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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Working at Home

Robert Manni - Friday, April 08, 2016


If you don’t have to get up at 7am to schlep to an office in the bitter cold, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of lounging around your flat all day in your pajamas.

But that’s not how championships are won or how you pay the rent. When you’re working from home, especially after spending years toiling in a traditional corporate environment, things can get dicey quickly. There is an additional skill set you’ll need to deploy to make a go of it. It’s called discipline and time management. And, you’ll need to do so without the resources you had while working in a large team at an office.

Let’s face it, even in the most stringent corporate office environments, you can take solace knowing you can become invisible every so often without forgoing your paycheck. That changes when you're working freelance from your home office.  When you're on your own, time really is money in or out of your pocket, so you need to be sharp. Yes, many jobs are becoming virtual due to our being tethered to technology, but when you’re working virtually at a real company you still show your face every so often, and with that comes the usual office politics and gamesmanship. Plus, you still collect a paycheck.

When you are flying solo, maybe in a creative endeavor like writing, art, or music, you need to master the fine points for being your own boss and motivator pronto, and it ain’t always easy. That calls for some insights from your Guy’s Guy. After all, he’s been slugging it out from home for a few years now and he knows a thing or two about managing time and making the most of a day while working from the home HQ. With that I offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Working From Home. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few nuggets that will help you on your way to more productive days and the fame and fortune that awaits you from your solo pursuit of success.

Drum roll please…

1. Set routines – Okay, this may sound boring, but managing your time while working from home is mission critical to success when going it alone. It’s far to easy to sleep late, get distracted by Facebook, memes, and all the media that’s hurled our way every second of the day. I’ve found it extremely helpful to set my iPhone and mental alarm clock every morning. I'm usually awake before the alarm goes off, so I use the time to for a short meditation based on being thankful for my health, family, abundance, and joy. I do this every day and it gets me off on the right foot. I get up and swish coconut oil around my mouth for twenty minutes before drinking a big old glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in. While swishing I feed my cat and help my toddler get ready for school. By 8:30 I’m usually on my own and ready to work hard for the next six hours. On most days, I crank out 70 push-ups, work out for an hour, or go for a run. The physical activity ignites my mind, body, and spirit for the rest of the day. The discipline of a routine is good for the mind and necessary when you have a dream, time on your hands, and working from home on your own. Once I sit down to work, I listen to digital tracks created to help my focus, creativity, and IQ enrichment. In fact, I’m listening to one right now. Then I work, work, work until mid-afternoon. I might take a short break for lunch. I use that time to check my email, etc. between mouthfuls of nutritious food.

Have I been tempted to loaf around in my shorts, watch sports, porn, movies, or scour Twitter, Facebook and the like? Sure, but that's a quick path to a downward spiral. Maybe you’re more adept than me at juggling your time and getting things done. That’s good. For most, a routine can be our friend when making the transition to working from home. Without the usual office distractions and office meeting nonsense, you can get a lot done in six or seven hours.

2. Get out of the house - Although getting the written work done is extremely important, it’s also critical to get outside and maintain your relationships and connection to society. During the long winters in the northeast, I’ve found it easy to stay inside for days at a time. Not good. Sure, I get a lot done, but I find myself becoming insulated at my workstation in my man cave. When I do this, I find that whatever I’m working on or what is on my mind becomes all-consuming. I also have a tendency to take things too seriously so I get too intense and eager. That’s why I go for a run, talk a walk, or hop on the subway and meet up with my friends or former colleagues for lunch or a beverage. Frankly, it reminds me about my professional cred and reputation, and that people I respect are pulling for me to break through. And, that’s exactly what is happening.

3. Don’t neglect yourself – As mentioned, part of my routines focus on nourishing my mind, body, and spirit to enhance my productivity and chances for success. So, I eat organic food, hydrate throughout the day, work out regularly, and even forgo alcohol and recreational drugs when I'm inspired to do so. Over time, I find myself less in need of booze, pot and whatever else used to turn me on. This may sound like a boring lifestyle, but it’s anything but tedious. My mind is fresh with new ideas and I have the psychic energy to grind out projects in one sitting. It’s all good and I know I can enjoy a glass of wine or tequila if that’s what I want after my work is done.

4. Shun media – Although I come from the media business and have made a good living from it, I also know how easy it is to fall prey to staring at the television, social media, or simply binge-watching sports, movies or cable series like Billions or Ray Donovan. It’s easy to get sucked in, but there is a way around being pulled into it. The key is not turning on the television until all of your work has been completed for the day. At first it’s challenging, but it soon becomes a non-issue when you realize how much you can actually accomplish during the day if you're not goofing off.

Did I enjoy being part of a functioning team, having the tangible accomplishments you get when working in an office, and bonding with lots of other people? Yes, but I also have a dream, and sometimes dreams require you going it alone.

So, I hope you’ve gleaned some insights that will give you a good start to making the most of your time if you decide to work from home. If you find that flying solo is not your cup of tea, I hope you find your way back to the rat race. But remember, they call it that for a reason.

This weeks’ GUY’S GUY of the Week are all the people who took a chance and went for it, whether they worked from their studio apartment, mother’s basement, or even out of their car. Success to you, amigos.

Work and Romance-The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Robert Manni - Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Is it wise to have a relationship with a colleague at the office? 

We’ve all been there. You’re working long hours, and as the pages fall off the calendar and the seasons change you look outside the window nearest your workstation and see the smiling faces outside and wonder am I the only one working so damn hard in this city? You look around you and there she is, the pretty young woman with the awesome legs and the great smile.  You ask yourself if the attraction is because you are both working your butts off or are you genuinely feeling it? Before you know it, you’re ordering in since you’re both working late. Then you have a few laughs over the fortune cookie from the crummy Chinese place down the street. The next week you leave work at the same time and walk to the E train together. A month later she wakes up next to you with that same smile that hooked you in the first place. Now what? These office romances usually go one of three ways. 

The Good 

You’re cool. She’s cool. You are both adults and work approximately at the same level in different departments. So it happens. You ate, you drank, you laughed, you rumpled her sheets and she’s totally cool about it. Maybe she has a boyfriend who works in Boston. Or she’s playing the field and she sees you as a great guy who she enjoys spending time with. You are not a stalker nutcase and you respect her space especially after you’ve done the deed. Or maybe she just wanted some variety or to take the edge off and you were there.  And then again, maybe you two were meant to be. It happens. I’ve had a few office flings in my time and one lady ended up living with me and it worked out just fine. We both found new jobs organically, but at first she wanted to let people know that we were an item. And I did not. My question to her was, “Can you tell me one good thing that will come out of sharing this with a gossip crazed ad agency?” That kept the lid on our relationship until I found another job. At that point, it did not matter. We kept things cool and it worked out. Okay, there were a few awkward moments when someone made a lecherous comment about her in my presence, but no big deal. 

The Bad 

If the word is out about you two and you are having a disagreement it sucks. Same thing if another person in the office or someone who works with your company has his or her sights set on one of you. Things can get sticky, fast. You don’t want your co-workers knowing about your personal business. They talk, maybe out of boredom, but they will talk. And when they do your colleagues will look at you differently and maybe guard their own words when either of you is around, especially if you impact their job. It can be awkward. And if there is a rift and someone at the workplace is the reason, business quickly becomes personal. Not optimal, amigo. And you don’t want to have a tryst in the physical office space even if your boss is an a-hole and you want to have sex on his couch, just so you have something to laugh about every time you see his smug puss. So tread carefully when the word gets out about your relationship. It can be used against both of you, and if you are not getting along it can get tricky. 

The Ugly 

This usually happens when one of you is the boss and the other a subordinate. Let’s say the boss decides that he or she has had enough fun. The subordinate gets dumped and all hell breaks loose. High stakes and tension become a toxic cloud in the office. Uncomfortable looks, emotional blackmail and even accusations of sexual harassment are rampant. You know it happens, even if it is not true. People try to keep their jobs by playing this card and it can work if the circumstances are set up the right, or should I say, the wrong way. This can be a messy situation and it impacts people’s careers. You want to keep it light and avoid this at all costs. 

What To Do

As with all of your encounters with the opposite sex, do your very best not to let your sexual organs lead the way, especially at the office. Common sense, paying attention, and being a gentleman all go a long way when engaging the ladies. If you are a guy, look before you leap because you may be walking a tightrope without a net. If you’re a woman, remember that work is for working. Of course because we spend so many hours in an office many couples get their start at work, but if it happens be a professional and don’t let emotions dictate your actions. Our primary reason for being in the office is for the job, even if it’s not much fun. That’s what we get paid for so keep it in mind when that young hottie sashays her stuff past your desk every morning. I know, it’s easier said than done. Do your best and it will work out just fine. 

Guy’s Guy of The Week: 
Bill Clinton - for illustrating for our nation the dangers of dipping one's pen in the company ink. 

Do you have a handle on office romances?


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