Working from home is what you make of it. Like any other project, it requires planning and focus to reach fruition — no half-measures allowed.
Fortunately, unlike some projects, optimizing your work-at-home routine requires no special skills. All that’s necessary is the desire to make it work, and the successful implementation of these well-honed strategies along the way.
1. Set Your Working Hours and Stick to Them
Setting a work-at-home schedule that actually works is more difficult than one might think. Everyone’s daily rhythms are different, not to mention their personal lives. The schedule that works for your neighbor probably won’t work for you.
All the same, the components of a regular work-at-home schedule vary little from person to person. Start with a regular morning routine that includes grooming, breakfast, and perhaps exercise. Transition into “work mode” by eliminating distractions and moving to your at-home work area. Remain there (short breaks aside) until midday, then resume working until your evening routine begins. If you need more time to work in the evening, block off additional hours then.
2. Pursue Opportunities That Get You Out of the House
Working at home gets lonely, which is why many at-home workers pursue side or full-time opportunities that compel them to get out of the house. For instance, fundraising distributors sell high-profit fundraising products to school groups, charities, and others, often meeting clients in person. It’s not a bad gig — according to stats provided by ABC Fundraising, fundraising distributors working full-time from home can earn $5,000 or more per month.
3. Make Time for Family and Friends (And Not Just on the Weekends)
Don’t allow your work-at-home career to consume your personal life. Protect time with family and friends, with multiple evenings per week devoted to non-work pursuits.
4. Get an Office Plant or Bird Feeder
Either will do wonders for your mood during the workday. Both are even better. If your home office doesn’t have a window, a bird feeder won’t work, and you’ll need a sun lamp for the plant, but that’s a small price to pay for happy toil.
5. Exercise Regularly During the Week
Regular exercise has many, many benefits. Marathon training or high-intensity interval workouts aren’t necessary to reap those benefits: just 30 minutes of brisk walking per day is sufficient. Extend your lunch break accordingly, or find time before or after work to sweat it out.
6. Have a Standing Coffee Date With Fellow Work-at-Homers
When you work from home, it can feel like you’re the only professional in the world. That’s not true, of course — millions of kindred spirits work from home, too. Use LinkedIn, local professional networks, or word of mouth to find some in your area, and then set up a standing coffee date to meet and chat about the business of working from home.
Working From Home Isn’t For Everyone
Working from home is not for everyone. Even introverted work-at-homers find the lack of social stimulation and face-to-face contact stultifying. Self-motivation is another challenge, and a serious one at that for many externally motivated professionals.
Working from home has its benefits, though. The commute is nonexistent, the rent is cheap, and the office politics are simple. If you can find ways to deal with challenges of motivation and stimulation, the work-at-home life calls your name.