The Web Worker’s Advantage, Part 2: Flexibility (and the Freedom to Wear Pajamas)

Today, I’m working in my PJs. I’ll admit it. Normally, getting dressed makes me feel more “put together” and less distracted, so it’s something I aspire to on most days, but today’s not one of those days, and I’m OK with it. Here’s why, along with a few more advantages of being a web worker.

The Flexibility to Be Spontaneous

Most days I try not to work in my pajamas, not only because I feel more put together, but also because part of the appeal of working for myself is flexibility, and for me, flexibility means being able to take advantage of opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have.

At short notice, I like to be able to take advantage of things like joining my sister and nephew for an impromptu visit to the park or going out to a late lunch or early dinner with a friend or family member when they call me up out of the blue. If I’m in my pajamas, I’m not ready to walk out the door at a moment’s notice!

I’m able to do this since, most of the time, I try not to lock myself into overly structured days with tons of appointments in a single day. That way, I can say to friends or family, “Well, I have a call at 3 PM, but I could meet you for coffee after that.” Generally, the rest of my work can be moved around, and although I try to stick fairly closely to a regular schedule for most of my work, I try not to have strict deadlines.

The Flexibility for Give and Take

Not having strict deadlines (and sometimes being willing to work in my pajamas) also allows me to work in a more “give and take” way, with more of an ebb and flow. Today, for instance, I have several phone appointments, writing to do, and a long list of other tasks to complete, so it’s one of those days I’ll buckle down and work in a concentrated way.

Working this way lets me take advantage of days when I have more energy and focus around my projects so that on less-than-productive days, I can give myself a break. If I’m not feeling well or if I’m feeling tired or distracted, I can afford some time away from work to renew my energy and focus.

Yesterday, for instance, I was feeling preoccupied by potentially having to move, and I simply wasn’t able to concentrate on work-related projects. By giving myself some space to figure out a few options for that part of my life, today I came back full force and ready to work. With the give and take that comes with being a web worker, I’m able to maintain some level of balance in life as a whole.

The Flexibility to Live Life

As part of the give and take, there’s also the ability to rearrange things to make more room for living. The holidays are coming up, for instance, and I have a lot of cooking, visiting and traveling planned. I don’t want to feel distracted from all of the festivities because of a business- or work-related project or deadline, so I intentionally work to get more done in the month or so before the holidays so that I can enjoy some time with family and friends in November and December.

This flexibility comes in handy when there are birthday parties, illnesses, summer breaks, emergencies, and a slew of other (anticipated and unanticipated) events that occur throughout the year. I can work when I can work, take off when I need to take off, and somehow, it all works out so that I can have a business and still have a life outside of it.

At the end of the day, being a web worker allows me to do work I enjoy, while aiming for the overall picture to be good, even great most of the time, if not always (or even nearly) perfect. I can be flexible and accommodating to my life, my business, and even my own needs most of the time, like days when I work in my pajamas and (thankfully) meet with business contacts via Skype!

How does being a web worker add flexibility to your life and business?

Photo by Flickr user Hillary the mammal, licensed under CC 2.0

Thumbnail photo by Flickr user emdot, licensed under CC 2.0

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub. req.):