A lot of people seems to be interested to know more about what is it like to work from home; whether I get lonely, do I actually get work done and other questions. If “working from home” is one of your goals in the future, or if you’ve just started doing it, here are some things you need to know, and tips to overcome the problems that it may brings.
1. Being Alone
I am personally okay with being alone. As an only child with super busy parents, being alone is in my nature, so I’m very much used to it. Depending on the situation of your home, you might feel “trapped” to be in that same space day and night. Lucky for me, I have a dedicated room for working. If you don’t have an extra room in your house, you can have a dedicated space or nook or corner where you can have your desk. Decorate your space/room with the things that inspires you. If possible, decorate that corner/room differently from the rest of your home. Put on music when you work and lit a scented candle. Basically, make sure to differentiate your working environment with your living environment.
Remember, never ever work in your bed, and if possible, don’t work in your bedroom.
2. Getting work done
When you’re at home, it’s hard to push away distractions because there are too many loopholes for procrastination. The distractions might not come from someone or something else, it might be coming from yourself! There are times when I suddenly crave for corn bread in the middle of the day, and I just have bake corn bread right then and there. That won’t be possible if I was working in an office, but since my oven is only a few steps away, corn bread here I bake!
To overcome this, I have a list of things to do today, this week and also a list of all the projects that I need to do. Make them visible all the time from where you’re working. Don’t forget to write the “do or die date” for each project. Highlight the projects that needs to be done urgently so that you know which one should be done first, and which ones you can push aside and do later. Remember that even though there is no boss who would fire you if you don’t do your job, you do have clients who expect to get what they’ve paid for and you have a business and reputation to maintain. And that gives you a bigger responsibility to finish your work in the timely manner.
Sometimes you take on more jobs than you can handle, it happens. Communicate that with your clients, let them know that you need more time to work on the project. Let them know that it is important for you to have this extra time to deliver good quality work for them, and stick to what you’ve promised. A lot of clients would be happy to give you the extra time you need if it means that they’re getting the best of you, not the overworked, tired and uninspired you.
For more tips on project organising, read my previous post.
I read an article somewhere that suggests people who work from home should dress as how they would when working in the office. That person must have never experienced a near-40 degrees celsius summer in Australia with no air con at home. I say, wear whatever is comfortable for you. If you feel like dressing up helps you to be more focus in your work, go ahead! I love wearing something that makes me feel as comfortable as when I’m lazing around the house on a Sunday afternoon. When you’re passionate about something, you will still be passionate about it even when you’re naked.
4. Change of scenery
This is probably the best thing about working from home, you are mobile. I get bored of my workspace sometimes, so I grab my MacBook and sketchbooks, and work in my living room. Sometimes I go to my favourite cafe and do some work there. Changing scenery is also great when you’re stuck with inspiration. Check out my previous post on finding inspirations.
5. Don’t take your freedom for granted
Working from home means that you have no one to tell you what to do and answer to, and there’s no reason why you should take that opportunity for granted. Always remember that if you’re working as a freelancer or a blogger, you are your business. So if you didn’t take your office job for granted, why should you now? There are so many opportunities for you to grow and expand what you are doing into a real business (Gosh, I hate that word. We one-man/woman freelancers and bloggers are real businesses too, you know!). That gives me an idea… I might write about growing your creative freelance business next ;) !
So there you go, I hope that answers most of your questions about what working from home is like. It’s not as relaxing as it may seems, and if you think that working from home means that you have less responsibility, you are so wrong. You have the responsibility in giving your clients/customers the best of you 24/7 (although some clients don’t deserve that. Stay away from those clients!).
However, I have to admit that the challenges I face in starting and growing my own small business and being able to dream about making it something bigger and better is so amazing and I wouldn’t trade that for any office jobs!