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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

Never underestimate the power of preparation

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

I've been sick for a week with the typical winter head cold—sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing. The coughing is the worst because it's challenging for me to hop on calls with clients/prospective clients. I fear I will be muted more than I will be vocal.

One interview was canceled this week because the client was also sick. This did not bother me, as I was grateful for the delay to give my coughing time to subside.

I've been sneezing so much that I've seen no need this week to apply makeup, as I quickly wipe it off after blowing my nose. So, my hair was in a messy bun, with no makeup to be seen, and I looked like Susan the Red-Nosed Editor.

As a long-time remote worker, I could easily avoid getting ready for my job each day. After all, I was rarely on camera for the 17 years I worked with, so who would have known I wasn't "presentable?"

I would have.

And so, nine times out of 10, I am prepared each day for "going to the office." As a remote worker, I still need to be ready to face the day as a professional. This means every part of me is presentable for an office environment - hair, makeup, business-casual outfit, even shoes.

I'd fall asleep at my desk if I tried to work while still in my pajamas.

Bertrand is always prepared, too. Especially lately.

Since I started putting out peanuts for him, he has arrived earlier each day.

And, now, he is waiting on my arrival.

Three times, just this week, I have found him waiting patiently for me to show up with the jar of nuts, unscrew the cap, put in 1/4 cup for him, and slowly back away from his dish.

Bertrand and I agree there is power in being prepared.

For Bertrand, it means he can ward off other squirrels who try to partake in the nut feast.

For me, it means I can be ready for whatever comes my way for the day.

Except for today, apparently.

I put in a proposal for a blog editing job which needed to be completed as soon as possible. Within minutes of submitting my proposal, the client asked if I could hop on a Zoom call to discuss the article before beginning the editing.

And lo and behold, I had not prepared for my day because of being sick.

But, I had a good feeling about this particular job, so I assured the client I could be on Zoom within 10 minutes.

I rushed to prepare, landed the job, quickly performed the editing (far exceeding the client's expectations,) and was added as a favorite freelancer to his Upwork client account. He's already planning on more work for me in the future.

Now, did it matter whether or not I had on makeup and fixed my hair? Would my physical appearance contribute any more to my being awarded the job versus what my portfolio reveals?

No, it certainly would not.

But, for me, one who deals with Imposter Syndrome, being at my most "presentable" is important. I feel better about myself when I have taken the time to look my best. It's not vanity or ego; I want to feel good, and this self-care helps me with that.

Plus, the job paid me a higher hourly rate than usual due to the expedited nature.

So, I guess you could say at least I'm not sitting around waiting for peanuts.


Some other tips for working remotely:

  • Meal prep for breakfast and lunch so you save yourself time getting food during the work day.

  • Are you a coffee drinker? Get a programmable coffee maker and set it up each night.

  • Verify your calendar for your tasks for the next day, the night before.

  • Are you not a morning person? If you need extra help to wake up, check out Liza Colpa's morning meditations on Insight Timer or Spotify for a quick productivity and confidence boost.

  • Start work as early as you can, even if you're not a morning person and can burn the midnight oil; set a specific time for when your work will begin, and then stick to that time.

  • Get up and move! Sitting is the new smoking, so if you have a predominantly remote desk job, get up every 20 minutes and spend 5 minutes moving -- put in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, sweep the porch -- anything that will increase your circulation.

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