Working from Anywhere

I’m enjoying a hot mocha (and soon a delicious breakfast burrito) from my most favorite breakfast spot in Woodinville, WA – The Commons. When I lived in the neighboring Kingsgate neighborhood, my family and I would come down to The Commons on Saturdays, maybe Sundays, fairly often. We became regulars and enjoyed the consequences; the staff knowing you by name, knowing your drink and your breakfast order of “the usual”, and asking about how you are in the new job you started, or how parenting is going with the new baby.

I wanted to write about my morning because it captures ‘the dream’ I dreamed a year ago, when I was sitting at my desk in a factory, agonizing over all the crap I had to do just to do my job, a job that been steadily declining in overall satisfaction for the better part of 6 months, to the point where I often dreamed of a different existence, instead of focusing on the task, the meaningless task, at hand.

My morning, a year ago, was to wake at 5:30AM, brush teeth, get dressed, and sneak out of the house without waking the wife or kids, drive 25 minutes to a parking lot literally about a mile away from my desk, wait for the shuttle to pick me up, to drive me a mile in the opposite direction, only to drop me off outside the factory, so I could then walk 15 minutes, up 10 flights of stairs (yes, there were elevators, but I would usually take the stairs because if someone beats you to the elevator AND sees you coming, they’ll jump in, select their floor, and mash on the Door Close button so they can leave before you get there – people can be such pricks), thus arriving at my desk winded, sweaty, and wishing for change, and then starting to work, only to be ambushed a moment later by my manger asking me when I’ll have a job finished, a job he literally asked me the same question about at the end of HIS day the day before. Sigh…

My morning today was – sleep in (7:30AM), head down to my favorite breakfast place (The Commons), walk in to a bright smile and the question, “The usual?”, reflecting on today and today a year ago, and enjoying my breakfast. No commute, no parking lots in a land far far away, no stuffy factories, and no managers making rounds asking me when I’ll have a job done.

So, here I sit today, mocha in hand, “the usual” on the way, and in a little bit, I’ll start my ‘day job’ – engineering / design for a startup based in San Francisco.

In a post coming up soon, I will define “Lifestyle Design” in my own word. I’ve been giving the definition of Lifestyle Design a lot of thought lately. I’ve read many posts on how others have designed their lifestyle to achieve financial independence and security, created a schedule that allows frequent travel to exotic places far away, and a work life that takes the back seat to all other aspects of life.

One aspect of Lifestyle Design, for me, is the freedom to work from anywhere, whenever you want. Be it your home, your favorite cafĂ©, your parents house while having an extended stay, you have the freedom to chose where you spend your time completing meaningful work. Personally, I always felt trapped sitting behind a desk on days I didn’t want to work. If I had the freedom to do the same work from anywhere else, I guarantee I would produce more work in less time, because I wouldn’t have the weight of feeling trapped pressing on my soul.

I’ve mentioned before (Introduction… to my restlessness) that I can only be in one place for a few months before I start to lose interest and become restless and crave big change. I’ve also discovered that smaller changes (every couple weeks or months) can keep the cravings of huge change at bay. The level of job satisfaction, even when the job sucks, can at least be maintained at a manageable level if I have the freedom to change where I can work spend my time working.

So, what’s the point of this post. Mainly, it’s me starting to piece together how I’m slowly altering my life and the decisions I make to fit the mold I’ve been forming in my thoughts and dreams over the past year. This post today is about how I am living one aspect of my definition of Lifestyle Design, having the freedom to do satisfying work in places that suit me and not have a bear trap of a desk locked around my leg.

Signing off, before the breakfast burrito gets cold. Thanks!



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