In this article we will be looking at how to work from home successfully without ending up in the loony bin…
The illusive dream of all newcomers to the internet trade is to be able to work from home as your own boss. And why not? Getting up and taking on the 9 am rush hour is a nightmare that should be reserved for horror films.
But I’ve been doing this gig for some time now and I gotta tell you folks – it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!
You set out your new empire in a darkened corner of the house and get all your pencils sharpened and mouse mat scrubbed clean – surely there’s nothing that can stop you now?
Then reality kicks you right in the nuts and you realize what you’ve got yourself into!
Kids are crying and arguing downstairs, your girlfriend seems to think that she can barge in for a chat at any time of the day and the phone won’t stop bloody ringing!
Within a month you realize you can’t remember the last time you spoke to a friend or gone anywhere near a razor blade.
The only time you get to relax with a beer is at eleven at night when the only thing left on TV is a 1960’s horror staring Christopher Lee.
When was the last time you hit a bar?
Even the most introverted among us need to see people sometimes just to reset the inner batteries.
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to ensure you don’t lose your s++t when working from home…
#1 Clothes Were Invented For a Reason
There seems to be more and more pressure to hit a certain level of fashion within an office environment these days. I don’t really know why this is as most people I know absolutely despise being cooped up in an office!
When you first start working from home you realize that the tie and suit can be ditched pronto – this is a good thing right?
You giggle to yourself as you roll out of bed ten minutes after you used to be due in work and then crawl your way to the laptop.
But you are missing a vital workday ingredient by doing this and it will eventually effect your workflow.
The commute to work every morning is tedious but it provides you with thirty minutes or so to realign yourself and prepare for the workday.
You may spend this time playing Angry Birds on your phone or singing along to Spotify but it is doing you more good than you know.
Make sure you get up every morning and have a little routine of responsibility in place. Get up, go for a run, take a shower, get dressed and have a coffee.
Getting dressed is very important – I know the temptation to just sit about and work in your boxer shorts.
By following this morning routine you will end up feeling a lot more normal and a prepared. You want to attack the first work of the day as this is your most productive time ( in most cases! ).
#2 The Temptation to Break
The fiercest enemy I encounter when working from home is the feeling that ‘Oh…I need a break’.
When you are working in an office you are on a payroll so you don’t really give a crap if you are getting work done or not. Most of the time you are finding ANYTHING to do other than the work on your desk.
If you take this mindset into your work at home venture you are going to fail miserably – period!
Take a break whenever you feel you need one but don’t go overboard.
#3 Lunch Outdoors
As I touched on above – being stuck inside with no real human contact is not the best way to stay sane!
Whenever possible, try and take lunch outdoors where you get to speak to at least one person. Make it a habit to get out of the house and go run an errand when you’d be getting lunch. Speak out loud to a human, even if it’s just the waiter at a cafe or the girl on the till at MacDonald’s.
#4 Define Your Work Hours
Make sure you stick to near-human work hours when you are working from your own home. I find the best way to do this is to simply use the hours you used to use when you were stuck in your office job.
If you used to finish work at 5:30 then you should try to finish work at this time every day at home. Do whatever it is you need to signal to your brain that the workday is over and stick to it.
You need separation from your work otherwise you are going to end up burning up and fading out. You don’t want to end up feeling you live within your job – you want your home to be YOUR HOME.
How to Work From Home Successfully
At the end of the day it’s all about having a work-life balance in place. You want to be efficient enough to get all the work done without ending up like a nutcase.
Shut up shop when you are off the clock and only open up the laptop if you have forgotten to do something important. Spend time with the family and leave the home office door shut until it needs to be opened the following day.