Working from home has it’s pros and cons. Right now, I’m so glad that I do. It’s great that I’m putting together my own workload and love the people I interact with on a daily basis. I explain more about my decision in a previous post.
I am discovering that it takes a different kind of willpower to maintain productivity than a job that requires travel. Instead of getting up early and hopping on a train, my commute changed to just walk down the hallway. You can imagine that I could stretch out what they can get away with when you work from home.
I’ve learned to live by a certain set of “rules” in order for me to be successful and keep my eye on the prize.
Rule #1: Set-up shop
For me, it’s really important to have a dedicated work space to call my own. Not only does it give me a sense of ownership in the work I’m doing, but it helps having everything you need at a designated spot. Once I’m done doing my business, I leave my office area to enjoy the rest of the day in the other parts of my home. That gives me the sense of “leaving the office,” just like when I had to commute to an office building. Also, freelance/contract workers can write-off the space used for an office in taxes. Win-win!
Rule #2: Get dressed
The biggest challenge that my friends told me they would have if they worked from a home office is getting out of pajamas. Every morning (especially from Monday to Friday), I get up at the same time as my husband to start my day. Having a routine like that helps me start off my day on the right foot. I shower and put on a fresh set of clothes…always. I don’t want to be that person. The one that gets stuck in her pajamas. Don’t get me wrong though, if a day calls for pajamas all day, I won’t pass it by. The beauty of working from home at times is not having to get overly dressed up, so it’s good to have “off” days. It would be your little secret.
Rule #3: Establish “office hours”
Flexibility is wonderful while freelancing! If I have to schedule a doctor’s appointment or have a personal meeting to attend, I can work easily work it in. That goes without saying, I still have a set amount of hours that I’m “in the office.” The stability helps for being available to my colleagues and it’s also good to be able to be done for the day.
Rule #4: Work outside the “office” every once in awhile
Don’t be afraid to work outside your office. I’m still working on this one because I get way to comfortable in my house. But, sometimes you just need a reason to get out of your home. I would bring my laptop to work at a coffee shop some mornings or go to a sandwich shop that has free WiFi to have lunch and work afterwards. Either way, this gives you an excuse to get out of the house, so you don’t go stir crazy!
Rule #5: Attend networking events and/or schedule lunch dates
My amount of human interaction went from commuting with thousands of New Yorkers to nobody. My co-worker is a cat. Although I chat and interact with humans online, there is something to be said with actually seeing live people in the flesh. I search for networking events in the area or meet and greets. Can’t go wrong with a girlfriend’s get together for lunch either!