If this isn't work, I don't know what is.

If this isn’t work, I don’t know what is.

The Human Powered Season 5: 

Part of any self-powered endeavor is laced with doubt and doubters. I’m not one to listen to them much, and I usually could care less what others think of me and what I do. This philosophy radiates across my life: from what I do for work to my appearance; from religion to personal morals; from what I eat to how I raise my kids. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean I won’t listen. It just means I take what others think with a grain of salt.

It’s tough when those are people close to you, or people that those close to you care about. Perception is often their reality, and truth a stranger to them. So to go only slightly off topic, here is a related human powered/minimalist rant:

Conserve Resources and Money by Working at Home. The benefits are many, but let me just name a few:

  • Less overhead. I already rent (or own) this space, I’m heating or cooling it, and I sport a thirty step commute. I consume less energy and reduce my impact on the environment (even if you are just talking local) by not commuting physically to work or renting a separate office. The tax savings? Please, don’t get me started. That’s a blog post by itself.
  • No uniforms. I can work in my underwear if I so desire. I don’t. I feel more businesslike if I actually dress like I’m working in an office. I don’t wear a tie, but usually at least business casual is the order of the day. Sometimes I’m a little lax on that when it is very early, or I dress to run or bike, work first, and then go workout as a break. But I don’t have to buy, launder, and care for specific uniforms or types of clothing.
  • No car needed. Can the family do with one gas-powered vehicle? You bet, especially during the school year. Is it inconvenient sometimes? Yep. The money t I save in gas, repairs, and insurance alone makes it well worth the hassle. That’s living in a rural area. Live in New York or L.A., or even Boise Metro area? Lose your motorized transport, and save tons of money and trouble.

I’m more efficient than you are. Okay, that sounds arrogant, but working at home, while having some disadvantages, is efficient. Here’s why:

  • I need to take care of something work related, I don’t have to go anywhere or bring files home. My files and work stations are already at home. A client calls at 5 a.m. (because it’s 10 a.m. in Scotland) and asks for something? I’m not running to work to get it, or worse leaving my house for work at 4 a.m. so I can serve those clients.
  • No commute. I said this already, but it costs more than money to commute. It takes valuable time. Your time is worth money Ask any accountant to explain it to you if you don’t understand. They can break it down to cost per minute if you want.
  • More hours in the chair. Okay, this can be good and bad, but I don’t have to socialize with coworkers around the water cooler, I don’t have to go out for lunch, and I take breaks on my own terms. It means that when I’m working, I can actually be working. I can get more done in less time.
  • If you air drum and sing, no one stares. Okay, so the dogs howl and the kids stare when they are home, but you can create whatever environment you need to be at your best: listen to your music, decorate your way, and use your own system of organization.

The drawbacks. Okay, so when you tell people you are a freelance writer and editor, they chuckle and ask what you do for money. There are distractions, but you can turn your wireless router off (I read somewhere that they even have a switch and a power cord). It’s hard to isolate yourself: it takes discipline.

Bottom line: part of a human powered transport and more minimalist lifestyle involves sacrifice. Some of that sacrifice is facing the misunderstanding and the misconstrued perceptions of others. Too bad. They are the ones missing out on something great.

7:00 a.m.? I’ve been working for two hours, so I guess I should go get dressed now. Write on, and ride on!