Do This Don’t: Throw Out All Your Comfy Clothes

Something happened when I started dressing like a fully functioning human again: my productivity increased, and I felt more professional.
Publish date:
March 23, 2014
working from home, do this don't, sweatpants, comfy clothes

I recently started working from home, which is terrible for my hygiene. Since I was five years old, the main reason I got out of bed and brushed my teeth was because I had to be somewhere and -- gasp! -- people would see me.

In my first few days of freedom from an office, I lounged around in pajamas and sports bras while taking conference calls and scheduling demos. However, something felt just a little bit off. How could I reasonably explain the product I’m selling on a call with three purchasers while dressed in what I like to call “garbage-dump-chic”? Even though the people on the other line couldn’t see me, I could feel myself slouching and getting slightly sloppy with my wording. You know, like I was talking to someone while wearing pajamas on my couch. Probably because that’s exactly what I was doing.

So I made a rule for myself: because working at home is still working, I must get ready for my day as I always have: by putting on pants. To remove all temptation, I immediately threw out my comfy clothes because all they do is take up an excessive amount of space. Goodwill got a great donation that day, and after my comfy-clothing purge, I felt like a huge weight lifted from my closet shelves.

It was wonderful.

Until the next morning when I had to wake up and get dressed before work -- the luxury of laziness was gone.

But something happened when I started dressing like a fully functioning human being again. My productivity increased because I felt more professional. Not that I let myself succumb often, but while wearing pajama pants I would occasionally watch videos of cats jumping in boxes. Wearing a dress and tights again makes me feel more like I would at an office, so I’m reluctant to watch cat videos or allow myself any other distraction. When I do conference calls now, my speech never slips into sloppy territory because I feel exactly how I’m dressed: professional.

Best of all, I’ve started leaving the house after “work” more often. When wearing pajama pants for more than eight hours in a day, it’s hard to muster the energy to put on shoes and go socialize after 5pm. However, when I’m already dressed to go out, it’s just a matter of walking outside. So I actually do -- I walk outside and interact with other people. It’s amazing!

Now that I’ve found this wonderful little trick, I wonder if there’s truth to that whole “dress for success” concept? Maybe now that I’m dressing like I work for a business, good things will be bestowed upon my business. Or so I hope.