The first thing people say when they hear that I work at home is often some variant of, “Lucky you! You can work in your pajamas!” to which I just smile the way people called “Otto” smile at yet another car-related pun in reference to their name.
Only rarely do I bother to explain that, in fact, the only time I work in my pajamas is if I am sick and have a deadline to meet. Other than that, I absolutely never, ever work in my pajamas, and neither should you.
Here are 5 reasons why you should never work at home in your pajamas:
1. People Will Take Your Job More Seriously
If a friend drops by, and you answer the door with bedhead while wearing a pair of flannel pajamas, that pal is not going to take you very seriously when you explain that you are too busy working to hang out.
If, on the other hand, you are dressed for work, and by that I mean dressed well enough that you could be seen in public without the danger of winding up on the pages of a site such as People of Wal-Mart, then your friend is going to be much more likely to understand why you need to reschedule your coffee date.
2. You Will Sleep Better
Believe it or not, if you wear pajamas all day, or worse yet, work from your laptop in your bed, you run a much higher risk of insomnia, and no one needs that. We are creatures of habit, so it is important for the act of putting on your p.j.’s to be associated with your bedtime ritual.
3. You Will Be More Focused and Productive
Just as sleep experts advise you to use the bed area only for sleeping and to create an evening ritual in order to sleep well, the opposite holds true. Having a morning ritual that gets your mind ready for working at home makes a big difference in how quickly you settle into your most productve zone.
Part of my morning ritual is to shower and get dressed as though I were heading out the door to a brick and mortar job. I even wear eyeliner! This helps me shift into writing mode much more quickly than when I wait to get dressed.
4. It Defends Your Self Esteem
Working at home has its own set of challenges, especially when you are starting out. Not only do you need support from offline friends and online groups, but you need support from yourself, above all.
There are days when nothing goes well, and you feel like a failure. This is when your inner critic pipes in with cruel jabs like, “You call this crap writing?” On days like this, catching sight of yourself in a coffee-stained robe and bunny slippers, tends to reinforce your inner critic’s opinion that you are a slacker, whereas being properly attired makes it easier to counter with something like, “Hey, at least I am here giving it my best, so shut up.” (It’s probably a good idea not to let anyone hear you talking to yourself, either, but that’s fodder for another post.)
5. You Actually Look Like You Are Working
If your neighbor notices you raking leaves when he drives to the store, then comes back an hour later and sees a bunch of tidy piles in your yard, it is pretty obvious to him that you have been working hard in his absence.
If the same person sees you staring at the computer screen, muttering to yourself and biting your nails, then returns an hour later to see you in the same position, they have no idea what you have been up to. (For all they know, you were playing on Twitter and Facebook the whole time.)
The bottom line is that when you work from home, especially if you work on the computer, it can be hard for people to see that you are working. Wearing decent-looking daytime clothing helps send the message that you are truly at work, not just goofing off.
How do you feel? Does the way you are dressed change your mindset?