What does working from home actually mean?
- Yes, you can stay in your pajamas if it is rainy and cold outside (slippers are of course optional). Assuming of course you don’t have children to take to school!
- Yes, you can have unlimited coffee, and
- Yes, you can fit in household tasks around your work – put the washing on, hang it out, be on hand for any deliveries, workman etc, and the list could go on
On a more serious note, working from home is still work, and like anything if you want a good return from it, you have to put the time in. I have worked from home for some time now, and on various different projects. However, there are several thing that always remain at the forefront for me, and these are…
Dedicated Work Area
Decide where in the house you are going to work. That doesn’t necessarily mean rush out and buy a whole load of office furniture, but it is best if you can set aside an area you will feel comfortable working in. It should have good light, and if you are using a computer all the usual ergonomic rules still apply – the screen should be at eye level, your chair should be at the right height etc. This “work area” should help you feel motivated, and keep your “home life” separated a little from your “work life” – i.e. a natural boundary between the two. Some people can work by lying down in a reclining chair, but I’m certainly not one of them! Give yourself the best chance of being productive by choosing an area that is right for you.
If you do want to purchase any home office bits and pieces, visit my Kit Out your Home Office section.
Good Time Management
Working from home does have huge advantages in how you structure your day. I sometimes work a couple of hours in the evening, if I have gone out during the day and likewise, if I work for a normal business day during business hours, I usually have the evening off to enjoy something a bit more relaxing.
Units of Time
My advice is to break up the day into units of time – whatever you are most able to deal with mentally. For smaller, quick sections of work I use 30 minutes – for something a bit more in-depth, I use one hour. I also create a list of what I want to do with those units of time, which is effectively a plan.
Prior to a particular day, (or at the very latest at the beginning of that day), decide how many hours work you want to achieve. At the same time, set your objectives for that time – ask yourself “What do I want to see at the end of the day?”. Break it down into units of time, and check your list of actions off as you go – It feels really good to mark your progress!
My Top Tips for Working from Home
Choose something you enjoy doing
If you want to work from home and be productive, you really need to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing. otherwise, there is a real danger of allowing yourself to be distracted by the very nature of being home. Working from home is not the same as spending your day doing household chores!
If you are stuck for ideas, here are some suggestions for working online to help kick-start your own brain juices!
Be sensible when planning your time
Don’t set time & work goals that are so difficult, you would need 22 hours in the day to achieve them. This is pointless and will drive you to “burn out” really quickly. Allow yourself breaks, and when your planned work day ends, try and switch off and do something you find personally rewarding.
Set long term goals
A boat without a rudder will go around in circles, and so too will you if you don’t have a clear idea of where you are trying to get to in the longer term. Write your goals down and remind yourself of them every so often. Try and get a good mix of financial and personal goals. Yes, we all strive to have a little (or a lot) more wealth to do the things we want to do in life, but it’s also nice to enjoy the journey.
Make sure you have the tools and resources to complete the type of work you want to do.
For example, if you want to run an online business you will need a computer, preferably one that you can easily type on, and access to the internet.
Set a budget
What are the likely costs of doing your chosen work? What will you have to invest to set everything up? What are the tax implications of being self employed? What are the tax benefits of working from home? Different countries will have different legal requirements, so you need to be familiar with what applies to you and your situation.
In all honesty, I don’t think there is any such thing as a “get rich quick” business. If you come across anything that promises quick wealth, please take great care. Usually they go hand-in-hand with very high risk, and many people have lost a lost of savings through such schemes. There is no denying that some people are blessed with good luck, and may benefit, but the majority will not – so please don’t risk money you can’t afford to lose.
Hopefully this has given you food for thought if you are considering working from home. Please do feel free to ask me anything more specific by leaving a comment or question below – I am here to help.If you like this, why not share it?