Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tips for Working from Home

Working at an office and working from home are very different experiences. Working in an office or at a studio forces you to start at a certain time and concentrate. I'm not saying that concentrating at home is impossible, but it can be tricky. When you work from home, you tend to wake up later and stay in your pajamas all day. And sometimes you feel like you can just switch on the TV and work with some background sound. Here I'm just going to list a few quick tips to get you working from home.

Start your day the same way you would if you were working elsewhere. If you keep your morning routine the same as it was, it'll be easier to sit down and get all your work done. Whatever time you usually wake up, get up at that time. You can wake up later if you wish, but it makes getting into your routine a lot easier. I think waking up later can work just fine as long as the rest of your routine is the same.
Get Dressed! Ok. This might be a silly one. But I have noticed that I work better if I'm wearing cloths and not my PJs. Something about it wakes me up more or preps me for doing things.
Be mindful of your start time and any breaks. This is the hard one at first. If you have an hourly rate, you'll want to track your hours correctly. Be honest. Also don't forget about watching when you end your day. Most employers can tell if your being honest or fudging your hours in your favor. Especially if they are doing the same work as you from home. Everyone has their own speed, but a good employer will always know if someone is trying to milk them. If your working for a flat fee, be sure to take this step anyways. Its going to give you a great idea if you are charging correctly for your services or if you need to adjust your contract in the future. If you get back too many revisions that increase your hours exponentially, then you need to adjust your revision clause to state that there will be overages after X amount of revisions. This is really up to your own judgement, but you should be careful to make sure that you are not being taken for a ride.
No TV! I know. I'm being lame by saying you should shut off your entertainment while you work on things. But you'll be surprised to see how much work you'll get done in a shorter amount of time without that distraction. If you don't believe me, test it out yourself. TV is just a distraction that will slow you down.
Create a work space. When most people come home, they don't want to bring their work home with them. Same goes for you at home. When you step away from your 'work space' you should be home. Creating this border will help you separate yourself from your work. Remote work doesn't mean you have to become a workaholic.
Make sure you take breaks. Make yourself a consistent lunch time. Go outside if you wish. Make sure you don't become a hermit. Working from home can be challenging. My cat sometimes makes it all about him. Gets in between me and my work. I'll take a break when this happens. Play with him a little, then get back to whatever I was doing. It keeps him happy for a few more hours and releases some stress I might have had. Go get some coffee or tea or even make it yourself if you want. You don't want to get stir crazy. Stepping away will recharge you. And when you do come back to your work, you'll have a semi fresh perspective. Just make sure you log your time away from your work.

I hope these tips help you like they did me. Trying to focus at home can be difficult. Creating a routine will help you adjust to working from home and get your work done.