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In honor of working in bed

BY Alexandra Samuel | UPDATED NOV 06. 2022 13:00 EST

Conventional wisdom says it’s a terrible place to work – bad for your sleep, your body and your relationship. I do not agree.

I tried working at a desk in our open loft. I took Zoom calls from the dining room table. I wrote articles while sitting at the table on our foredeck.

But my favorite workplace?

The comfort of my own bed.

I know, I know: working in bed is a terrible idea. Sleep experts will tell you that bringing work to the bedroom is a recipe for destroying the bedroom as a sleep-inducing refuge, and you’ll pay for it with a bad case of insomnia. Physiotherapists and ergonomists will tell you it’s bad for your back, neck, and arms, and that you need to sit at a good desk with all your stuff at the right angle. And your partner will probably tell you that bringing a computer into the bedroom is the opposite of soothing, let alone sexy.

But regularly I ignore the collective wisdom. Working in bed has been one of my top productivity habits for 35 years, and I’ve done some of my very best work half-buried in a pile of fluffy pillows. Now I’m ready to peer out from under the covers and share my love of bed work with the world.

Where it started

My habit of working in bed happened by accident: While I was in high school, my family did some house renovations, which meant there were a few months where I didn’t have a desk or table where I could work. Then I spent my freshman year of college in an apartment where it was too cold to work anywhere else except in bed. By the time I moved to a cozier environment, I was hooked.

I know it sounds unprofessional to write company reports or hold meetings while snuggling up in a duvet, but the lack of professionalism is a big part of why working in bed works for me. I mean, bed feels like the antithesis of work: when I’m in bed, I’m not really working – I’m relaxing! This deep, subconscious association means that no matter how tedious or stressful the task is, it immediately feels less tedious or stressful when I tackle it in bed. Even if I’m not working in bed on any given day—usually because I want to use the giant monitor on my actual desk—I’ll move into the bedroom if I bump into a roadblock, feel discouraged, or just feel a bit sluggish. indulgence would perk me up and give me a new burst of energy.

That works because I’ve turned our bed into a one-stop shop for everything I find comfortable or useful. I tend to get freezing cold when I’m stressed, so our bed has a heated mattress pad and an oversized heating pad, as well as a heavy duvet. The charging station on my nightstand contains a USB-C cable that I can use to charge my laptop, and there are spare headphones in the night drawer. I have a stash of aromatherapy oils, lip balm, and moisturizer. And I always have a glass water bottle filled and ready to drink. All these little conveniences combine to create a workspace that feels more like a spa than an office.

Do not disturb

Anything fun about working in bed? The bedroom door. I didn’t appreciate the particular beauty of the bedroom door (and especially the lock knob) until I found myself working at home with the kids around. When I’m working at my desk or in the dining room, anyone can walk in and interrupt at any time. (And trust me, they do.) When I’m working in bed, I can lock the door and know that my client conversation or writing flow won’t be interrupted.

That flow state is another benefit of turning on the heating pad, closing the curtains, and slipping under the covers. Rather than make me feel sleepy, the cozy cocoon of my own bed helps me tap into a less inhibited, more creative mind. I have to admit that my creativity is occasionally dented when I look down to realize I’ve stained my sheets with an uncapped marker or a spilled snack, but I’ve come to accept inked sheets as a badge of honor, and have learned to sleep with crumbs in bed. I even sleep better than ever: As long as I do my bedwork during the day rather than at night, our darkened bedroom retains its association with sleep, among other things.

Speaking of which, I’m lucky my husband doesn’t mind the crumbs, or see our love nest turn into a study. In fact, he himself is little more than the occasional conference call in bed.

Even if we’re both comfortable thinking of our bedroom as yet another workspace, I can’t say I’m immune to physical discomfort that can come from working in bed for long periods of time. It’s a bit counterintuitive, but my back actually gets more tired from an afternoon working at my desk than an afternoon spent in bed: When I’m at my desk, I stay locked in one (ultimately tiring) position, while when I’m in bed I am constantly rearranging myself.

But sitting with my computer on my knees for more than a few hours does take a toll on my back, so I keep a wedge pillow and adjustable lap desk handy; the lap desk is also useful for video calls, as it avoids the dreaded camera wobble and lifts my computer high enough to hide my headboard (a sure-fire gift I’m meeting in bed!).

Follow Cooties

The Covid era has made me a bit more germ-aware, so now I’m vaguely disgusted at the idea of ​​laying in bed and working in clothes I’ve worn out in the world. When I go to lunch or sit somewhere outside the house, I feel like I’m following outside coots to the supposedly germ-free place where I sleep. So I have a personal rule that I can’t work in bed unless I put on clean clothes or pajamas first. Conversely, I feel like it’s okay to sleep in a sweat if I haven’t left the house all day: once you blur the line between bed and office, you might as well blur the line between daywear and nightwear.

And ultimately, blurring lines makes working in bed so wonderful—and so productive. In recent years we have adapted to a new world where home is now the workplace, and in many cases we have dealt with that by trying to make part of the house feel like an office.

But why not do the opposite: why not make our workplaces cozier, more homely and more personal? The more I let go of what we consider ‘professional’ – whether that’s about changing my clothes between 9 and 5 or the amount of personal information I share with my co-workers – the more I feel like a whole person during the workday , and the less I am distracted by the sensory irritations of constricting clothing (or a constricting desk), allowing me to work happier and more efficiently, so that at the end of my working day I am not only satisfied, but also recharged at the end of my work day. working day come.

And that’s really what helps me sleep well at night.

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