Today I had an interesting insight. When I work in an office setting I tend to do what other people need me to do. When I work at home I tend to work on what I need me to do.
Now, before you think, “Yah, I hate the office,” please notice the key word, need.
I do what is needed to accomplish the goals of both Central Baptist Church and ABCNJ 1. The only difference in my two “work” settings is who sets the priorities. In the office it’s others, at home I set them myself.
Now, I am an introvert who also happens to be reasonably creative. I need to spend significant stretches working on my own so I can explore rabbit trails and stretch both my skills and imagination. If I don’t have time on my own I tend to burn out in the mire of routine. Given my personality it’s no wonder I prefer to work on my own. I’m not mentally structured to be an office cog.
Yet, given my personality, I also need to be in environments where other people set the agenda. Working solo is a wonderful thing, but too much of it often leaves me drawn so far inward I have difficulty relating to others. When I’m required to set aside my priorities for others I’m reminded I cannot be an island.
Working under someone else’s priorities helps me uncover my blind-spots. I have certain skills and habits which I typically use to accomplish goals and complete projects. Yet, as smart as I sometimes delude myself into thinking I am, there is no way my workflow is able to account for every contingency I face. When I’m on my own unfamiliar territory can lead me to avoid particularly thorny issues. When others are setting the agenda, however, I can’t do that – tasks need to be completed and avoidance isn’t an option 2. This is more than just “bucking up” and doing what I need to do, however, working under another’s priorities also means working with other people – their strengths and perspectives help to complete tasks where I might be shaky. Of course, given my personality, even when I work under other people’s priorities I end up doing it my own unique way.
Striking the balance between the “home” and “office” mentality is a key for my well-being. I can tell when it’s getting out of balance because both my productivity and joy decrease while I am “working.” Like most things, I learn how to balance it better as I go along, mostly through the mistakes I make along the way.