I recently launched my own business, L-Co, specializing in communications, media, helping people realize their dreams. Here are my thoughts so far on my own dream job. I just ate a whole bag of cheese popcorn and other complications of working from home.
Yes, I ate the better part of the bag. It was really good popcorn. I kept munching away. There was no one around to make me feel self conscious or to ask for a share. I work at home. I am alone for the better part of the day. Unless, like the past month, when the people that I live with weren’t at their various schools or jobs.
The housemates add an entirely different complication to this working at home business. For instance, due to inclement weather, the kids have been home quite a bit. They are about the house, watching movies that always have some loud battle scene or space traveling sound effects. When that finishes, they are ‘playing’ with the dog, which involves getting her wound up, running around the house and some yelling and barking- not always coming from the dog- if you get the picture. It is unpleasant outdoors. So, they are trapped in here, in my office singing a chorus of questions, ‘What is there to eat?’, ‘What are you doing?’, ‘What should I do?’, ‘What can I eat?’, ‘When will Dad be home?’, ‘What’s for dinner?’ This is usually, where I snap and insist they go outside to shovel some snow or something. Suggesting a chore can usually buy me some time. At the mention of any type of work, they will slink off and remain quiet for a bit, in hopes that I will forget they are home, doing nothing.
But, most days, I am home by myself, with a whole other set of distractions. Like the G.H. Cretors Just the Cheese Corn deliciousness, which according to their website is only helping me celebrate The National Snacking Month of February. Great. Other distractions including but not limited to: my pull toward domestic chores and my lack of defined office space and my yoga mat, which you already know is my napping spot and the dog has done something cute, naughty, gross, that I need to photograph. How could you not? The cute factor gets me every time.
So, How with all of this going on do I stay focused and get things done? Aside from the Cheese Corn for which I have no excuse or remedy, these are some methods that are working for me and some resources on the topic of staying focused and organized while working from home.
- Establish work schedule and stick to it (Time Management): I have decided that my work day starts at 10:00 much to the annoyance of my housemates. They think this is a little late. Whatever, your schedule, set one and stick to it. This start time gives me the opportunity to shift from house chores like laundry and tidying the breakfast dishes into work mode. At which point…
- I GET Dressed: including shoes, which indicates I am going to work now. Linda Cole wrote an article on this topic, posted on Linkedin suggesting ‘Never, ever wear slippers.’ I think she is on to something there. Being dressed signals to me that I am serious and in a professional state of mind, ready to work.
- I meet with collaborators outside of the house. We get together at a cafe to work on projects together. It is productive and breaks up the routine.
- The tricky part is when to stop working. I have yet to master the discipline of not check my emails, or just one quick edit on that proposal and three hours later… The office is always there and tempts me. Just like the dog and the housemates and cheese corn tempt me from work. I imagine the balance will come.
I spent a long time locked into a 9-5 job working in an office and manufacturing setting. It is absolutely amazing and thrilling to me to be freed from one single workplace. I love the flexibility of working from home. I love the technology that allows me to take my office anywhere. I love the fact that the things that distract me from my work are the things that I love most and if the dog gets too cute, I can always go to the nearby coffee shop.