I’m taking the plunge.
Starting February 10th, I will be working out of my home full time. It’s awesome. I don’t have to deal with rowdy coworkers or pointless meetings. I don’t even have to wear pants!
However, I am very introverted and will have to be careful with the added isolation of working from home. Because of this, I’ve created a list of 10 “commandments” of working from home.
This is not a guide written from an expert’s perspective but guidelines created for myself based on pain points I know that I have, with added advice of other work-from-home-ers.
It might work. I might find that other things work better for me.
1. Thou shalt get dressed every day
While I can go pantsless every day, I am going to try not to. I think it will be important for my self-esteem and productivity to not look and feel like a complete slob.
2. Thou shalt regularly engage in planned social activities
It would be SO easy for me to fall off the face of the planet and never interact with another human again, so I think it will be important for me to actually schedule specific social activities.
Luckily my fitness routine is pretty social – Muay Thai classes twice a week, working with a personal trainer once a week, and gym on Saturday with my friends – so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to hold myself accountable.
3. Thou shalt wake up at a reasonable hour
This one shouldn’t be too hard either because I usually wake up pretty early, even on weekends. Currently I wake up at 6:15 to be in the office by 7, so I will probably try waking up at 6:45 and starting work at home by 7. I’ll snag an extra half-hour of sleep, but still get my work started early so I can finish early.
4. Thou shalt not work more than 6 days a week
I have been working 7 days a week for the last year two years. Usually on weekends I only work 1-2 hours, but I still have not taken a legitimate “break” from all work in at least half an eternity.
I’ve found that my new boss replies to emails on weekends and at odd hours, so I will need to make sure that if I am “taking a day off”, I am really taking the day off, not replying to 2,000-word emails detailing high-level KPI’s and outlining promotional strategies.
(me after working for the last 2,555 days consecutively ^)
5. Thou shalt not check thine work email or social accounts after 8pm
Similarly, I need to make sure that I limit my working hours, and don’t end up checking my email right before bed and realizing that I need to do this and that.
I am in a great routine of putting my computer away at 8pm and reading until I go to bed, so I hope to continue this and keep my smartphone out of sight as well.
6. Thou shalt track thine time working
This will be my first salaried position, but I still feel like it will be important for me to track my time. I currently work part time and remote for this company, and my boss explicitly told me that he doesn’t need a time sheet or tasks written down, but I have for my own personal record and I plan to continue doing so.
Especially in growth marketing (SEO, social media, email marketing), I feel like having a clear record of the tasks that I have worked on will allow me to better understand the effectiveness of different task and how much time I should plant to allocate to each in the future.
It will also hold me accountable to working enough – or possibly even more importantly – it will hold me accountable to not working too much.
7. Thou shalt have a separate workspace
My workspace right now doubles as my dining table, bookshelf, and mail and random crap holder. It’s kind of overwhelmingly scattered and messy, and it’s hard to fit everything I need in front of me.
In the coming week I plan on creating a functional office space. I will need a desk, comfortable computer chair, new laptop, monitor, and a bunch of other junk that will cost a ton of money.
The goal is to keep my work life and home life somewhat separate, even though they will both be centered out of my apartment.
8. Thou shalt take regular breaks
I tend to “get in the zone” when I am working, and sometimes I’ll find that my nose is 2 inches from my computer screen and I haven’t blinked in 3 hours. Taking regular, scheduled breaks from work will break me out of the habit of sitting for too long or getting too far lost in what I’m doing. (Thanks for the suggestion, Angela!)
9. Thou shalt mix up thine schedule to see what works best
This idea came from a suggestion of a new online acquaintance, Sam. He said that he is in the routine of getting up and working early in the morning, hitting the gym just before noon, grabbing a snack, and finishing out his workday.
I am in the habit of trying to get my workday over with as early as humanly possible and avoiding any and all breaks. I definitely get in a slump in the early afternoon, so changing my routine may help alleviate the post-lunch fatigue.
10. Thou shalt get out of thine house – without spending all of thine money
I love working out of coffee shops – my jam right now is a house coffee in a mug at Moxie Java. In fact, I’m sitting there as I write this.
Sara wrote a beautiful article on working from cafes, and if you read through the comments it seems like the love for working in cafes is pretty widespread. Working from different locations will hopefully allow me to fight boredom and loneliness.
As I mentioned before I’m hoping to save a substantial amount of money this year, and this new job should allow me to easily surpass my goal, but not if I’m spending all of my money on fancy coffee drinks. I’m still going to try to only visit coffee shops 3 times a week, but may also find refugee in the library and other quiet-but-not-too-quiet spots.
Hopefully I’ll see wild success in my new remote position, but honestly the idea is still pretty terrifying.
I might fall flat on my face, but I think being prepared solutions to problems that I foresee will give me a better chance at success working from home.
Have you ever worked from home?
What did you struggle with?
How did you overcome those problems?