Today we have a guest post from Dhru Purohit. Dhru is co-founder and chief executive at the Clean Program, a revolutionary protocol designed to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself. You can follow Dhru on Facebook here.
I’ve been working from home since I was 20, and I just turned 30 this past year, which means I’ve been workshifting as an entrepreneur now for a decade.
I started working at home as a solo entrepreneur running a simple web design company. Today my partners and I run a multi-million dollar operation with 15+ team members, and we do it all from the comfort of our homes.
Being able to work from home as an entrepreneur is amazing. The word that comes to mind is freedom – freedom to set your schedule, to take a nap if you are tired, to create the flow of your day.
But here’s the thing about freedom: it only works within structure. As glamorous as freedom sounds, sometimes we’re not ready for it. When I started working from home and for myself, I definitely wasn’t ready.
I had no idea how addicted I was to people telling me what to do and how to organize my schedule. I had always relied on someone else (my parents, teachers, bosses) to set the tone of my day. And once that structure wasn’t there, I was left with myself.
Being independent is a scary thing. Hiding is much harder to do, and naturally fears are magnified: fears of getting it wrong, fears of not being good enough and of course fears of success.
Sometimes all these fears are too much to deal with, and the easiest solutions are to overload with busywork, procrastinate or even give up all together. I’ve done all three many times and felt the gut-wrenching pain that comes with them.
It took years for me to achieve some sense of harmony with my role as an entrepreneur who works from home, but the thing that helped me the most was catching myself kidding myself.
Here’s a common game I would play: if I was afraid of starting a project, because I had never done anything like it before, I would procrastinate with busywork for a few days until so much pressure built up that I had no choice but to sit down and work.
After a while I started telling people that I worked best under pressure. I even had myself convinced it was true. But who the heck works best under pressure? The truth was that I was scared of the project not going well or that I would get it wrong, so I would avoid getting into it until the mounting stress of failing finally pushed me to start. Most of the time, I got things done, but the stress took its toll on my body and spirit, and eventually I would crash all together.
It’s not like kidding yourself only happens when you’re an entrepreneur or a workshifter. But in my experience, when you work from home by yourself, the problem shows up sooner and stronger. When you don’t have someone else telling you what to do, it’s easy to get lost in freedom. Call it freedom without direction.
I wish I could say that I woke up one day, realized the games I was playing and used some magic trick to get my stuff together. But like I said, being aware of the issue was the only thing that worked in the long term.
Life-hacking blogs are great and productivity tips are cool, but at the end of the day, you’re either doing the work or you’re not. And if you’re not doing the work, chances are you’re playing games to avoid the fear. Notice these games and a natural sense of structure will start to appear on its own.