I love, love, love working from home. However, I must say, it is not for everyone!
It took me until now to finally feel like I have it down.
Through the school of hard knocks, I bring you these work at home tips.
Get serious —
No one will take you seriously until you take yourself seriously.
Yes, independence is nice. Once you get over the high of not having to answer to anyone, you begin to realize — Yikes! No one is feeding me clients either … or completing my billing … or creating a marketing strategy to get more work …
Nah-uh, sister — That’s all you!
(“Getting serious” is the general lesson here as we move on.)
Create a schedule —
Set and stick to a consistent schedule for those things that you must do each week.
You can work your butt off, but you are not getting paid until you sit that butt down and invoice! Make one day a week your “billing” day.
Set time for social media posting, marketing and professional development (the next topic).
Professional Development —
Never. Stop. Learning.
That’s about all that I am going to write here.
Don’t assume that you know all that there is to know about what you do. You know what happens when you “assume” right!?
Keep Office Hours —
I am not saying that you cannot work beyond 9 to 5. I do some of my best work at midnight! That is part of the flexibility of working from home.
The key is to keep that on the D.L. No replying to emails after business hours. Let your voicemail do the answering on the weekend. Don’t let the “Date Modified” time on the file that you just worked on read “1:15 am.” (Oh, come on, I can’t be the only one who notices that stuff!)
This is all part of showing others that you are serious. … And, like every brick and mortar business, clients cannot just expect to walk into that business at any hour of the day.
Chances are people are collecting their thoughts off-hours as they rest and sending you a message while the thought is fresh on their mind. No need to answer that thought immediately! They wouldn’t even expect you to … that is, until you do it once! (Then, you are doomed!)
Limit Yourself —
Turn off alerts! This includes social media email notifications. Try to avoid social media altogether. When you must access social media for the sake of self-promotion, give yourself a time limit. We all know you will stumble upon a “must see” video that will consume minutes from your life! Think of your time as money.
Create a Comfy Workspace —
Not the bedroom. Not the kitchen. Create a space solely designated for work. When I walk into my office there is no question why I am there. It’s get busy time!
Do whatever you can to make that space feel comfortable and productive.
I like to light a scented candle and put on some music. I am so easily distracted that my music can not be recognizable. No words. No bass drops. This just leads to all directions but “work.” Do what works for you.
Meet Others —
I am so very happy to not have that weasel co-worker in the next cubicle who minimizes his IM chat screen every time a suit walks by as you are single-handedly completing your “team project.” (Wow, that came from a very real place!)
Even still, ISH gets lonely!
There is no water cooler to gather around to gossip in my home office. No walk-by the reception desk banter or coffee making conversation.
You know that you are getting a bit lonely when your phone call to the print vendor becomes a little needy. (“What’d ya do this weekend?,” “Did you hear what Trump said today?” Yeah, far beyond the necessary printing specs. It happens!)
That’s why it is also important to get out and meet people. Not just any people, others who work from home, just like you!
Joining a women’s entrepreneurial network was one of the best things that I did for myself as a professional. It was when I finally found others who “got it.”
We are humans, we need that!
All of these tips have helped to make my at-home work day become more productive.
Flexibility is wonderful, but can also go to your head. Take control of your work day and show yourself who’s boss!