When I started working online and from home, it was a dream come true.
I had made it! By starting my own business I had managed to beat the rat-race of the 9-5 office life. I could shape my environment to my desires, because it was MY place. I could play the music I wanted, wear what I wanted, wake up when I wanted.
Everything was up to me, the ball was in my court.
It was great being able to be at home with family, setting my own schedule; And forget pants! I’ll make my money in my underwear, thank you.
From sleeping in to skipping the commute, I truly loved working from home. People even always seemed impressed when I told them that I made my living from my home.
I thought I had life pretty much figured out.
But working from home isn’t always the best situation.
Reality crashed in…
While I was having a great time I started to realize that there were pitfalls in my ideal life.
My productivity was slipping, and I needed to find out why.
I was no longer waking up energized and ready to attack the day.
The problem was, I had no real schedule aside from the obscure notion that some work had to be done.
The thing about working from home is, when you have no separation from work to home, any given hour can be dedicated to home life or work life.
It’s easy to say “I’ll work eight hours and then call it quits”, but when you get tired and your bed is only right there…after all there’s 24 hours in a day, and nobody can tell me when exactly I need to do something.
Not only was scheduling a problem, I found that people with traditional jobs simply don’t understand working from home.
I was constantly being interrupted by friends and loved ones who figured I was at the house, so I must be available.
No, I’m right in the middle of my WORK DAY.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘Well you’ve just been here at the house all day, I worked all day.’
So have I. In fact, I’m still working.
I wasn’t blameless either though. I fell victim to TONS of distractions that are readily available at the house and I had a difficult time separating work from home, as they were kinda the same thing.
I ended up falling into an odd blurry life where I was always kinda on the job, while also always kinda not. I also had no ability to just leave work at work.
Why I decided to switch to give up working from home for an office.
I needed a change.
My productivity was low and although I had admirable self-discipline, it just wasn’t enough to fix the problem.
I started feeling a bit depressed and my normally cheery attitude was slipping daily.
I started to realize that I was missing interaction with others. Not only that, but I had no one to push me to be better. There was no competition around me to challenge me and keep me growing.
As my overall mood worsened I realized I was even becoming a bit of a slob, because there was no one to call me out on it. It began to be harder to ignore the plentiful distractions around me.
What happened when I started working from my new office.
The effects were undeniable.
I almost immediately began seeing positive changes and accomplishing more than I was used to.
Just getting out of the house is energizing and refreshing. I now have a clear separation between work and play.
I decided to take it a step further and got a walking desk. Now I’m being far more active than I was previously. My creativity and productivity has exploded.
Since this change, my business has developed more in the last couple of months than it has in years. I have started new blogs, been a part of the purchasing of new blogs, and continued to develop my online skills.
My mood has improved greatly and I’m back to making valuable connections with people. These interactions have pushed me to become better as I challenge myself against the people around me.
I am today better than in almost every way than I ever have been in the past. I am a better leader, I am a better consultant, better boyfriend, I mean the list goes on!
I won’t work in an office 9-5 again forever, but I think with the right balance, anyone can find what works best for them and become their most productive self.
Having experienced both, I believe that either is possible if you do it right. These would be my tips on how to stay productive in either a home or an office setting.
1) Have an area that is for work and work alone. Don’t just sit up on the bed or kick back on the couch. Make a comfortable space that has everything you need to complete your work within easy reach.
2) Minimize distractions. There are waaay too many distractions available at home. Minimize these by setting up your workspace in an area lacking media devices, and do your best to keep things neat if you can manage it.
3) Set a schedule and stick to it. Yeah, this one’s hard. Set clear hours for work, with regular scheduled breaks to look forward to. Don’t let yourself stray from the schedule just because you technically can.
1) Get good sleep before work. A productive day starts the day before. You don’t want to be coming in all tired and expecting to hit home runs.
2) When works over, works over. When you get to the house don’t dwell on any unnecessary facets of work. Leave it for the next day.
3) Network and make valuable friends. Choose people who will push you to be better than you are, or can teach you something you don’t already know. Your goal should be to never stop growing, and people are a valuable asset to that end.
Wherever you choose to work from, take the time to observe your work-life balance and constantly experiment to find what works best for you.