Innovation at Home

This is the first of a two part series that describes where I live and where I work at Mayo Clinic.

To me, life and work are inseparably intertwined. You cannot have a productive work life if your home life is unstable. You cannot have a balanced home life if your work life is unstable. When I decided to work at Mayo, my wife and I agreed that we would live in Massachusetts running Unity Farm Sanctuary but I would work in Rochester/Jacksonville/Scottsdale Sunday night through Thursday night.

Over the past month, I've organized a life in Minnesota, maximizing my well-being and efficiency. I rented a 600 square foot apartment that is a 2 minute walk from Mayo Clinic. I've moved those things from the farm that make the space uniquely mine - my morris chair, my desk, woodblock prints, green tea supplies, and a simple antique bed.

Outside the window I can see the Mayo building and the Plummer building. I'm near a great vegan restaurant and the local food coop. I have a small stacked washer/dryer in the apartment. Home Depot is 8 minutes away. I purchased a used Subaru for airport commuting.

All of this means that I can arrive each Sunday night and drive myself from Minneapolis to Rochester. Once in my apartment, I can create a simple dinner, write in my journal and prepare for the week ahead. My bedroom is 10x10 - a perfect place to retreat and rest.

Monday-Thursday I walk to work (and my workspace is the subject of the next blog) in the morning, spend the day with remarkable colleagues, then walk back to my apartment at night, stopping at the food coop to pick up fresh vegetables for dinner.

Thursday night I drive back to Minneapolis and fly to Boston, getting home about midnight.

Just as with Unity Farm Sanctuary, I've turned my Minnesota apartment into an internet of things demonstration site. I have a 100 megabit fiber connection to a Google mesh network. I replaced the apartment thermostat with a Nest device that I can control remotely, keeping the apartment at 60F when I'm gone but adjusting it to 65F when I'm in town. I've added smart plugs so that my morning routine turns on lights/music automatically while my evening routine prepares the space for sleep. The locks are RFID controlled.

The end result is that I have a stress free, highly functional environment around me when I'm not at the office. I can cook, clean my clothes, write at my desk, review strategic plans in my chair, and sleep comfortably, all within the 600 square foot layout. Pictures are attached below. My many years collaborating with Japan have taught me well and my home space at Mayo is simple, spiritual, and supportive.

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