A few years back I tried working from home with one of my 9 to 5 jobs. It didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. I remember talking with some of my former colleagues and friends recently and when I told them I was going to do my own thing, working from home, most of their responses were, rightfully so, “Didn’t you do that already, and didn’t that not work for you?” I would often find myself chuckling and sheepishly replying, “Yeah…”
It’s been a few months now and I couldn’t help but take a minute and share some of the things that have helped me this time around. There are three things I decided to place special emphasis on:
- Dedicated Working Space
- Comfortable Working Space
- Personal Time
DEDICATED WORKING SPACE
While this is something I did, sort of, have before, it was not exactly something you would consider a dedicated work space. Instead it was a room in which I would sit in and in which I shared space with other home goods.
Sure it was complicated because of kids, but day to day home life also took over. Jumping between couch, dinner table, and make shift office became exhausting. All I wanted was a real space to sprawl my stuff on and call my own. That’s what I did this time.
I focused on a space in my house in which I could call my own. A space in which I did not have to worry about the wife yelling at me to pick up my paper or the kids fiddling with my keyboard, in turn tweeting something that I did not intend to.
COMFORTABLE WORKING SPACE
Having a dedicated space is but one piece of the puzzle though.
Like anything, you have to be comfortable and committed to the space to ensure you use it. To do this, you have to make the space your own. I can tell you from experience, if you don’t feel comfortable in the space you will quickly outgrow it and like anything else, you will become anxious to get rid of it.
One of the things to consider is furniture. It’s really easy to go cheap, but, at least for me, I can tell you that it is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make. Retailers like Staples, Office Depot and others have their place, but depending on your space might not be ideal. They are often small and more configured to sit in a bedroom or dorm room. Funny this should come from me, but do some research and find something that fits your space. It might mean spending some cash, but I can assure you it will be worth it in the long run.
It’s not just about spending money though, it’s about adding things you relate with. I wanted a big desk with space for my books, so that is what I bought. I also put up my maps, achievement plagues, TV, play-station, monitors, etc… I am not saying this is what you want, but it’s what I wanted and what I did and it’s made all the difference in the world.
The wife says I spend more time in my room than I do in the rest of the house, but that’s a topic for another day… lol
Just the other day I was having this conversation with a friend.
The discussion started with my recommendation to step away for a bit, the natural response was, “I just can’t step away. Too much to do!” Whenever I hear this I can’t help but chuckle inside because of how funny and ridiculous a statement it is. What makes it even funnier is I have often said and thought it as well.
Here is the point, you can take a break. The world is not going to stop spinning, your company is not going to crash, if it is then you bigger problems, and the work is not going to cease. It’s the natural order of things, so why not take time for you?
You might be surprised at how good it feels…
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
I am by no means an expert in any of this. I am just someone that hopes that this bit of information proves useful to someone flirting with the idea of working from home. There are a lot of good things that can come from it, but I assure you that there are just as many bad things.