1. Heidi

    For Melissa, I would also add:

    * Make sure the people in your life understand YOU STILL HAVE A JOB and aren’t now free to do X or Y for them during the day because you’re at home (unless you want to/can because you can still meet your deadlines and your clock is flexible).

    * Eat meals at fixed times/when you’d normally eat meals at work. Don’t start grazing in the kitchen all day because it’s right there.

    I’ve worked at home since 1997 and it’s been bliss for me.

    Some folks have told me they can’t focus at home. I can’t focus in a cube.

    If you find you need more structure to get things done, set task timetables for yourself and stick to them.

    And enjoy!

  2. Lee

    For working at home, I strongly recommend having a specific workspace. I am also an Instructional Designer and having a desk/file cabinet/bookshelf is a requirement for me to be able to focus. I also enjoy having music playing to drown out the outside world. I usually set hourly goals throughout the day to make sure I stay on task. Taking a full lunch break is important, I think, so that you do still get some time away from work during the day.

  3. pamie

    Helen Jane adds a few of her great tips on working from home. I do the daily to-do list, too.

    (And that coffee concoction, but that’s only because I’m currently not allowed my normal RDA of caffeine. Why anyone would intentionally do that to themselves is beyond me.)

  4. I’ve been working from home for the past year or so, albeit on a reasonably casual basis: I’m setting up a charity. Once our funding is sorted, I’ll work from home for most of the three year pilot period. For me, the two key things have been to sit at a desk, in my office, and to keep the TV off for most of the day (aside from when I head to the living room for my lunch break). I love not commuting, but I definitely have to stick to some kind of normal office routine.

    Also, it’s good to remember that you’ll never actually manage to be as disciplined as you might hope, but that it’s OK: because you’re at home, you gain a couple of hours that might otherwise have been eaten by your commute, so if you’re on a roll one day you can keep chugging away until it’s time to make dinner or whatever. You’ll have some super productive days, and some days where you’ll feel like nothing much was achieved. That’s OK.

  5. Another Melissa

    The most important thing for me working at home has been to not only have dedicated space that is only ‘work’ space (mine is a whole room, but it doesn’t have to be), but to also have dedicated furniture and equipment that is ‘work’ equipment only. It helps you mentally and physically separate being ‘at work’ and being ‘at home’. I have a separate work computer and home computer. I do not permit myself to do personal email or web browsing on my ‘work’ computer. The computers are in different rooms, so I have to get up and move to goof off on the personal computer. This helps me keep that distinction between being ‘at work’ and being on my personal time. I now make myself leave my house at least once a day, even if it is just to walk around the block or go on a quick errand. This is important because I once went two weeks without leaving the house because I needed to meet a very tight work deadline. I met the deadline, but I was so exhausted at the end of it because I hadn’t been out of ‘work’ mode for so long. You would never spend 24 hours a day for weeks doing an office job, so don’t do it when you are working from home.

  6. I just quit my full time office job in May to pursue my dream of expanding my professional photography business.
    After weeks of TV marathons and lunches with friends these last paragraphs convicted me!

    “Bottom line: working from home can be rewarding and productive and everything you ever dreamed of, but it’s not escaping the fact that you have a job. And just like how you got good at procrastinating at an office, you will be able to do that a million times over when you’re in the place where you live.

    This means not watching TV all day and/or drinking instead of getting your work done.
    Or finding excuses to clean your house instead of getting work done.
    Or talking on the phone/gardening/going for a walk/organizing all your music instead of getting your work done.

    Congratulations on getting the shot to work from home! Now don’t screw it up by just living at home while you don’t do your work.”


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