Put your Powder and Lipstick on: Advice for home workers and home makers alike

Scrolling through Facebook, I came across this interesting piece of advice taken from a Singer Sewing Machine manual which was published in 1949.

Most people commenting on it were either shocked at its sexist nature or were ridiculing the advice it gave. Whoever puts on their powder and lipstick and does their hair just so they can sit down and sew?

The problem these people had though was that they couldn’t see past the cultural aspects of the advice to see the excellent advice that the piece has for all of us, especially if we work from or at home.Advice from a Singer Sewing machineHere are three pieces of advice taken from this sewing manual that we can all apply to our lives, whatever we are doing:

  1. Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Never approach it with a sigh or lackadaisically. Obviously we are not all going to be sewing, but the underlying advice here is sound for all of us. If you’re going to do something then do it wholeheartedly. Prepare yourself mentally before you start, don’t expect that you can get good results when you start with a resigned sigh.
  2. Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes. What do dirty dishes have to do with sewing? Nothing. Remember though that this advice was written to housewives who took pride in the appearance of their houses. The excellent suggestion here is to get the little jobs out of the way first so you can truly focus on your big task. If your mind is wandering, thinking about the little things you should be finishing off elsewhere, you are not going to be as focused on your task as you should be and the quality of what you do will suffer for it.
  3. Make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress and do your makeup. The advice here is twofold and applies particularly to people who work from home:
    1. They are again reminding us all to get rid of distractions. The writer’s fear was that if you hadn’t got dressed nicely, you’d spend your whole time worrying that someone would come to the door and see you looking somewhat less than your best. While that may not be a worry for you, the advice to remove any distractions still stands. What we wear can affect our attitude. I know if I try to work at home wearing my pajamas, I very quickly get tired and need a nap, just because my body tells me I’m in my comfy, sleep clothes so I must be sleepy. I get much more done if I get dressed like I was going to work.
    2. The advice to get dressed up ‘just in case’ is wise, especially in this generation. If you’re working from home, you never know when your boss or client or someone may call for a video chat with you. Or when you’re going to need to make a quick bit of video for a presentation or some social media work. Before you sit down to work, get dressed and ready for anything a work day might bring you. Dress for video or for an unexpected lunch meeting. Be prepared and your day will go much more smoothly.

Wisdom is timeless. How that wisdom is applied and explained to a particular culture in a particular time period varies, but don’t discount advice from the past generations just because at first glance it doesn’t fit with today’s society. You might be surprised how much you can learn from the past when you take a closer look!

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

3 thoughts on “Put your Powder and Lipstick on: Advice for home workers and home makers alike”

  1. I had never seen this before. I can see why people would get all up in arms about it in our generation, but I also see the wisdom of it when understood in context.

    It’s funny because people are so against this concept, but I apply similar kinds of thought to my day. Before I work I clean off my desk. It’s stupid in a sense because as I’m working I get paper, my phone, pens, and other things back out of the drawers (or my pocket) so the desk slowly gets cluttered again. However, preparing my space prepares me mentally for the task of working. I find that if I’m in a hurry and leave the clutter there, I do worse work and it takes longer.

    I also have several other habits that really help me to focus and do my best.

  2. Ann says:

    Excellent. Richard does exactly this now he works from home. He gets up at the same time, dresses exactly the same, sits down to work at his normal time and does a full day’s work, even getting agitated if
    lisa leaves late and tries to speak to him, although I’m sure at work he spent time speaking with colleagues.

  3. Ann says:

    P.S. Glad I shared that post for you to pick up and use.

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