Working from home is difficult, and this week, for me, has been no different. In fact, it’s even worse than usual because I recently brought home two of the cutest kittens ever. Still, I’m putting out the same amount of work I do any normal week.
I’ve been working at home for years, both as an illustrator and a writer. While working from home comes with its fair share of perks, most of those perks also make it suck ass. Honestly, the moment a person says “I’m going to quit my job and work from home,” I’m laughing on the inside. Why? Because, it’s usually a load of shit. If a person has worked in an outside building their entire career, it’s likely they’re going to fail working from home, fall into depression and lose productivity.
It might not be your fault, either. Some people have an incredibly good work ethic at home. However, it’s likely that the other people they live with (husband, kids, cats, uncle Johnny) might not be so understanding.
That being said, most people, on their own, have a sucky work ethic. Why work when you can scroll through Facebook and Twitter? Why do anything when that stack of laundry is getting taller?
Here’s why: It’s your job.
Personally? I work from home, and I clock in between 8-13 hours a day. Without Twitter, without chatting, without TV. A book isn’t going to write itself.
People always ask me “How do you get so much done? How are you so fast?” Well, I’m not addicted to internet garbage, for one. And for two, I love my job. (Requirements for working at home.)
Some angry pro-tips about ‘working from home’.
Tell everyone who commutes to work to kindly ***k off.
Generally, before you start working from home, some kind of conversation has happened with your roomies/partner about your plans (If not, you’re making a mistake. Talk about this stuff, it’s serious). Generally, roomies/partners have agreed that you working from home is fine, and you should go ahead and do it. For a week, everything is okay. Then, they start to get jealous. Or pissy. Or start taking advantage of the fact that you’re home by inviting the plumber over at 2 in the afternoon. But you’re working, so what the hell?
Obviously, there are some cases when people decide to work from home so they CAN answer the door, and they CAN hang out with the kids. If this is the case, you can’t complain–you signed up for this.
Before you start working from home, you need to set guidelines with your roomies/partners as to what they can and can’t expect from you. Set boundaries in regards to chores, and make sure they understand what you’re up to so they don’t think you’re slacking off.
Tell that jobless ‘friend’ that you’re busy.
We all have the person who always wants to ‘hang out’. But the truth is, you can’t. Tell the person to leave you alone during work hours. If they don’t like it, lose em. Probably not worth your time anyway.
Finishing work EARLY
If you finish a project early in a workplace outside of home, do you really think you get to go home EARLY? Not often, my friend. If you finish goals early, you aren’t off the hook. You gotta keep going. Make new goals.
If you’re a writer, like me, use the extra time to study, read, storyline, or push yourself further. Until you’ve hit the goal for “hours I need to work in a day” you shouldn’t stop.
Some people will cut themselves off at ‘word count’. I’ve never bought that logic. I can write 2000 words in an hour or two. Sometimes, I do. If I feel like I can’t write anymore afterward, I do some editing, or I catch up on the latest literary news, or study, or work on a storyline, or READ.
Just because you finish word count goals doesn’t mean you should sit around doing nothing all day… I mean, unless your GOAL is to be semi-productive. Then by all means, write 2000 words, then waste the rest of your hours away watching TV or playing World of Warcraft.
I can guarantee your significant other might not be very happy about it.
Set your alarm.
If you’re the type of person who likes to be a lazy sleeper, set your alarm (or don’t even bother trying to work from home). The number one thing you can do to really piss off everyone in your life is to say you’re working, when really you’re just lazing around in bed.
Home is a job now. You are on a schedule. Adhere to it.
Stay away from the browser.
Say hello to Twitter when you wake up, and say goodbye the moment you’re done with breakfast.
I barely ever touch social media during a workday, even on a lunch break, and here’s why:
Looking at that shit can bring you down. It can ruin your ENTIRE day. One scroll across the wrong piece of information can drag you so far down the frustration-chamber you might not get out until you’ve gotten another full night’s sleep. Ignore the politics, ignore your friend getting a book-deal. You can congratulate her after your work day is over.
I’m writing this in caps because it’s the secret wrecker of all work-from-home scenarios.
Sometimes, even when we’re VERY good at working from home on a day-to-day basis, we tend to forget that most jobs offer about 10 days of vacation time per year. But it’s very easy to take weeks off to visit family and friends when you have no manager to go through.
I tend to travel a lot myself, but I work as much traveling as I do at home. Remember that every time you take a ‘day off’ that you should only allow yourself 10 days a year to remain as productive as someone from a normal workplace.
Remember that working from home is lonely.
This part is the hardest. Human beings are social animals. We need freedom to learn, and listen, and watch. It’s what we do.
I’d say the hardest part about starting to work from home is surpassing the need for human contact. Work places suck, but you’re surrounded by people, and oftentimes, you have a social life without even realizing.
Depression is no good–but it comes with the territory of never leaving the house, and such mental stresses can greatly reduce productivity.
I think that just about does it for major things. But a lot of people have a lot of questions on this craft. If you have questions about working from home, feel free to ask!