. This is not a day of success in performance but in success of recharging.
It’s a day to perform! Maybe your performance is going to work, cleaning house, or working from home. Whatever it is, get up and get ready for the day. There’s some ground rules for your optimal performance day no matter where it takes place.
- Get up on time and get actually dressed – Real clothes, seriously. Doesn’t have to be fancy but it can’t be pjs.
- Morning routine – Move about as if you are physically going somewhere, even if you’re not. Brush teeth, eat breakfast, do all the things! Do them all in a row so they’re done and you’re ready to perform!
- Have a plan – If you’re physically going to work, then you likely have a plan or routine. If you’re working from home or doing chores, make a plan. This keeps you on task and moving. (Also, plan breaks just like employers are supposed to offer.)
- Have an end time – Even though you may be home, have a time in mind at which your “work” day ends. Maybe it’s five or six, or you start late and it’s eight, but have a stop time. Working employees to the bone is not acceptable, so be a good boss to yourself.
It’s time to cover some rule breaking. Seriously, it’s totally understandable once in a while. If it’s laundry day on your rest day, a couple trips to the machines won’t ruin it, but be sure to get plenty of “nothing else” done. Maybe there’s one important appointment or you really want to go for a walk on your rest day and need to wear real clothes. Just keep the general rules in mind and train your body to know the difference.
Seriously, it’s okay to have a rest day but make sure your whole self gets the memo. Also, if you’re going to work from home, get yourself in that mode from the start. Psychologically, we respond to what we wear; it really affects how we feel. Physiologically, we have different energy when we get up and dressed and ready verses lounging about in pjs. Making the distinction in how we dress and what we do for the day helps our mind separate a rest day from a work day.
So, each morning, be sure to let your whole self know: is it pjs or performance?