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Working from home: why we should make time to stare out of the window

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Working from home, for many, has ‘given back time previously wasted’ commuting, but is it possible we are less effective as a result? We investigate the value of the space in-between.
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by Claire Newell

Working from home, for many, has ‘given back time previously wasted’ commuting, but is it possible we are less effective as a result? We investigate the value of the space in-between.

On Monday 22nd March we ran our regular artful ways webinar with the focus of ‘a moment of stillness’ aka the fertile void. Taking a moment to stop, pause and connect with your physical, emotional and cognitive self. Attempting to create a true void from these things and then observe what is pulling your focus, where does your true focus lie? 

“Lose your mind and come to your senses.”  Fritz Perls

Working from home, has removed naturally occurring pauses in our lives. I myself went to make a cup of tea before the session started. Had I been working in an office; I probably would have taken the time whilst the kettle boiled to stare out of the window. But because I was at home, I noticed that the breakfast plates were still out, and the bin needed emptying, so I busied myself with domestic tasks before rushing back to my desk and joining the meeting a couple of minutes late. When working out there, in the real world, we are often forced to pause. To wait for the bus, to stare out of the window (or into someone’s armpit) on the train, to walk to a meeting, to walk to the café to grab a coffee or a sandwich.

The walk from your bedroom to the spare bedroom or the kitchen table isn’t much of a commute and doesn’t allow your mind the freedom to wonder. It is in these moments that we often find a creative solution to a problem. Or find where our focus should be. Or simply allow transition time from work mode to home mode. One member of the group described it as ‘mountain hopping’, jumping from one peak to another, without the time to walk down and walk up in between. 

“Using moments of stillness to allow what’s important to emerge”

If we are not forced to, it feels unnatural to take a moment to be ‘inactive’. We are taught from a young age that ‘daydreaming’ is wasting time, when you could be doing something instead.  We believe that we must be purposeful and productive, and we demonstrate this by taking action. We are addicted to taking action to try and take control.

“The value of fertile voids is enormous but is generates guilt when not made part of the working culture or discipline”

However, this void from ‘doing’ can be such a fruitful space. We’ve all had those moments when we try to remember the name of a person and we can’t quite grasp it but when we stop looking for it, it will come. Those moments in the shower or driving your car when a solution to a problem pops into your head because you weren’t looking at it. 

“Don’t just do something, stand there”. Weisbord

We need to allow space. Time. Pause. Stillness. To explore, to wonder, to refocus, to investigate, to dwell, to ignore. 

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