As we would have all realised by now, things for going to change so much in the next few years – Internet transactions are going to get more secure, so more people are going to trust the Internet, more people will get connected and there will be more people working in the comfort of their own home, sitting in front of a computer – whether it is trading, blogging for dollars, eBaying, or just selling stuff online.
Unfortunately, some common beliefs about working from home are that “If you work from home, you will have more time for yourself and your family”, or “You can spend more time out”.
I think while working from home could mean that you have greater flexibility of schedules, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have more time – you just work at different times. The keyword is flexibility, not less work.
In fact, for the hardworking peeps, I think we work MORE at home than if we had to go to the office.
Many would agree that working at home is not easy. Afterall, your home is the place you have associated to as a place to relax, sleep, munch titbits, laze in front of the TV… etc.
How do you ensure success if you work from home? Here are five key things you WILL need.
#1 – A Work Schedule
As mentioned, working at home is not about less work, but about more flexibility with work. If you are employed but your boss allows you to work at home, chances are that if your colleagues in office are working 8 hours everyday, you’d probably need to spend at least the same amount of time working at home. If you are a business owner or work freelance, the schedule becomes even more important. Without it, your life will be in a mess.
In your schedule, depict your time for meals, your time to rest, and your time to spend time with your family!
I realised I started bring food to the computer last month as I started working from home – which is never a good thing to do. Meal times must be stipulated and spent away from your computer so you take longer breaks. Sleeping time also must be stipulated so you don’t end up sleeping at 7am!
#2 – Good Goal Setting Habits
My definition of schedule and goals are different – the schedule depicts when you work and when you don’t. The goals determine what you target to complete within that time you are supposed to work!
Nobody is watching you when you work from home, and its easy to let “Mr Hyperlink”, “Ms Firefox”, or “Mrs Outlook Express” take you on an 8 hour journey into the amazing cyberspace… and after you are done with your journey, you realised that your work for the day has been stagnant.
I start my day by looking at my long term plan, and then deciding what I must to today – and then I transfer this to a “today must do list”. Slowly, as I complete each task, I will cancel the item off, and I scream “YEAH!!” when the last item is cancelled.
Only then, do I accept the date with “Ms Firefox”.
#3 – The Correct Working Environment
When an office is set up, very often the workplace environment has been thought of, with comfortable tables and fitting chairs, a good air-conditioner to make sure the temperature is right for working, and when many colleagues come to the same place to work, very often everybody will do their best to work as silently as possible, doing their best not to irritate their fellow colleagues.
However the home environment is different.
Home tables may not be meant for working, the lighting may not be good for long hours of reading, the computer chair may not have proper support for the back and you can’t stop your dog from chasing next door’s kitten! So take these into consideration, keep your distractions away, and make sure you are really comfortable with your working environment set up at home.
#4 – Understanding Home-mates
Not everybody works from home – you may be living from spouse, or parents… or anybody for that matter. Chances are when these people see you “at home” they readily assume you are “free from work”. So naturally, they will ask for hand to get the door, retrieve the letters, answer the call, pick up the kids, and feed the baby.
This is okay if your schedule allows you to be free when your home-mates are at home with you, but it is terribly disruptive when you are not free!
Let these people know exactly what you are doing, let them understand that you are working from home and you need private time. Even consider investing in a sign, like the ones in the hotel – one side saying “Do not disturb” and the other side saying “Please make up my room” to hang at your door, to let them know if they are welcome or will they be breaking your work momentum.
#5 – A TON of Discipline
This is BY FAR the most important thing to have.
In the office, you struggle to keep your eyes open no matter how sleepy you are, because you don’t want to portray yourself as a sleepyhead. Your boss makes his routine checks, always ready to pounce on you at your slightest 5 second nap, and even if you have your own private room, the cleaning lady is there to watch you nap as she comes in to change the lining for your waste paper basket, and before you know it, your name will THE name mentioned at the gossip pantry.
Working at home is different – nobody cares if your nap is 5 seconds, 5 minutes, or 5 hours! Oh, and you don’t have to sleep if you are not sleepy… there always the fridge, the TV set, and the PlayStation 3 as alternatives to spend your time. 🙂 In fact, if I just straighten my legs right now and give my chair a little push, I’d be right beside my nice comfy bed. Awww… the softness of the bed and the warmness of the blanket and my nice saliva-fragrace pillow… irresistible!
I hope you get my point – you have to answer to yourself! At the end of the day, you reap only the effort you put in, so that ton of discipline is needed to keep you stuck at your computer when you are supposed to!
Are you blogging for money at home? Are you working from home? Are you missing out on any of these, or could you add more to the list?