The buddy work day

Yesterday I had a co-worker and an hour-long commute.

My artist friend works from her metro home. Denise understands isolation and the lure of  temptress Madam Nap. Denise and I try to work together once a week, but lately our schedules had other plans for us.

Finally, we co-worked. She conquered her deadline monster, and I plugged away on Novel 2. Another productive day behind us.

More importantly, the work date chased away the crazies suffered by artists and prisoners in solitary confinement. When you talk to your daughter’s American Girl Dolls, you know you’re dangerously lonely. (It’s like McKenna reads my mind. We’re that close.) When you organize batteries according to size, alphabetize them, and put them in labeled bags, it’s clearly time to zap the routine.

Most home workers tell me they’d never invite a friend for a “work date.” Too disruptive. Too tempting to chat. And, philosophically, the buddy arrangement plays into misperceptions that home workers goof around for hours and work for the remaining twenty minutes.

Denise and I share the belief that friends can work productively together. Call it a buddy work day. Your time together is like working in neighboring cubes at an office, minus health insurance. The difference is we have to catch up on all the “non work” work to mirror the office experience.

Here are the talking points from “Shelley and Denise’s Guide to Buddy Work Days: Just Like the Office Cube.”

1. Buddy work day: Ten minutes of catching up. Office day: It’s called team building.

2. Buddy work day: Talk about projects and their challenges; then brainstorm together. Office day: It’s called project planning and management.

3. Buddy work day: Talk about progress toward long-term goals. Office day: It’s called strategic planning.

Photoshop fun! It's a buddy work day icebreaker.

Photoshop fun! It’s a buddy work day icebreaker.

4. Buddy work day: Share tips and news from the artist community. Office day: It’s called mentoring.

5. Buddy work day: Use break time for a quick walk to awaken the senses and engage with nature to feed creativity. Office day: It’s called a work retreat.

6. Buddy work day: Eat lunch and share some laughs. Office day: It’s called lunch hour.

7. Buddy work day: Set up a quickie photo studio, take pictures, and use Photoshop to make hilarious photos of each other. Office day: It’s called a conference icebreaker. 

8. Buddy work day: Go shopping. Look for designer jeans for upcoming party. Find matching shoes and jewelry. Realize exotic essential oils are a deserved treat. Get to checkout lane and decide nope. Too expensive. Apologize to checkout lady. Make note in calendar to stop at Goodwill. Office day: It’s called budget forecasting.

9. Buddy work day: Drink wine, eat funky cheeses, gossip, plan trips to fabulous cities, watch YouTube videos, ruminate about being misunderstood, complain about capitalism’s inability to value an artistically creative society, wonder if Van Gogh really cut off his ear. Office day: It’s called the boss is on vacation.

So, you see, it can be done. But yesterday was so exhausting. Today l’ll have to surrender to that vile Temptress Nap.

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