Somewhere between hunting, gathering, and cube farming, we surrendered to the idea that hard work is synonymous with discomfort. Take the contemporary corporate “uniform,” for example:
Who decided that neckties and nylons made people more productive and professional? (This guy.)
For most live action Monopoly players, when we don’t leave work frazzled, sore, and exhausted, we feel like we’ve either duped or screwed The Man (usually both–so we go out and buy a new pair of achy breaky heels to celebrate/assuage our guilt).
I speak from experience. Once upon a time, I, too, was devoutly dry clean only but that hardly made me a hard worker. Sure, I put in my eight (ten, twelve, fourteen) hours and accomplished the tasks assigned to me, but my work was always half-hearted. Bunyons and backaches helped me feel effective but, in reality, I only looked like a big deal.
Now that I make the rules, I’ve relaxed the dress code quite a bit (kimono + long underwear, remember?) but I still have a ways to go un-learning the notion that the more I resent my work, the better I am at it.
So, this morning, when my roomie asked if I’d take a break and do chocolate face masks with her, I immediately jumped on board, excited to share the results with you.
“Technically, you’re still working,” she told me while snapping the above picture. (She was right! I can type with my eyes closed, you know. And you’d be surprised by the amount of light that penetrates a cucumber seed.)
Ten to fifteen minutes later, I felt relaxed, yet alert. (I’m telling you, it’s the cucumbers–surprisingly effective and they do their job naked!) That’s when I realized that a huge part of doing what you love and loving what you do is loving how you do it. And, in my case, discomfort doesn’t motivate me–it drains me–which is why I encourage to find ways that you, too, can turn your office into a “spa”-ffice. I realize that if you’re a cube farmer, you might raise a few eyebrows if you wear your mid-day snack instead of eating it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find subtle ways to soothe–not abuse–yourself throughout the day. (In law school, when I hit the twelve hour mark, I did downward dog in the library stacks.)
Smuggle in an mp3 player. Meditate. Wear slippers under your desk. Bring a yummy scent to sniff. Drink anything other than coffee (that won’t get you drunk/fired). Beautify your workspace. Adopt a pet plant. Exercise on your lunch break.
Hard work/heartwork shouldn’t hurt.
And if you, like me, are thinking about the real farmers (and laborers and domestic workers and service providers and bus drivers and, well, the list goes on…) of the world, you’d be right to say that my advice doesn’t apply to everyone. But it should. You can expect an RKA in LA companion post soon on why I believe breaking one’s back to bring home the bacon is the enemy of heartwork. In a world where we work for need, not profit, there would be higher wages and shorter schedules for those of us doing the really hard work. But I’ll write that love letter later. For now, I will simply encourage all of you to treat yourselves and your bodies with love–on and off the clock.
Tip #7 for working with heart – turn your office into a “spa”-ffice.