Coworking: Stop Sharing Your Office With Your Worst Critic

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.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution