Many people think that working from home is easy. There are even some who think it is not a “real job”. But, I can tell you that it IS a “real job”, especially if that is how a person is earning a living. I can also tell you that it IS easy – in some respects, that is – but harder in others.
I have worked from home for many years, both full- and part-time. I also went to college remotely while working two jobs from home and obtained first my A.A.S. and then my B.S. To be honest – this was not easy. Working or going to school remotely are not simple things to do. But, if you have the right mind-set and discipline you can do it!
Here are some tips I have learned that should help you know if you have what is needed to work from home.
- A work day is a work day. You have to remember that when you are at home working that you are really working. You must set a schedule or number of hours, which I will get into more below. But, the important thing to remember is that you must treat your work days as though they were real work days in an office. Going grocery shopping, to a theme park, or to get your hair done is not getting the work done. Schedule those items into the schedule you set for yourself.
- Set a schedule or number of hours to work. The nice thing about working from home is flexibility with your schedule and hours. Try to set either a scheduled 9am – 5pm type of day and work only – but completely – during those hours. OR, set the number of hours that you plan to work in a day, although they may not be consecutive. For example, you may plan an 8-hour day, but only work 8am – noon and then pick it up again from 6pm – 10pm. Either way, set the hours you will be working as much as possible.
- Remind loved ones that you are working. Many people tend to think that workers from home are not really working or can forget that. They may call you up for a ride home, help with a project, or even just to chat. Remind family and friends that you are working during the hours you set and you will touch base with them when your work day is over or when you take a break.
- Do not get lazy. This may sound odd, but it can be really easy when working from home to just let things go as an “I’ll do it later” thing. For example, “yes, I know the article is due today, but I’ll just watch this movie and do it after” is not a good attitude. Or how about, “sure, I’ll go to the mall with you and just hit extend my deadline until tomorrow”? No, no, no! Again, working from home provides flexibility – yes! But, you have to be sure that you are not pushing your obligations aside.
- Work before play. This kind of goes with the above…reward yourself only after you have done the work. It is just like the weekend situation with Monday through Friday office workers. They work five days and then when the weekend comes is when they “play”. Instill the same type of behavior with your own work days. Whether you use the mornings for your “me time” because you work at night or the weekends to get things done because you only work weekdays – whatever the case may be, do your work before you enjoy the rewards.
- Stay focused. One of the biggest problems with working from home is distractions! As you roam through the house from your home office and catch the latest “Judge Judy”, you may stop just for a minute and end up losing 30 instead. OR, while listening to music as you work you may decide to browse for a new song on iTunes that turns into an hour of perusing the Appstore needlessly. Both situations mean you are losing time and focus from what you were working on. Set up everything you need when you start your workday – from drinks and tissues to music and background noise. Do not give yourself a reason to lose focus or get distracted.
If you are contemplating a work-from-home situation, my best advice is to make sure that you are ready, willing, disciplined, and set to give it your all. Remember, it does not work out for everyone!
Do you have some tips for home workers that you would like to share? Is there something that works for you that you think would be helpful? Do you have a story to share of someone’s mistakes to avoid? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!