In the last couple of posts we have considered the usefulness of routine, habit and locations. Now, let’s look at how clothes can boost your productivity.
Give me the shoes…
My old mime and physical theatre teacher Desmond Jones was fond of quoting the theatrical adage, “Give me the shoes and I will give you the performance!”
This extends to more than shoes. Hats, jackets, trousers all enable you to get into character.
It is much easier to perform in a certain way if you are wearing the right costume.
As a performer, it dawned on me some time ago that this applies beyond magic performance, it is relevant for the rest of life as well. I am not the first to realise this. In 1975 John T. Molloy published his manual “Dress for Success”, developing the work of sociologist Erving Goffman, who described all the world as a stage.
But does this apply to working from home?
I certainly think so.
What you wear has a huge effect on your self-image, self-worth and self-motivation. Changing your clothes changes your mindset.
This is why the army are so hot on ironing, boot polishing and button shining. It’s about self-respect. And, as the Kane Gang sang in the ‘80s, “If you don’t respect yourself ain’t nobody gonna give two hoots…”
“Because I’m worth it” has never been so powerful.
Change Your Shirt, Change Your Mind
During lockdown, it can be a real challenge to maintain routine and establish focus.
I have found that changing into different outfits at different times of the day not only changes my attitude and focus, it helps to structure the day. The act of changing clothes also acts as a substitute for travelling between activities, time to mentally re-adjust.
Personally I wake up, exercise at home, change into dog walking clothes.
Walk the dog, come back and shower, change into work shirt, trousers, waistcoat and proper shoes.
At some point around 4pm I might switch the waistcoat for a smart sweater.
Between 5-6pm I decide that the working day is over and I change into jeans, t-shirt and trainers.
It works for me – could it work for you?
Even if no-one else can see your shoes on a Zoom call, polish them anyway.
You can see them.
And you’re worth it.