With three years under my belt, I think I now a thing or two about working from home.
Yes, you do have to be a highly motivated individual, but think about the pros! You are not tied down by office hours and you don’t have to deal with all the politics that come with it but it does get a little lonely at times because you don’t get invited to any office parties and you don’t have any colleagues. But it gives you the freedom to hang out with whomever you want.
It’s very much like going to college: for the first time, you’re in charge of your own schedule and you don’t share classes with the same people so it’s a little harder to make friends but by joining the right clubs, you’ll be fine! However, it can be easy to over-embrace your freedom so here are some tips to stay in check.
Set a task to begin your day and do it every working day!
It doesn’t matter what time you wake up but it’s important have a task that signals the start of your day. Some might kick it off with a shower, coffee or a workout but for me, it’s bathing the babies. This means I get to laze in bed after I wake up until I decide to bathe them and that effectively kick starts the rest of my day.
Skip the to-do list, have a priority list
To-dos are never-ending. It is a black hole where dreams go to die. I look at my to-dos from a year ago and there are still stuff on there I have not done simply because to-dos are more of a wishlist. I want to do them, but I don’t need to do them, so nothing gets done. When you put too many things on your plate, it will inevitably break so I invite you do make a list of things that you actually need to get done. If it’s not urgent, leave it off the top of your list. So those things with deadlines should go to front of the line. When you find that you actually don’t have that much to do, you can delve into your personal projects and deal with less pressing matters.
Take a break, have a kit kat
Seriously, you should take frequent breaks. You can do them at one hour intervals but I take a break upon completing my tasks because I know I absolutely cannot focus and will get annoyed if I have to pause. It will also take me some time and effort to pick up where I left off so I will finish a task or a few (depending on how much time it will take me to do each task) and take a mini break. I have two bigger breaks, one is for lunch and one is around evening time when I play with the babies, this is purely to destress because I work all the way till night time, so I can afford to have two bigger chunks of time for myself. You’re in charge of your time, so use it wisely.
Sometimes people mistake the idea that working from home means that you are constantly working. This is wrong. You need to clock out at an hour reasonable to you. For me it’s usually around 10 or 11pm but I have been known to work till 1am – I can always start the day later. The beauty of working from home is that nothing has to be set in stone but you need to have a coherent pattern to your working days in order for you to get anything done. I don’t like the idea of having a set routine because that’s the whole point of working remotely. I didn’t want to be tied down by corporate hours. Also, I’m a firm believer that the quantity of hours you put in at work doesn’t equate the quality of work you deliver. I would much rather have results than coasting at work, although sometimes the appeal is there: you don’t have to work as hard or as much but you still get paid the same every month. As a remote worker, you only get paid for the amount of work you are doing.