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Working from Home: The Bad

Those of you who tuned in last week already know all the things I consider utterly wonderful about working from home.  But what about the icky horrible things?  Every job has some.  Even if you’re working from home.

Get a real job

How many times have YOU had this conversation...?

The Top 8 Worst Things About Working from Home

  1. Cabin fever.  All you think about at work is how you can’t wait to get home…  But what if you already are home?  Having no escape can be very stressful.  Now, there are things that can help with this: For instance, don’t work in your bedroom. (Create a home office, if possible!).  Keep your areas to relax and your areas to work in separate.  I, unfortunately, don’t have that kind of space right now; but, as soon as we move out, I plan to employ these tactics myself!  (And I can’t wait).

  2. Working from home doesn’t command the respect it deserves.  As shown in my illustration above, many people don’t consider working from home a “real” job.  No, not even if you make more than they do.  You’ll also have to learn how to say “no.”  A lot.  People will assume that, since you work from home, you’re free to help them move, chat for hours online, go out to the movies on a weeknight, and any number of other things.  But, you’re not.  And be prepared for the lesser of them to not understand and for the worst of them to resent you for it.

  3. Distractions.  I always try to get everything done in the early morning/afternoon when my roommates are out.  Once they come home, it’s loud talking, loud music, unwanted guests, and any number of other distracting shenanigans.  My guy is an artist (and also works at home) so he understands—but if you live with anyone else, especially if they’re one of the “norms” with an outside-of-the-house job, they’re just not going to get it.  No, not even if you explain it to them.

  4. It requires HUGE amounts of self-discipline.  There are many people who complain about “distractions” when working at home, but they’re usually referring to their own lack of self-discipline.  Personally, if I lived alone, or just with my guy, I would not only thrive but probably never stop working.  There’s no one breathing down your neck to get the job done which means that it’s all up to you.  You have to be diligent.  It sounds really lame, but I think my martial arts training helped me a little with this aspect of my work-from-home career…

  5. The work hours: They never end!  Yes, I have steady “hours” for my WTR job…but what about all the other jobs I do on the side?  Or my own projects (like this article you’re reading now!)?  Quite often I’m writing from the moment I wake up until the moment I crawl under the covers.  (Of course, this isn’t always the case–some weeks are worse than others–and with proper use of my dayplanner I can usually manage things all right)

  6. The final outcome is all that matters.  When your boss/client can’t see you, they have no idea how many hours you’ve put in or how much hard work and research you’ve done: All that matters is the final product—because it’s all they can see!  It might seem unfair, but can you really blame them?

  7. Even if you’re supremely organized with your work area, other areas of your home may suffer.  I did my laundry on Saturday…it’s still not folded and put away.  (Hey, at least it’s clean!)

  8. So. Much. Pressure.  Everything, all the time, it’s all up to me and only meeeeeeeee!  No job lasts forever.  If I get hurt on the job, I’m the one who has to pay for it.  There are no vacations, no bonuses, and no pats on the back.  It’s also up to me to do all my own marketing, bookkeeping, filing, and cleaning: It’s all up to me.  I am my own business now…and the only one running this business is myself.

Epilogue

When I mentioned that I was doing a sequel to my “Working from Home” article, this time talking about all the problems that come with it, my friend’s mom scoffed and said “luxury problems…”  While that’s not exactly true (a lack of respect and heaping amounts of stress aren’t what I’d call “luxury”), she does have a point: Working from home is pretty dang sweet.  And, if you go back and look, my list of GOOD things about working from home is longer than the list of bad things.

I know I’ve got it good.  However, if I weren’t insanely disciplined, that might be another story.  Not everyone thrives when working from home.  And it’s always good to know the whole story before leaping into anything.  Hopefully that’s what I’ve illustrated here for anyone out there thinking about quitting their “real” job. 😉

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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Planning Your Days by Using a Day Planner

Even if you have a fantastic memory, you might get confused if you’re juggling too many balls at once.  I know I do!  And there’s nothing quite like that chill of terror that comes with suddenly waking up at 3am and saying “I forgot to do ___________!”  That’s why I’ve taken to writing down my day-to-day tasks in a day planner.  It works for me and it may work for you as well!

If you go against the planner, the planner means nothing!

I'm the first to admit that I can sometimes be hard to live with...

A Glimpse at my Private Life: A Day in the Planner

All right, all right…  I’m not exactly the most private person there is.  Many of you have come here from my Personal Blog (which updates every Monday with a blow-by-blow of my personal life); however, no one but my guy and me has seen the inner workings of my day planner.  Not so anymore!  Here is a peek at a page out of one of my most precious work tools:

How I spend my time

Mmmm...steak...

That’s actually only a small section of one of my planner’s pages (my planner is 10×8″).  And that first entry had a lot more tasks than what’s shown there!  Looking at my planner, you probably noticed a few things:

  1. I write down menial tasks as well as “important” ones – I have two reasons for this.  One reason is that I sometimes get so busy, I sometimes forget to do simple things.  The other reason is explained in the section below (“given” tasks).
  2. The entries are highlighted – They didn’t start out that way!  I only highlight the tasks that I complete successfully.
  3. My planner has advice on it – that particular week it was “Compromising your principles is never a good choice” (which is absolutely true!).  On that same page it also has encouragement (“Think win-win!”) and a fun fact (“There are twice as many chickens as humans in the world”).  And it also has a slot to write down what book you’re reading that week!  I try to read two books per week.  That particular week, I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (gotta refresh my memory for the last movie!) and The Bedwetter: Tales of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman (if you liked her show, you’ll love her book!).  Anyway, the point is: my planner suits me perfectlyFind a planner that suits your personality and not only will you use it, you will love using it.

My Patented Tips for Day Planner Success

Everyone has their own way of doing things.  As you get used to having a day planner, you’ll probably come up with your own methods for using it efficiently; however, here are a few things that I do that may help to get you off on the right foot:

  • Choose the right planner for you – I suggest one without too many bells & whistles.  For instance, I’ve seen planners with Velcro tabs and/or zippers…  Personally, I wouldn’t use one of these.  If your planner isn’t easy to access, you probably won’t use it very often.
  • Write down a few “given” tasks.  I always write down a few super easy tasks that I know I’m going to complete successfully that day.  Like cooking dinner or scooping out the cat litter box.  It’s a “given” that I’m going to do these things, but having them written down in my planner gives me a.) something easy to do when the rest of my tasks are “too hard” or unappealing and, b.) gives me that same sense of getting-things-done satisfaction when I cross it off my list as successfully completed.  For me, if my planner were composed of nothing but super hard or un-fun tasks, I would feel defeated before the day even started!  Having a few “given” tasks can be a great way to “warm up” to the bigger, more important, stuff.
  • Remind yourself of due dates ahead of time!  If you have something important due, don’t just mark it down on the date it’s due (though you should do that too), give yourself a reminder in advance.  You don’t want to turn the page in your planner and get a nasty surprise!
  • Write it down as soon as you think of it.  Or at least try to!  Your planner can’t help you to not forget if you forget to use your planner!
  • Leave some space for fun.  “All work and no play…”  Well, you know the rest.  Make time for yourself!
 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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