by Sergio DeLaGuera
Everyone wants to be a superhero. It’s only natural. That’s why comic books have such staying power: they give us a glimpse into people we could never be with qualities we don’t have. We’re not perfect. We’re not the strongest person in the universe. We probably don’t have such a strong moral compass, either. There’s always one qualm people have about superheroes, however:
Why do they wear such silly costumes?
Most workers put on a uniform before heading to their job. Most of those uniforms are not spandex tights. Why would Bruce Wayne, a billionaire heir traumatized from the loss of his parents, wear a silly Bat costume to fight crime? The answer’s pretty simple, actually: he doesn’t feel like Bruce Wayne when he puts it on.
Uniforms provide an important aspect to our lives. We juggle multiple identities throughout each day. The person we are with our drinking buddies is not the person we are in that corporate meeting room. The person called Bruce Wayne is not the person called Batman. The key to these multiple selves can be expressed through our uniform. Yet, writers and other work-at-home professions espouse the virtue of “writing in our underwear.”
Notice, also, how these same professions often struggle with getting work done.
When we put on that suit-and-tie for our day job, our brain kicks into work mode. We start thinking about how to do our job because our brain expects us to start doing it. Work-at-home professions can lose that separation of selves by being dressed in the same outfit for both work and leisure.
Create a simple uniform that you will wear only to do your job in.
When I decide, “today I’m going to write,” I put on a pair of jeans and my comfy sweater. (I never said your “work” uniform had to be a suit-and-tie!) My brain switches gears and I start thinking about what I’m going to work on. This little act, the separation of time and activity by changing clothes, creates a distance from “work me” and “relaxed me.” When I take it off, I recognize that work time is over and I can relax without guilt.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on some tights.