I’ve written half a dozen blog posts from the comfort of my plus sized phone lately, only to shove them off in some ‘saved drafts’ bin and choose to forget they every existed. But now I have this app on my phone called Balanced. And while I’ve used this app before, this time it seems to really be hitting the spot and reminding me to bring my life back to a healthy equilibrium by gently pushing me to do things that I want to do… for me. If you haven’t guessed it already, publish a blog post is next on my balanced list.
I can’t complain though. For one, that would be counter productive to my whole purpose of using the app in the first place, but mostly I’m not complaining because I actually have something to share today.
Today, I jumped right into provoking a much needed change in my life. Now, this has been coming for a long time, but you combine a disregard for willingly wanting to change things up (when everything in life seems to change often enough as it is) with my tendency to approach “firsts” with incredible shyness (the kind that leaves any one that knows me fondly reminiscing the days when I would barely speak to them) and you can see why I am just now getting to it.
The idea started toward the end of last year when we decided to move to a new corner of Sydney. Then, it was pushed aside by being back in the States for a good chunk of January. It wasn’t until last week that I finally decided to go take a long overdue tour of a local office space. And even then, I only went because it was on my way home from the grocery store and I just so happened to be there before the end of the work day. Finally!
After touring the space and falling in love with a big orange desk overlooking a bit of city and a corner of the water, the office management offered me a free week to choose a desk of my liking and give it a try. I was really under the weather yesterday and barely feeling up to snuff today, but I went none the less.
Overall, I think the experience was a win. I mean, I wasn’t necessarily comfortable all day mostly because I felt like the new kid in a strange office environment and my first day of work outfit wasn’t exactly working as planned. I had a static problem with an already short skirt on a borrowed fabric office chair. You can imagine the rest… Especially in that moment I had to get under my desk to plug in my laptop.
What was even more uncomfortable was the sizing of everything. Australia tends to cater to average sized. I’m assuming that has a lot to do with the Asian population. And that’s not being racist, that’s just the way that it is here. Counter tops, cabinets, toilets… Everything seems to be set to about 3-4 inches below where my lanky body is used to reaching or sitting. And the desks here are no different. My only choices were to put my chair at reasonable height and not fit my legs under the desk, knocking my knees around at the edge, or to low-ride my chair to just inches off the floor so I could fit under the table top. Neither of which are to my liking. I spent a long time trying to figure if there was a way to lift up the upcycled desk, but due to sharing one set of feet with another desk, it wasn’t doable. Especially since my desk mate on the other side actually is short and does need the desk to stay at this so-called average height. So I looked around for other desk options, sad at the idea of sacrificing my window seat for something more comfortable. Out of the entire space only one desk exists that I fit under. One! And it faces a wall/corner that I’m not entirely a fan of.
If the sizing factor can be solved, I think the rest is a shoe-in. Just having somewhere to go redefined my entire day. I woke up early. I made my breakfast (aka coffee). I plugged in for my 8am phone call. And around 9:30 when I wrapped up my morning meetings, I had a clear break between the end of the work day in the States and the start of all I had to catch up on for the day. Normally, when working from home, I am well aware of this point of the day, but I get anxiety about all I have to do and I just keep working… For 12 or 13 more hours. Even hourly timers buzzing on my Fitbit were not enough to coax me from a stern, sitting position. But since I had to “walk to work” today, I decided that I would take a half hour and go to the gym to lift some weights.
I warmed up by running to the gym, busted out a solid leg day on the weight machines, and cooled down with a quick walk back. I quickly showered and actually put on real adult clothing for the day – two things I rarely get to do before 7pm with how busy I tend to keep myself. And I was to my office by 11am – meetings behind me, showered, ready, and already done with my daily work out. As far as I am concerned, I could have screwed up the entire day from there on out and I still would have been more successful than my average day.
This is where success is obviously relative. Career-wise? I succeed every day. In fact, I exceed most days. I process through work like a machine and keep dozens of projects afloat at all times. But I always cut the corners of my life, my health, and my balance to stay in full work mode. Success, to me, is defined entirely by the days I get to be balanced for myself and everything I’ve promised others I would do.
I accomplished so much today and I did it in less time. I believe I was more efficient because I significantly reduced the stress I normally experience in that early morning transition into my work day. Only time will tell though. All in all, the way I see it right now, I feel like separating work life and home life can make a huge impact. I feel like my work was more relaxed today. Usually I am hyper focused and tense all day long. I’m constantly worrying that I’ve forgotten something. I’m flipping through notes and webpages like a mad woman to try to remember what I was doing at any given time because I’m constantly multi-tasking beyond any reasonable comprehension. Not today. Today I looked around, I stood in the break room and texted like a normal employee (albeit once and for only five minutes). I worked on one thing at a time. I organized. I went through everything I had to do bit by bit. Only one thing really had my heart pumping for an annoyed moment, but it didn’t set my entire day off track. I dealt with it and moved on.
I’m excited to go back tomorrow. I’m hoping I can make the most of this setup. Fingers crossed they have a valid solution for me when it comes to lifting up the desk I want rather than making me move to a wall. One can only hope…