I started my new career as a full-time freelance writer on October 3, 2009, and I hit the ground running. I was off on a business trip to do some work, and would be gone for a few days. Upon my return, I started settling in to my new gig, working in my home office and getting things done. In very short order, I hit a snag, one I never figured would come up.
I’ve been taking a shower on a regular basis since I was in middle school. Cleanliness is important to me, although admittedly, there are weekends where I’ll skip a shower on a Saturday if I don’t have anything planned. But somehow, in the midst of all of this writing stuff, the shower just got put to the side. I’d catch myself working in my boxers and an undershirt, and showering every other day. I was getting lazy.
At first, I thought that this might be a problem that just I would face, that wouldn’t quite resonate with most freelancers. Then my wife had our first child, and months later she’d be skipping days in the shower. I couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t taking that little bit of time to clean up every day, and then I realized that both of us had the same problem: scheduling.
When I started this as my career, I was spending every day trying to do more and accomplish higher goals. Problem was, that meant I had to focus most of my time on working, and my cleanliness got put to the side. This is the same thing that happened with my wife. She was too busy focusing on our son to worry about taking care of herself, so she didn’t. In the end, we both realized that the shower is more important than either of us realized.
For one, it gives us time to think. I take a pretty healthy 20 minute shower, but I’m done soaping down and cleaning up in under five minutes. I use the extra time for a few different things, all of which are critical to my day.
- Relax. The day hasn’t started yet, and I may already be stressed out. Looming deadlines, screaming babies, or missing food in the fridge may have started my day off on the wrong foot, but the shower gives me a chance to let it all melt away. It’s my decompression chamber.
- Plan. I learned a while ago that if I take a few minutes to review my day in the shower, that it helps to organize my thoughts. I’m already in a relaxed state, so thinking about the day ahead isn’t too difficult to do. By taking a moment to think these things through before my day, I can hit the ground running once I’m dried off. If I shower twice a day – something I do when I’ve been accomplishing things in the garage or going out for the night – then a second review of what I’ve accomplished can also help me figure out how to work more productively.
- Get Clean. I have two dogs, both of which are known for their flatulence issues. I was working in the office one morning, and I smelled something weird. I looked down and blamed one of the dogs, then got back to work. A short while later, I noticed that the smell hadn’t yet gone away. A quick pit check led me to the obvious conclusion: I was the problem. To the shower I went, and I haven’t looked back since.
- Being Prepared. Ever received a call in the middle of the day saying that you need to meet someone else in short order? I have, and if I wasn’t clean, it was a problem. By showering, you’re forcing yourself to get dressed as well. I’ll put on a pair of jeans and an undershirt so I’m comfortable, but have a shirt ready just in case. That way I’m still relaxed, but ready to go if need be.
Showering seems like one of the simplest tasks, but sometimes it’s easy to get swept up in the heat of things. By making sure you take care of yourself, your work will be better in the long run. Besides, it’s just good hygiene.
About the Author
Kevin Whipps is a writer and photographer based in the Phoenix, Arizona area. For the past 10 years, Kevin has been writing for various print and web publications, while carving out a name for himself in the industry. Although he writes about a wide variety of topics, he tends to focus on the automobile and tech industries. He is also the editor of Splashpress Media’s Apple Gazette.