I must admit I love working from home. There is freedom, flexibility, it’s rewarding and a fridge just an arms reach away. But it can also be lonely, hard work and challenging. When I first went self-employed about 7 or 8 years ago the children were younger and did understand that even though I was at home I had to work. They new desk time meant work time which meant quiet time. Admittedly now they are older they forget I am working and I have absent minded teenagers roaming in and chatting. But that’s the beauty of it all. If I am in the middle of something really important that has a time on it I do shoe them away but most of the time I can stop and chat and then finish the work later in the evening.
So here are a few tips I have learned along the way.
Have a space that is just for you to work at. Ideally with a door but I know that we all don’t live in mansions or have spare rooms just waiting to be changed into an office. But your workspace needs to be a permanent spot. So not the coffee table, dining table or the little end of the kitchen counter. And not somewhere that gets used as a dumping ground for everything. You want to be able to sit at your workspace uninterrupted and able to leave and return to it without haveing to pack everything away and get it all out again.
Set Your Hours
Try and have set hours if possible. That way you and everyone around you know at 10 am on Tuesday is work time. Your brain knows too and you’re more likely to be in work mode.
Have the right and dependable tools that you need for your work. So if your computer based then a computer that won’t dies any minute. Reliable broadband is an essential tool too. Also if you are computer-based you will need your own computer and not share the family one. For one the logistics of school homework and you needing the computer won’t work. Plus also you will have all your customers details on there and you would hate for your little darling to press the wrong button and delete the lot. Then there is the whole Data Protection thing too. You need your own computer.
Yes kinda takes the fun out of the whole freedom bit I know. But you would probably prefer to schedule and succeed than wing it and fail. It doesn’t have to be hi-tech or gadgetry just whatever works for you. I have gone around the block on this one so many times. I want to be organized via my phone or laptop but when it comes down to it, it just doesn’t work for me. I have gone back, yet again, to the old faithful diary. Large ring bound that can fit post scheduling and ideas and everything else.
If you were in a typical office you would get people stopping by your desk, you would go and make coffee and you would have lunch breaks. When left to your own devices you will either permanently be snacking in the kitchen or manage 8 hours straight without food or a loo break. Try and by the office like and have regular short breaks. It took me two years to feel comfortable about putting the washing out in one of my breaks.
Also, have an end of the day. It’s really tempting and too easy to just finish something and then realize it’s past midnight. Working for yourself you will work longer hours but they don’t have to be ridiculous hours. To be successful you also need to know when to stop to rest and relax otherwise you are burning yourself out.
Lastly Re-evaluate Often
As your business grows and you streamline work processes you should also re-evaluate that workspace is working efficiently for you. Do you need more space? Or is it too big Could it be laid out better and does it still inspire you every time you sit down?