Brain Science – Episode #15

Working from home

balancing & blending your life and work from home

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Given all of the recent changes and adjustments many individuals have made to working remotely, Mireille and Adam discuss some of the relevant aspects of working from home. How do you develop habits that work for you to be the most productive? Which factors make a difference to be successful in navigating challenges that emerge and how can you develop ways of staying socially connected while being physically distant?


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I don’t know about you, but my whole entire spectrum of everything right now is colored by Coronavirus. Everything that’s happening, all the change that’s taking place… My bubble, and everyone that I speak with - it’s the only topic on mind. What about you?

Yeah, most certainly. I feel as though it is simply this perpetual change that’s just all-encompassing. It’s been quite the whirlwind with making adjustments, both at home and with my kids out of school, and work, and being in the helping profession and interfacing with people… Especially with what is going on in terms of people’s physical health, it is apt to produce other issues in terms of mental health, too.

Yeah. What’s even more interesting to me is that for so many the new normal is working from home… But not for everybody. There’s been a large population that has already been working from home. I’m one of them. So for me, aside from a few things, not much has changed in terms of work, and life, and balancing all that.

Obviously, my wife and my kids are at home with me all day. I work from home, I have a home studio… The thing that’s really changed is they don’t leave. My son used to go to pre-school; they would go and do activities… So they were home like 70% of the time, versus 100%. And that’s the difference, is just that they don’t leave, and we don’t leave to go do things. We’d go out to eat, or go do fun things on the weekends… So this last week has been colored by just the fact that they never leave, and neither do I.

Right?! Well, I think we can’t help but look at the way in which this experience with Coronavirus is changing how we interface with one another… And yeah, we’ve had a number of different shifts. I was mainly live, face-to-face with patients, and kids in school, and husband working, which all of that entire apple cart has been upset… I’m trying to make accommodations, and it affects all people. As of within the last 24, I am now going to be full-time working from home as well.

[04:09] Which is way different for someone like you.

It is. So with that, it’s involved a steep learning curve over “How do I function within the constraints of state and federal laws?” Because I care about people, and of all times that I think people need support, this is one of them.

Yeah, for sure.

But I am beyond grateful for these changes, because there have been a number of different constraints for years, which has made it more challenging for people to receive psychological services from remote locations. So the fact that this whole experience has opened up that door and that I’m still able to see clients through a different medium, I am beyond grateful to be able to help people in that way.

And one of the biggest challenges there for you and them is this missing data component. We’ve talked about this before. This idea that if you’re not face-to-face, you can’t see body language etc. You’re missing some data, just to sort of have a full picture of someone’s state. So this is a new normal for you and a new normal for them, but still you’ve got this missing data component.

Yeah. And we’ve talked about the value and importance of resiliency, with figuring out how to get back up and how to continue to navigate things when obstacles emerge… So one of the things that I think is incredibly important is looking at “How do we simply make modifications around the way in which we communicate and interface?” So even though I don’t have the full face-to-face with somebody live in my office, there’s opportunities to see more of their face, and discrepancies between either what they’re saying or how they’re saying a thing and their facial expressions…

But it’s interesting, because technology isn’t all the same in terms of its stability. If somebody’s live in front of you, you don’t have hiccups in terms of Wi-Fi signals, or delayed with words… So it just creates other nuances to some of those social exchanges, which is interesting.

Yeah. So we have a lot of people going to work, but not going to work… Right?

You’ve got this mandatory stay-home, this term “social distancing”, which I’ve actually heard it be said – I forget what it was called… Matt Mullenweg said it, and I’ll have to check out his blog while we’re talking, to confirm… But it wasn’t social distancing, it was just on this idea that we still have a relationship and it’s not about socially distancing, it’s about physically distancing. That’s what it was - physical distancing, versus socially.

I like that nuance.

Because we’re still humans, you know?

Yeah. And I think this is really important as we talk about remote work experiences… I think for a lot of people it’s involved a sort of learning curve of going “What works for me, and how do I create that work-life blend/balance, wherein I still get to see people?” This is why in my area in the North-West here there are more and more pop-ups with remote locations where people from all different kinds of work arenas can come to the same place and pay even for a spot. One day a week, two days a week or more, to be able to interface with other people.

Because there are just these sort of idiosyncratic experiences when we are face-to-face with people – or maybe even a better word is haphazard; they just happen, without planning… Like watercooler chat. Or somebody was walking down the hall past your office and they tripped on accident. We lose those sort of social experiences when we’re not face to face. And yet, they’re very necessary and very helpful to being human and doing our lives.

[08:30] Yeah, Matt says “I’ve really had enough of this term social distancing. That is not all we are looking for, is it? We should be looking for physical distancing. In these times of rampant loneliness, disconnection, and lack of empathy and compassion, we need the opposite. We need social connecting.”

Yes, I couldn’t have said it better. Because I think about it with some of the issues that we’re now trying to navigate, in terms of what people have all gone out out of fear and purchased, to make sure they don’t run out. However, I was having a conversation recently with a friend who said how they needed something for their family, and they just put a message out there to people, like “I don’t have this. If you see it, can you drop it by?” And they ended up with like ten gallons of water, or something like that, because they needed this special kind of water…

Wow… Yeah.

That’s part of community, and recognizing there’s resources in other people. But how do we do this when we need to keep physical proximity…?

Yeah, a friend of mine said “I’m talking to a lot of people these days via the phone.” That whole social connecting - he finds himself talking to friends more on the phone that generally with Instagram, or text, or some sort of digital connection… And a physical phone call to people, maybe in this way, like putting a line out to your friend group, “Hey, if you’re going out, we’re low on water. Pick us up some if you can and then drop it off at the front door.”

“You don’t have to come in and say hello, or knock, or feel obligated”, but this idea of still connecting in ways where we were just not - it’s so weird. It’s just so weird to even talk about this. It’s surreal.

Sure, and I think that it’s important as we have this conversation around remote work, that this has a whole different sort of qualitative feel to it. Remember how we talked about our choice as being incredibly valuable? …that it feels different. Part of my decision to work remotely wasn’t wholly my decision. Out of the safety, there was an executive decision made, and I have tremendous respect, and I think it was probably the wisest choice. But it’s different if you already work from home and that was a choice you would have already made, because the working from home facilitated other aspects of the life that you wanted to have.

Yeah. I joked about Contagion, the movie, the last time we had this conversation. We’ve actually had one episode come before this one, on memory, which was recorded prior to Coronavirus being a thing… I guess it was actually while it was happening, but not so much on the restrictions here in the United States. And it’s funny that I went back and watched this movie not as entertainment, although it can be entertainment… More so as bootcamp, and potentially what could happen.

Obviously, the viruses in the movie versus this one is different in terms of its effect on humankind, but similar in nature, in the way it spreads and all the things that happen. And they actually said the phrase “social distancing” in the movie.

I don’t know how old that movie is, eight or ten years old, but social distancing was a phrase in that movie. Ain’t that crazy?

[12:12] Wow… That’s crazy. That’s crazy.

And it was a Coronavirus.

They said the word Coronavirus. They said R0, they talked about – I mean, so much of the movie is just so accurate in terms of what you would really deal with in a pandemic.

It’s just so interesting. Could we not have just watched that movie and prepared better? It’s almost like “What happened here?!”

It’s interesting, even in talking about this and going – I think humor is so valuable, and it doesn’t mean people can’t be offended by things that others find humorous… However, it’s a really functional way to navigate stress. Making light of it, and going – and not in any way am I making light of this as a serious issue… However, to be able to still go on and manage yourself and your family, loved ones etc. while this is upsetting the sort of normalcy to which all of us had been accustomed for quite some time.

I heard it said that just this is so significant, this is going to be in our history books in the years to come because of the way in which it’s changed our lives. And I think that for anybody who’s been allowed to or had the opportunity to work remotely, that there’s benefits to it. But like all things, there’s different challenges associated with it. So how do people figure out ways to navigate it as best they can given the constraints that we’re all having to deal with at this point in time.

I know that most of the research when it comes to remote work has said it’s generally better in the sense of enhancing productivity, but they can’t say why. Why would it be that if I let you work from home, that productivity goes up? And I don’t know – have you ever heard of Daniel Pink? He wrote a book called Drive, which gets at motivation as a factor.

It’s on my list to read.

Well, he talks about this in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. There’s things internally or intrinsically that drive us, and then there’s things outside of us that are motivating… Like, you know, money. So these are critical factors when it comes to however we set up our life. But what he highlights is that extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in a specific activity to earn a specific reward, or avoid a punishment. And I don’t think any of us want to only feel like work is a reward, or avoiding other punishment. I mean, do you?

Yeah, I don’t think so… That would be unfortunate if it was.

Right?! So this is really at the heart of learning, and I would say life. Because life involves learning and adapting. That’s what we’re all doing right now. So he talks about motivation with having a few different critical aspects. They are autonomy, there is purpose, and then there’s mastery.

What he’s talking about in terms of autonomy is that we all have this inherent drive to create. There’s people who have talked about this with different companies in technology, wherein as far as I understand, they’ve been allotted a certain amount of time to work on their own creative endeavors, and that there’s a portion of your time that it’s like “I don’t care what you do, we just want you to then share it”, because this is intrinsic in all of us. All of us are made in a way to create and be creative.

So if I’m like “Here are the keys. You can have far more flexibility and autonomy to pick when you work, how you work… All of those things, so that you can accommodate other things in your life” - wouldn’t it make sense that productivity would go up?

Yes and no.

The yes is because that seems to be a good recipe. The no is not everybody is wired that way.

Not everybody has the necessary self-discipline… And maybe even it’s just experience. Because I think after a while you can get into a rhythm of remote working and self-discipline… But abrupt change, where you didn’t participate in the choice, might be harder to immediately be more productive.

You’re gonna hit some challenges in this change.

Most certainly. But part of that comes down to really “Know thyself”, and going “When do you work best?” I think it’s Michael Breus who is a sleep researcher, who I think I’ve alluded to in the past, who talks about our sleep cycles and having a genetic component around timetables… So there is sort of early birds, and then there’s – he assigns an animal to these different sleep types, but it basically gets at how we all work better as based on our sleep rhythm or style… And that is one thing that remote work offers.

If you were a night owl, wherein it’s like “After 9, 10 o’clock at night, that’s when the juices are flowing. Let’s create, let’s go!”, that’s gonna be hard to get up to be in an office at 8 or 9 in the morning if you’re up until 2 o’clock in the morning.

Yeah. Your most effective hours are in an environment where you’re not as effective.

Right. So that’s just one thing. And then other subsequent dominos would look like “Well, then who else is awake in terms of co-workers if you get stuck or you need other feedback at those times of day?” So there’s this asynchronous aspect to doing the remote work.

Yeah, I think that’s the key - they synchronization of others. You can do things asynchronously, and not be blocked by someone else, and let that become a pattern for work rather than – now, not all work is that way though. Some work you can’t do asynchronously. Try building a car asynchronously. I guess you could probably do some of that if it’s an assembly line; some parts could get built and then you add the components after somebody else has done the thing, so that’s asynchronously; you don’t have to do it together, so to speak… But the next person can’t do the thing until the one thing is done, so it doesn’t really compute the same for everyone.

Not all work.

This is why I think it’s helpful when we have these conversations, like - helping people build a different framework; a mental sort of grid for how they can make sense of this. I think of this like a rhythm, in all we do… Whether you’re at the job, but also especially remotely, to say “Is there a rhythm that you can work within, wherein you can come together and work with people and meet up, like people will do? …and then sort of move away and go asynchronous to not be present at the same place, at the same time, doing the same thing.”

[20:04] All of us have some sort of hybrid of that, and that’s what helps us all work better, both with ourselves and with others. But we have to look at what mediums – we’ve shared about how you’ve made changes with how you do the podcasting, so that it is more synchronous and you have more data with the visual experience, as opposed to solely audio.

Yeah. We had for a long time only met up via Skype, which did not have a video component requirement. And only recently - I would say in the last year, year-and-a-half maybe - we’ve started to incorporate Zoom. I would use Zoom or Hangouts or other things for meetings, but not for the podcast portion… Which is what we do.

Not having that visual component with somebody else was very (I guess) disjointed and isolating. Obviously, there’s a lack of data there, because I can’t see the other person. And especially with a podcast, as you mentioned before, this idea of latency coming into play in an audio conversation. Unless I can see your facial expression, I can’t tell if you’re trying to jump into the conversation, or whatever. This visual component is gone.

So for a long time we operated without it at all, and only recently did we add that in, and for obvious reasons, we’ve gotten so much amazing feedback that this the way it should be, or should have been before. And just based on technical constraints, we’ve made that choice.

Right. But the technology made a significant difference in opportunities, that weren’t available once upon a time. I think about it just with how even kids do homework. I mean, I couldn’t video-chat my friends when I was in school, and be like “What about this problem?” or “Here’s where I’m getting stuck”, wherein that can totally happen for adolescents, college students etc. which is ironically what a lot of college students are looking at now, as they’re having to continue to go to school while not being on campus.

I mentioned the isolation or the missing component there… A lot of what’s happening or has the opportunity to creep in in remote working is isolation, obviously, probably some anxiety because of that, and if disconnected long enough, potentially some depression.

Yeah. So what I would offer is that part of what you lose is actually feedback. Part of how we build relationships is over time really imagine you’re constructing a sort of 3D model of a person based on repeated interactions. I mean, you have a sense that’s based on when you interface with someone, when you text them, or email them, or call them, how they’re gonna respond. Do they answer? If so, in what timeframe? Because that’s part of collecting the data. And in the same way, people might respond very short, which could come across incredibly curt, or sort of cold in a digital format… Whereas face to face, that isn’t the same presentation that they provide.

When I am more isolated and I don’t have the interaction with co-workers, I sort of forfeit that additional information. Not to mention if I flip the lens back at myself, when I’m looking at feedback I get, like performance, I don’t necessarily have to take in the feedback that my supervisor or peers are giving me, because - how do they know what I’m doing? I might not be meeting my own expectations, but they don’t know that. So they can say “You’re doing awesome”, but I might then be like “Well, they don’t really know…” So it’s super-easy to minimize that feedback, which then changes how I perform, what I give, how much I’m going to offer up.

[24:23] It’s really a fascinating dynamic, I think, because there’s no way that we’re gonna opt out of relationships with other people. We need other people, just like you’re talking about, to get jobs done.

It takes some self-discipline, that’s for sure. You have to be strong-minded person. I don’t wanna say strong-willed, because I think it doesn’t give it enough depth. I think strong-minded – and that’s like an emotional intelligence kind of thing. It’s potentially even a professional – I don’t know how to describe it really well, but someone who has good intentions… It really takes a lot of intention to do it well.

Yeah. You have to be purposeful. And I think for everyone, in going – you know, I think about this a lot in just doing my life as pretty much operating independently from my practice, as well as being a wife, and a mom, and involved in other things, endeavors in life and relationships, that I’m always looking at how I allocate my time and energy so that I’m looking at what is gonna give me the biggest bang for my buck. And this is a really important aspect of decision-making when it comes to remote work, of saying “What kind of work, in what setting, at what time am I gonna be able to give my best product?” Because that’s not gonna be the same for all of us.

It’s probably harder to interface with co-workers in a certain way if you’re sitting at Starbucks working, as opposed to if you’re sitting at home. So “Hey, I’m gonna go do this other thing that’s gonna benefit me by engaging with other people live, face-to-face”, but then it also creates this other dilemma, that I can’t interface with co-workers in the distance model, in another way.

Yeah. That brings up a good point too, because because of the variant setting that people will be in, whether they’re meeting or not meeting, you can have a lot of distractions come into play, you’ve got interruptions… Potentially, a lot of things that can frustrate you, that did not previously frustrate you. And this change is gonna bring that kind of change too, where you kind of just have to get thicker-skinned or just be more aware that, you know, if you’re working from home and you have children, it’s likely that one of them might come in, even if you tell them not to. And that’s okay, too. That doesn’t mean it’s okay – you’re not gonna yell at your kid, or do something not nice, or have a negative response, because…

I don’t know, I’m just thinking about me in particular, because when my son comes in, I try to always make sure that my environment is welcoming to him, that he’s not – I don’t say “Hey, come in and bother me during a podcast” or something, but there is limitations to that, some constraints to it. But I don’t want him to feel like “Dad’s in here working” and be a mean person, I suppose. I try to be flexible, so that he always feels welcomed into my world. This is my office, this is my world, so that’s how it works, but… You’re almost planning for (I guess) interruption, frustrating things that can happen and take place, that didn’t take place before.

Sure. And I think especially now with the changes, talking about this in terms of decision fatigue, or cognitive load…

[28:05] A fair amount of work from home or remote options for work involve a degree of cognitive demand. So if I’m using this decision-making and that living like Garmin, of going “Recalculating… Recalculating…”, your brain might be like “And I’m done. I can’t handle more distractions, or upsetting the apple cart in another way…” But the way that we navigate that is recognizing the value of flexibility, and going “You know what - things are going to just have to be a little chaotic, until we can make it work.”

That’s very much what it’s looked like with my schedule, and kids, and going “Okay, I have to be responsible, and help them get work done for school”, and have some semblance of structure for them, while I still need to do my work responsibilities… And going “You know what - it didn’t look like it usually does. That’s okay.” We just sort of recalculate, recalibrate, and do what we can, when we can.

And I think that really is why people are attracted to remote work options, is because of this flexibility. It’s different if – like, you can’t leave your job, because you have to be physically present for 40, 50, 60 or more hours a week.

The one thing that’s most attractive to people is getting that commute back.

Whether it’s on a bus, on a train, your own car, on a plane potentially even, if you’re a private jetsetter… Who knows what our audience is doing out there…? But the point is that commute that you get back - you can reuse that time for things you didn’t have time for before; maybe exercise in the morning, or these things, these norms you should put into your life given a more balanced lifestyle. Maybe now you’re working out on your garage, or your spare bedroom, or maybe even in your bathroom - who the heck knows where you’ve got room for this stuff - but since you can’t go to a gym at this point, at least in this very moment in time, you can use that commute time for more positive things.

I think most people, at least here in Houston, trying to drive to – if you live outside of town, in the suburbs, going into town, it’s at least 45 minutes, if not close to an hour, depending upon if you hit the right traffic, at the right time. And if you’re just five minutes or ten minutes later into the traffic, you can go from a 50-minute drive to an hour and twenty-minute drive, just like that. And imagine doing that twice a day.

Yeah. It’s interesting, there’s a research study published in Psychological Science in the public interest which talked about this, and it said on average people who telecommute 15.1 hours a week or more actually report decreased job satisfaction. It’s about being able to use this ability to get time back.

Yeah. And that just leads to flexibility, because for one, if I get to work – for example, my commute to work is super-short, so I don’t have to get to work potentially already with a certain amount of cognitive load, because I’m dealing with traffic, or danger… Driving to work is dangerous.

Right? So maybe you can speak to that, but… You know, I don’t have to get to my work already taxed. I can come fresh.

Yeah, sure. Clarifying that, what they’re saying is, again, this hybrid. Telecommuting is good, but balancing this need for social interaction alongside having more autonomy and flexibility is going – it’s interesting living where I do, because the ferry system is a pretty routine aspect of commuting for people. So the relationships, ironically, that people build while they’re on the ferries, of like “These are the people I hang out with, or decompress with on the way back from work…”

[32:19] Yeah. That’s true, too.

Right? So there’s different ways that you can go about doing it. So I have some days a week I’m at home, but then there’s some days a week I’m going into the office, and really it allows meeting multiple needs at the same time. I forget where I was reading this, but talking about people who were incredibly successful in balancing life and work, and they said sort of the four quadrants of Work, Health, Family/Relationships, and I’m totally blanking on the other one… But going, we generally only get to allocate to three of them instead of the four. And really successful people really have to cut off the other two, or really downplay, and like “That’s not where I’m vesting.”

So with that, what I think is important, that Daniel Pink talks about, is this sense of purpose in what we do. So if I’m working for a company, or doing a job that is in line with how I feel like there’s value or purpose, it too is going to improve that productivity.

Yeah. Work-life blending versus work-life balance. I’ve always said work-life balance, and I think the fourth quadrant might have been Play. I don’t know for sure, but based on what your list was, Play was missing from there.

We often will do family and do work really well, but forget the play.

Right. And I think that this is really challenging for people. I mean, I think of myself in this, where my work is a form of play. So it gets modeled, and that I have to manage. This is something I really enjoy doing, and does give me a lot of meaning and good stuff. However, I also have to do these other things, and manage these other aspects of my life, to have more of the blend, so that I don’t run all the catastrophic thoughts all the time, right?

Yeah. Going back to the ferry though… I like that you said it that way, because not all commutes are the same.

So not all commutes have to be terrible.

Some commutes can actually be worthwhile. I like the idea of taking the ferry from one island to the other in Seattle - it gives you a chance to experience some nature. There’s obvious reasons why people move to that area of the country, because it’s so beautiful… But you get some wind, you get some environment, potentially some people that you seen often, and there’s relationships forming… It doesn’t always just have to be a humdrum car that you’re driving yourself, and be dangerous. I like the idea that commutes can still be enjoyable too, and not just be terrible experiences to get to work.

I think this sense of alignment and going “It fits for me” or “It’s worth it for me”, because there’s always some aversive aspect of whatever we do. I think about the ferry too on the negative alternative - when you miss the ferry. When you’re trying so hard to get home and you might be that first car in line for the next ferry, which is 30, 40, an hour later than what you had planned on. But if I go “I recognize that this is a part of my life”, and you’re spot on, Adam, there is a qualitative aspect to being on the ferry. It’s experiential, it’s fun in a way, if you allow it to be.

[36:07] Yeah. Well, especially if you like to take pictures, or just enjoy a bit of nature. You would almost design your life to get that, design that into this work-life blend. Maybe for some out there, as things eventually begin to normalize, this is a wake-up call for a lot of businesses and individuals who are forced to do remote work, in areas where it’s possible…

So now they get a chance to take a step back and say “Okay, I never thought this was possible before. Thankfully, I get a chance to do it. Maybe I’m not enjoying it so much right now”, but eventually, you can start to design the kind of work you do, that is in line with the four quadrants, as you mentioned… And begin to buffer in some train opportunities, or some ferry opportunities, given your geolocation, or whatever. Pull in some of those things that make it more possible to design a better work-life blend in the future, that starts to fit who you are and what you wanna do in your life.

Yeah. It’s interesting, as you talk about this, Adam, because it just stands out to me how significant all data is. We can say “I don’t like the feedback, I don’t like the experience, I don’t like…” - you name it. Or “I don’t even like this entire episode that we’re having to walk through.” However, the data isn’t irrelevant. Just because even you discovered these things via this experience, it’s still data. And if I discard data, be like “I don’t like it”, that would never fly, in any research.

Imagine working anywhere, and being like “I didn’t like that item, so I threw it away. That cantaloupe. That box of food. That box from Amazon that I got, that was all mangled. I just threw it away, because I didn’t like what it looked like. I didn’t like how it made me feel.” We can’t learn, and so we want to be open to the data within ourselves, from ourselves, around how we shape our lives and the choices we make, especially around work.

I don’t remember who it was, but it was some years ago, listening to a leadership seminar or conference, and this person emphasized how important it was to actually live close to your work… And it is challenging. When I relocated out here, I thought for sure I was going to have to make a significant commute between living where I wanted to live and working where I wanted to work. And I’m so grateful that I do have that in such close proximity. There’s other challenges, of course, that emerge with that, but it’s my preference, for sure. So if people can sort of listen…

Talking about this sense of purpose, there was an article written by somebody in the tech field who explained his experience in working remotely with Buffer… And he talked about this 45 days of bootcamp that he went through with the company to see “Does what you want and what we want work well together?” And they love doing that job, because it fits well.

Lastly, when we’re talking about this sense of what makes a difference, what data is relevant, is finally this sense of mastery. Daniel Pink identifies autonomy as this inherent drive to create; this sense of mission, or purpose. We have this drive to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, but we’re driven to master certain things, so we need feedback. And if we’re working remotely, how do we manage boredom, anxiety, a sort of appropriate level of challenge, as opposed to “It’s too easy and I’m bored. And then I don’t know how to fill my time and then I’m anxious”?

[40:30] Yeah, I can imagine that… That’s tough.

Right. So even for you - what is your mechanism for feedback? Because you don’t have a boss, you’re not working for anybody else, and you’re by yourself much of the time.

So where do you get your data around how you’re doing, do you know?

You know, I think I’ve been self-driven for a while, so I think it’s just by nature. And I think the way I judge is by happiness. What I do is uniquely different than any other job I’ve ever done in my life… So I think if I’m happy, if I enjoy it, if I see a community forming around the work that we’re doing, and they’re happy, then I think those are things I see as like – I kind of fall in love with the process, I suppose, rather than just simply the artifacts that might come… Like, it’s a business, so revenue, or new opportunities… I try to focus on the things that make it enjoyable, and let that be my indicator, my feedback, rather than just simply “Oh, we’ve gotta have ten podcasts by the end of the year.” That’s not the metrics we are confined by. It’s about the mission, I suppose, more so than just simply the destination.

You know, you just did an excellent job of summarizing intrinsic motivation. That your feedback, the data that you’re looking at really comes from within you, and having that awareness, and looking at “Does the activities that I’m doing and investing in resonate with what’s already inside of me?” I think that is a critical component when people are looking at remote work. Ask yourself, are you extroverted? Are you introverted? To what degree do I need to be face to face with people? What obstacles or challenges can I imagine encountering that would look different or feel different if I change the location of where I work? Because when I can see things from that broader panoramic perspective, it helps me look at and be better able to identify if it’s gonna fit, and maybe even if it fits, for how long or how much of that part of my work do I want to make my living from.

[43:07] Because like we were talking about, it’s really different if it’s your only ever always by yourself, versus “Oh, I’m gonna do this part of work, be it time limited, like three months, or more like a day a week.” People talk a lot about chunking when they’re self-employed…

Batching, chunking… These are well-known things for getting things done.

Yeah. So it’s like, “This is how I get into my sense of flow, where I’m most productive. These are more challenging for me, they take up more energy, so I’m gonna put my most attention on those first, so that I can then move on to the next thing.”

I think when people realize that there’s other ways of doing things that might not have been the way that they’ve always been done, but that they could work if they’re willing to go explore, it can allow them to discover more about themselves and their lives, and how they want to function within the world. Because look, every single person, every single one of us is unique, and I believe whole-heartedly that we all have a specific design to fulfill a different role within the broader context within the world. So when we have a sense of respect around that and when we seek to do work that speaks to us from the inside out, it has far more reaching effects, not just for ourselves, but our entire community. And that’s really when the work becomes fun, much more process-based, and you wanna do it just because you can’t help yourself. It’s really for the love.


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