Things I've Learned About Working From Home
I've been working from home as a writer for about 7 months now and while it's been great and exactly what I aimed for after leaving my awful full-time office job about a year and a half ago there are a few lessons I've learned about this work lifestyle. Again, I'm definitely not complaining about it because I've wanted to be a remote writer ever since binge watching Sex and the City in university and seeing Carrie Bradshaw struggle to make ends meet while living a designer lifestyle on an artists budget. There's really no job more satisfying to me than writing from the comfort of my home, but there are a few trials and tribulations I've had to face the past few months that I think would be useful to share for anyone else thinking about working remotely.
You Will Get Lonely
At first it's fun to have the house to yourself and pop down to the kitchen in between writing bursts for some snacks, but after a while the silence can become a bit crushing. Just knowing that no one is there can leave you feeling a bit lonely because there's no one to bounce ideas off of or have a quick conversation to get that slight bit of socialization in during the day. Working from home is isolating enough since you don't have an office to go into every day, but working from home alone is even more difficult to handle because humans are social creatures and we need some face-to-face interaction. I always thought that since I'm such an introvert I wouldn't have a problem with it, but I felt the loneliness creeping up on me a few months into working primarily from home and I've had to adjust my lifestyle to combat it. I try my best to see friends a few times a week or just leave the house and have a wander around a busy are for an hour or two. Anything that'll get you around people for a little bit will help when you have to get back to work in the silence of your home.
You Won't Want To Go Outside, But You Should
This is tied into the point I made above, but I can't stress how important it is to just go outside. It's so easy to get trapped in your own head when you're trapped in doors all day working, so take some time to clear your mind by going outside. It could just be sitting on the front porch or in the back yard - anything that'll let you feel some sunshine on your skin and some fresh air in your lungs. I try to spend the day out after my weekly therapy appointments and work from a cafe for a bit before walking in the downtown Toronto area. I find that the more I go outside, the more I want to and the more relaxed I tend to feel the rest of the week.
Take Advantage Of The Convenience And Eat Right
I am the queen of pad Thai and would constantly eat it when I was working at my office job because the restaurant was so close to the building, but now that I work from home and have the convenience of cooking myself I try my best to eat right for most of the week. I know, there's nothing more satisfying than a nice, hot meal delivered right to your door from your favourite junk food place, but this habit made me quickly realize how awful I felt for the rest of the day - so much so that I didn't have the energy to continue working. It would lead to me slacking on the day's schedule and having to push everything down to the end of the week and using up my weekends just to catch up on what I didn't do. As of now I am trying to cook light meals that incorporate fruits and vegetables so that I don't feel bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day.
Don't Work From Your Bed
I used to love working from the comfort of my bed - feeling the warm covers in the dead of winter was the only thing keeping me sane at that time (now it's therapy) - but I quickly learned what a huge mistake that was. I stopped being able to sleep at night because I had trained my body to think that being in bed meant work and whenever I tried to work during the day it would make me sleepy. This is probably the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who is contemplating working from home - don't working from your bed unless you can't help it. It will completely destroy your productivity levels and make you feel lethargic. Now I try to get up and dressed before I start working because I know that without a bra I don't feel ready to take on the day. I'll sometimes put on some makeup to discourage me even more from rolling around in bed and making it easier to pop out of the house on a whim while still feeling presentable.
It's Much Easier To Procrastinate - Don't Give Into It
There's always going to be that little voice inside your head telling you to watch another episode of your favourite TV show or another Youtube video from the suggestions bar - don't do it. Try and tackle all your work sooner rather than later because it will become overwhelming the longer you wait to do it. I am someone who works the best in the late morning/early afternoon and if I don't push myself to get most of my work done at that time I completely lose motivation to do it later in the day. At that point it'll drag on and I'll feel like I'm wasting my evening doing something that I could have done earlier in the day. Don't procrastinate; it won't do you any good.