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Coworking: Stop Sharing Your Office With Your Worst Critic

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After experimenting with coworking for a short time, I wrote about how I had gone from being skeptical about it to a convert. The connections I made, and the lack of interruptions, were enough to overcome my resistance to its cost and the commute. Since then, though, I’ve realized there’s something else that makes coworking even more appealing.

One major benefit of coworking is escaping the things in our home offices that make it difficult to work and be productive. The home environment, of course, is full of distractions and interruptions. We’re pulled by unfinished personal projects, interrupted by personal phone calls and knocks on the door, and tempted by many enjoyable ways to procrastinate.

But more than anywhere else, our most vulnerable moments occur at home. It’s where we worry that we aren’t doing the right things for our kids, and where we stare in the mirror and call ourselves ugly. It is where we open ourselves up the most. Consequently, home isn’t just where we live. It’s where our insecurities live, too.

Working from home often means not having someone right there with us to validate decisions or keep us and our business pointed in the right direction. We have to keep going, doing things while being confident from within ourselves that we are on the right path. That confidence, I’m finding, can be difficult to maintain when you work in a home office surrounded by reminders of your personal insecurities.

Leaving my home office to work seems to have the effect of putting away those insecurities. I literally just leave them at home. Putting on decent clothes to go to my coworking space is like putting on armor that keeps the insecurities at bay and lets me be at my professional best. Being around other people who treat me like the professional that I am reminds me to focus on my accomplishments, not my inner critic. In an outside office, I’m not surrounded by reminders that I’m a terrible housekeeper or of all my unfinished projects. Decisions are made faster and with more confidence. I can be more productive, and what I produce feels like better quality to me.

As Celine wrote a few months ago, some home office workers put on business clothes to work in their home offices to get a similar effect on their productivity. While I do find that dressing better to work at home helps a little, nothing has been as effective for me as getting out of my home office and seeking a new environment entirely.

We are all our own worst critics. When your only office mate is that critic, it’s easy to listen to that criticism and let it get to you.

Have you found any unexpected benefits from coworking?

Photo by iClipart.

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12 Responses to “Coworking: Stop Sharing Your Office With Your Worst Critic”

  1. Barbara Saunders

    Having worked at home full-time for the past year, I can see the appeal of having an “office” to go to; in fact, I often work in cafes. Part of what I don’t like about offices, however, is the aesthetic. Now if someone created a coworking space more like a library or even a group den …

  2. While I completely agree with your statement that telecommuting in a home space raises those issues, I disagree that moving to a coworking space resolves the issue. Instead, I think it masks the underlying cause of those indecisive and self-critical moments.

    I’ve used that critical inner voice to really work through many of those insecurities, develop new and better habits and push myself in ways I never would have had to if I had not started a work at home lifestyle.

    A really interesting article though, thanks for it!

  3. A great article and yes a big thumbs-up for Coworking again.

    On the topic; where on one hand you’ll be leaving the “biggest critic” at home I also believe that Coworking provides you (when needed and when asked for) with some new but helpful critics, your Coworkers.
    Instead of going around in circles on some webpage, design work, paragraph of text, etc. a bit of feedback of someone around you can get you going again and may lead to fresh ideas. One of the other major benefits of Coworking we believe.

    Other benefits people are experiencing are nicely collected on our Jelly testimonials page:

    Any doubts left that Coworking is just great?

    Dave Ruzius
    Found TheWorks

  4. What a fabulous article. Thank you! In our space we highlight this thought: “Working from home often means not having someone right there with us to validate decisions or keep us and our business pointed in the right direction.” While we’re not an incubator, we do help one another when needed, and just having others around as the option to ask or validate is a big boost to many freelance workers.

  5. Love it, great angle Nancy! It resonates with so many people out there!

    I predict that next big movement in coworking will be through increased participation in the “coworking visa” program, which allows a member in a coworking space to use a space elsewhere, at no cost for up to three days in a row, which is a great perk for those folks who travel.

    Ky Ekinci
    Office Divvy â„¢

  6. Excellent article! We are moving forward with coworking in Tracy, CA (used to be Tracy Virtual Office). Thanks for supporting coworking! It is still taking folks out here some “effort” to toss the box office mentality, but, I am seeing encouraging signs….

  7. I agree with Andrew. After working in a space for several months, I’ve found that the initial early morning productivity gives way to too many distractions and too many doubts about whether or not what I’m doing is going to be effective. Looking forward to seeing what other options may show themselves (or creating another hybrid version on my own). For now, I’ve found that forcing myself out for lunch and/or coffee works too :-)

  8. Nice trend, coworking, but in talking with people who are doing it I’m finding that they seem to be getting a nice BOOOOOST, followed by . . . still not really knowing how to move forward.

    Hard to get truly meaningful expertise from such disparate and non-controlled sources, you know?

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and Virtual Assistant Services

    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP on Twitter

  9. I completely agree with the points you make in this article, although I hadn’t thought of your main point before. It’s hard to explain to someone that working at home is very difficult, because it sounds like such a great idea at first. But it does have so many little drawbacks that is becomes a burden to work at home.

    You said “One major benefit of coworking is escaping the things in our home offices that make it difficult to work and be productive.” This has been the biggest benefit to me, since I started coworking 2 months ago.

    Thank you for helping spread the word about coworking.