As I’ve discussed in the past, working from home comes with a pretty unique set of problems. Regardless of the annoyances, I do like working at home and I consider myself pretty good at what I do. However, it took a long time for me to figure out how to make working from home work for me.
If you are considering earning a living from home – or even just taking on a few side projects to make extra money – you may need to get creative to make the situation work. Here’s what working for me:
1. Start Early.
I’ve noticed that people who are just beginning to work from home greatly enjoy their new found ability to sleep in. (Don’t get me wrong, I was one of those people when I first started.) However, starting in the late morning or even early afternoon really means that you’re going to have to work that much later into the evening. Which is why I start early – like, 7:30 in the morning early.
I’ve found that working this way affords me a lot more flexibility. If it’s an “eight and done” sort of day, great! I’m done by 3:30. If I need to stay late (which happens more than I would like to admit), it’s also not a big deal because I’m still done before my favorite TV shows come on.
2. Move around a Lot.
We’ve already been over why I think it’s lame when people who work from home never leave their houses. I also think it’s lame when people who work from home forget what their legs are for. Granted, I’m a little obsessive about my daily workout and that certainly isn’t for everyone. However, it’s much better for your health and sanity if you make it a point to get up and move around at least once or twice an hour. Lifehacker explains why you should move more here.
3. Demand Flexibility.
One of the nicest things about being a contractor is that technically I can work wherever and whenever I want. This is a very swell theory, but I’ve noticed that many clients don’t seem to understand that I might want to work on my own schedule.
When I first started on this work from home adventure, I had a few clients who more or less expected me to drop what I was doing whenever they handed me work. Sometimes, this happened at 6:30 in the morning, sometimes it happened at 11:00 at night. Either way, it wasn’t working for me. Now, I am up front with my clients – if they want me to accommodate their hours and workloads, we’re going to have to both be flexible.
4. Get Dressed.
Certainly, some people can work all day in their pajamas or workout clothes, but my productivity tanks when I do. So I don’t.
5. Always Have An Out
I learned a valuable lesson early on in this adventure: don’t pin your entire income on one client. For that reason, even if I’m technically “only” working for one client or company, I always make sure to be in touch with other income streams. You never know when you’re going to need to jump ship.