I’ve been working from home a few months now. I’ve learned a few things, and I know I still have a ton to figure out before I consider this a successful venture – not success as far as the actual work, but success in managing it all, working out a solid routine. There are really awesome parts to working from home, and then there are the not-so-awesome parts. Do you work from home? What have you learned to do to help the routine? What are your favorite parts, and least favorite parts of working from home?
I love that I have my own schedule, which runs between school drop-offs and pick-ups, and extra-curricular drop-offs and pick-ups. There are days though that I either am late to one of those things because I get caught up in work, or I’m struggling to get done what needs to get done for work because I have to keep leaving. Throw in some doctor, orthodontist, or specialist appointments, and it can all go to heck quickly. And if the kids have a day off school….it gets interesting. I don’t really have the luxury of choosing to take what I call “check-out days” when you’re dead tired, or sick, or just need to be lazy.
I get to wear yoga pants/workout gear all day, hair in a pony, and even go without make-up nearly every day. Sorry, boss with whom I have video-conference calls once a week. She’s used to seeing me this way now I think, but I always cringe as soon as I see myself on the screen. YIKES!! I don’t have to stress about hair, make-up, or clothes every morning while I’m trying to get kids corralled and out the door. That’s awesome. But then there are the days I have events or meetings, and it truly is nice to put on the “fancy clothes” and walk out the door looking like I a real adult who knows what she’s doing.
I can get stuff done at home while I’m working. Yeah!! When I worked full-time outside the home, I stressed to get grocery and Target shopping done, as well as cooking, laundry, and whatever else needed to happen at home done. Nights and weekends weren’t mine – they belonged to chores. Ick. Best of both worlds to work from home, right? You work and yet you get all that other stuff done without jamming up those nights and weekends? Yeah…it’s also distracting to have the washer and dryer beeping they’re done with their loads, dishes sitting in the sink ten feet away from my desk, dust bunnies floating by my feet across the kitchen floor, a list of appointments to be made for each kid listed on the board above my head. And let’s not even get started on the dogs going berserk with the barking the minute I get on a call.
I learned that while I have the work email accounts on my phone, I have to turn off the notifications. I was making myself crazy trying to answer everything immediately, while sitting outside one school or another, or while waiting in a doctor’s office. I was getting stressed out. It took me a couple of weeks, but once I turned off email/text/DM message notifications, and handled them in my scheduled work time, life was much easier. If something is urgent, they know to call me. I’ve slotted days and parts of days for each job as well, so I’m not trying to do it all every single day, although I do work my main job each day. Blocking time has been a life-saver. And I live by my calendar, looking two or even three weeks ahead, mentally sorting things out, especially if I know I have a crazy event-filled, kid-filled week coming up.
I can turn on my own music, as loud as I wish, and don’t have to listen to anyone complain, nor worry I’m offending anyone. There’s no one in the cube next to me checking whether I’m posting a blog or peeking at Facebook while I’m working. Shhh…..don’t tell anyone I’m blogging or peeking at Facebook while I wait for a report to open or a file to upload. Also, I love I can grab my laptop and head to one of my favorite lunch spots or out to coffee, and not miss a beat.
All-in-all, this work-from-home thing is going well. But I’m still taking pointers to other work-from-home-ers.