Working From Home – Survival Tips
If you think that working from home means being able to do what you like and still reap the financial rewards you want to achieve, you are absolutely right. But it’s not an easy journey; it’s a survival game. There are a lot of things you have to do in order to survive working from home and still be able to achieve what you have planned to achieve in the first place. Here are some survival tips to see you through as you step into the freelance world.
Have Your Own Room – Because if you don’t, you would never find that personal space where you can work and not be distracted by your surroundings. You’ll need that separate space of your own, which is not shared by someone else simply because it would help you to focus. I’ve got my family at home during the daytime, so I lock myself inside my office room to work instead of sitting at the family table or kitchen table. That way I don’t have to be distracted by their actions or words, and I don’t have to keep shifting my things around – especially documents you don’t want them to read. Whenever I step out of my office room, they start talking to me or distracting me. It’s hard to work that way. Having your own room is simply a must.
Clarify Yourself – If you work from home and you live alone, this is not a problem at all. But if you are sharing the roof with family and housemates, then it’s a must to gather all of them and clarify to them that working from home doesn’t mean you are not working at all. Of course, you don’t mind running the errands and cooking dinner but you will have to make sure they understand that you have a job too. That means, no last-minute phone call with orders to get dinner, clean the toilets, wash the dishes or go to the bank. These would distrupt your working plans. You can do these things for them, just not on a basis that you are the servant at home because you’ve got a job too! I have an arrangement with my mom; I clean the floor every morning after everyone has left home but she has to understand that I can’t cook lunch just because she is too lazy to eat outside.
Set Up A Working Schedule – Like serious. You need to frame your working hours. It doesn’t have to be from 9 to 5 like the corporate world, but you have to have some kind of time structure to be effective. For example, I wake up and check my emails every morning at 9am. Then I proceed to get/cook breakfast for myself and make sure I am back at my desk in an hour’s time. I work at least 3 hours before stopping for lunch, and another 4 hours before I call it a day. It’s a routine; but it’s a flexible routine. When I have no deadlines to rush, I go for a morning jog or take a nap in the afternoon. But it doesn’t happen every day; you can’t let that happen every day. Discipline yourself to work at the time frame you have set. And you will not miss another deadline for slacking and have more time to spend with your family.
Discipline Yourself – There are no managers to supervise you from logging into Facebook, chatting on MSN, tweeting on Twitter, reading gossips, playing online games and plain slacking from work, so you’ll have to discipline yourself. These are things that can help you relax at work, or lead you to total slackness and failure. Set aside time for work and leisure. For example, I usually work on a project for at least an hour before I reward myself with a 5-minute break to do Facebook-ing, MSN-ing and watching MTVs. That way, I get work done and still have fun while I am at it.
Stay In Touch – Freelancing comes with a good friend named Loneliness. You may not realised it at first, but after a couple of weeks, you might start to lose touch with the world. You might start to feel lonely, recluse and moody because all of us need interaction with others. No matter how good we are in the things we do, our life is also about people and loved ones. Stay connected so that you won’t lose yourself in you, your work and your freelance career. It’s important to stay in touch with your friends and fellow industry professionals. Send them emails and SMSes, poke them on Facebook, IM others on MSN, meet up for lunch, etc. – anything to keep connected to others. Staying in touch with keep you alive and burning to achieve even more.
Working from home is not ideal for everyone and it’s not as easy as it seems. You’ll need to do something in order to survive when working from home. Otherwise, you might end up slacking and partying all day. Start with the 5 tips above and see how far you can go. From there, you can judge if working from home is the option for you afterall.
Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong © 2010