Ever since I switched to self-employment, I’ve had several people tell me their thoughts on whether or not working from home would work for them. Usually these people say one of two things.
One phrase I often hear is “Oh, you are so lucky to be able to work from home. I would LOVE that.”
The other phrase I hear is the exact opposite “I would absolutely HATE working from home. That would never work for me.”
I know several people who work from home and couldn’t possibly love it anymore than they already do (I’m in that group), and I also know those who have worked from home in the past and completely hated it.
Whether we’re talking about working from home for yourself, or working from home for others, those who work from the comfort of their home usually experience similar problems and situations.
Working from home obviously isn’t for everyone, but below is how I make working from home work for me:
I still have an office.
When working from home, you will most likely still need some sort of office area. This is so that you can have a dedicated work area where you can stay organized and stay on task.
If you have an extra room, then you may want to convert it into a home office. If you do not, then you may want to take a section of a room, whether that be your dining room, living room, guest room, etc., then make a small dedicated workspace for yourself.
Also, you need a place that can allow you to conduct professional video meetings, interviews, and phone calls without a lawn mower or a dog barking in the background. For me, this has never bothered me, but I know others who have worked from home usually say this is one of their problems. You don’t want to be on an important phone call when there’s a bunch of noises outside distracting you or the person on the phone.
If you occasionally need something more professional than a home office but you know you won’t use it too often, then you may want to look into renting a shared office for your business. This way you have a place to conduct professional meetings and possibly even have a conference room that is available for you when you have to meet with clients.
I leave my home every now and then.
Some days, you may want to work from somewhere new. I always prefer to work from home over anything else, mainly because I can easily get distracted with people watching. Others I know enjoy working from a Starbucks, a park, or a rented shared office.
Every now and then, getting out of your home and switching things up may help so that you do not feel like you are stuck in a rut or secluded from the outside world.
Another thing you may want to do is to break up your work day. This is one of the things I love most about working from home. I have a flexible schedule, and I can do other things during the day that I want to do and work at a time that works better for me.
I recently bought a membership at an indoor rock climbing gym. It was somewhat expensive, and when I had my day job I probably would have never bought it. However, now that I work from home, I need a fun little break in my day so that I can rejuvenate and feel more motivated to work. Having a small break in the work day is very helpful because otherwise I would probably just work 16 hours a day without a break. It’s also a great way to work out and have fun at the same time.
I still have a social life.
Leaving your home is also a good idea if you ever feel lonely. Loneliness is a big reason for why many people think that working from home won’t work for them.
You might want to join a club, go to networking events, meet up with friends and/or family for lunch or dinner, and more.
I make sure I have fast and reliable internet.
One thing that can really ruin my work day is not having quick internet. Lately, my internet has been much better, but before I would occasionally want to throw my laptop out the window.
Having fast internet for many work at home jobs can make your work day move along much more efficiently.
I set a schedule and make goals.
Since you are working from home, it can be easy to forget about the work you need to do since your workday is a little different.
You need to create a schedule and stick to it. Decide when you’ll wake up, when you will work on a task, and what your goals are. Setting a schedule and setting goals will help keep you motivated and you will be less likely to procrastinate.
I try to eliminate distractions.
It is extremely easy to get distracted when working from home. Before you know it, you might watch TV for hours on end and waste a whole work day.
Here are different ways to eliminate distractions:
- Turn off your TV. TV has been my number one distractor.
- Download apps that will turn off social media for you. This way you are locked out of any distractions and you are unable to turn it back on by yourself.
- Turn off the wi-fi in your home. This ties back into distracting yourself with social media. If you don't need wifi for your job, then I highly recommend this.
- Prep your meals. If you distract yourself from working by eating (yes, I do this too), then you may want to look into prepping your meals so that you can spend less time making your meals. Also, don't buy unhealthy snack items so that you have nothing quick to resort to.
I have off days.
You can’t work every single day, at least not forever. In order to keep your sanity, you should have off days.
This is something I still struggle with. I find myself working nearly every single day. It is hard to stop since it is so easy for me to work, and also because I do enjoy it so much that it doesn’t really feel like work.
Even with that, you still need an off day. For me, I like to pick my least busiest days, which are usually during the weekend. I will still reply to emails just because I don’t want to wait until Monday and there be 1,000 emails in my inbox waiting to be answered.
I hire help.
Having help is a big reason for why I am able to do so much. I hire different parts of tasks that need to be done to three virtual assistants. It makes life so much easier because I can focus more on the bigger picture.
There are many things you could hire out. You could find a babysitter or helper for your children, you could have someone clean your home, you could hire an employee or a virtual assistant, and more.
When I worked at my day job, I even had a client who hired someone to pay his bills. YES, it was an odd job but he hated it so he had someone else do it.
I let people know that I am still working a real job.
Ever since I started working from home, people have been popping out from all over asking for favors and telling me that since I do nothing during the day that I should have tons of free time.
If I do say no, I sometimes get guilted into doing it because people tend to think I’m just being lazy. I think this is really the only thing about working from home that bothers me. I’m fine with doing favors, but there is a point to where you might actually be hurting yourself if you are doing more favors than what you can realistically take on. Rarely is there a day that goes by where at least one person doesn't ask for a favor. I love my friends and family, but I need a break every now and then! P.S. If you are someone who asks for favors from me, don't take this the wrong way 🙂 It's just that doing 15 favors a week gets very tiring…
You need to inform others that you are still actually working. You are just working in a different environment now but just because you are working from home does not mean you are unemployed. If I was working in an office building doing the same exact tasks, would my job be viewed differently?
Would you prefer to work from home?
Would working from home work for you?
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