It’s been more than one year since I started working from home, and I love it. The journey was bumpy, but very enjoyable.
Many people I know, or even new people I meet, are surprised to hear I work from home. Most of them wish they could do it, so they ask me for advice. Here’s why I’m writing this.
Some of them imagine I stand around all day watching day time TV, so they don’t take me as seriously as they should, but that’s a subject for another article.
Before starting to work from home, I read all these articles talking about the problems of working from home, just as you are doing right now.
Here is what I did when I started working from home:
Figuring out if working from home is for you
This is something most people skip. It’s also something that is not easy to do, but here is some of the things that I think make me good at working from home:
- I like having things organised.
- I know during which hours I’m most productive, and I take advantage of that (this can be learned).
- I like to constantly improve myself and my work.
- Can easily refocus after losing focus (something that will happen often when working from home).
Sit down and put your strengths and weaknesses on a piece of paper. Be honest about it. Now, try to look at them objectively and decide of your strengths will be useful when working from, and if your weaknesses will be amplified or diminished.
Setting up your work area
Ideally, it should be a separate room where you can shut the door and get away from the outside world, but that is not always possible. If you end up working in the sitting room, then you should try to make it obvious you are at work by doing the following:
- Get an actual desk, and try to place it where you feel the least distracted.
- Tell your girlfriend/wife/housemate that, during x hours, you are working and not always available to talk.
- Invest in your desk setup, as it’s where you spend most of your time.
- Occasionally, if you have a laptop, move over to a different table in the house, as that will give you a sense of a new setup (believe me, it works).
- Invest in a great pair of headphones, that can drown out the outside noise, while playing some relaxing/stimulating music.
Don’t be scared by these. They all must/should be done even if you work in an office with people.
Starting every day in the same way
It’s very good to have a routine, at least when you start your day, otherwise it might feel hard to get out of bed. No matter what that routine is, set one for yourself.
I usually wake up one hour before starting work, check my personal e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, what have you, as I like to get all those out of the way bright and early. Do some regular morning stuff, not much different than if I was getting ready for a commute.
Of course, this isn’t a routine written in stone, but that’s what I mostly tend to do.
Try to disconnect
At the end of the day try to disconnect. And no, I don’t mean closing your work tab inside your browser, or Alt-Tab to another browser. Actually try to disconnect.
This will be one of the biggest challenges you face, but it will be worth it.
What I try to do:
- Go for a walk/supermarket.
- Go out to the restaurant/cinema.
- Read a book for 30-60 minutes (this usually clears the mind, or resets it).
- Listen to some music while enjoying a nice cup of tea.
- Exercise (it brings oxygen back to the brain, you know, the one that went to your but from sitting on it all day).
Last thing: enjoy working from home. If you aren’t, you’re doing something wrong.
Do you want to start working from home? What are your fears?
Have you already started working from home? How are you find it?