On Transition Anxiety & Working In My Pajamas

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Some people say that working in your pajamas is a myth – that it’s not really something self-employed people do, or can do.

Now, I realize working in one’s PJs would not be appropriate for those self-employed persons whose jobs require them to be out and about in public a great deal. And others find the act of getting dressed essential mental preparation for the day – a ritual that places them in the proper frame of mind for work.

Me? I love working in my pajamas. I can do it and I do it often. I gladly gave up costuming and commuting for work years ago and I’ve no intention of taking them up again. To not get dressed before sitting down at my desk or working in my studio just seems to go hand in hand with a commute of a few steps. What’s not to like?

This morning I have a deadline, plus I’m excited about another project I’m working on and I’m eager to dive in and get to work. I suppose I’m afraid if I take time to get dressed I’ll lose my momentum. The act will interrupt my mental flow – and I really love to be in flow. Maybe that’s why I love working in my pajamas. They represent flow. And freedom. Plus they are super cozy…

But here’s what’s not to like. If I really get into the groove, I don’t end up taking a break to get dressed and personal hygiene falls by the wayside. Which I think Stephen Covey would characterize as neglecting an important but not urgent task until it becomes an important and very urgent one.

I love this insightful article by Martha Beck on the differences between monochronic people (briefly: those for whom time is rigid) and polychronic people (those for whom time is flexible), transition anxiety, and what she calls “the art of the dismount.” According to Beck, for polychrones (and that’s me), it’s not starting the next thing that’s the problem, it’s the reluctance to stop the current thing. “Disengaging from a given activity is the key to living on schedule. By choreographing and practicing the skill of ending, even polychrones can stay (roughly) on schedule, no matter how much we want to linger.”

Beck offers five specific techniques for learning the art of the dismount. Which I plan to try… just as soon I can bring myself to stop blogging and take shower.

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