E.T. PHONE HOME
You’re at your nine to five. You’re sitting in a bland stuffy office. The decor is grey, the light is hollow and there’s a half-dead plant in the corner. You’re so bored you want to pull your hair out. You’re staring out the window dreaming of what your life could be like if you worked from home. You have a spare room that you could use as an office. Does this sound like you…?
This was me a year ago – and believe me young padawan it doesn’t have to be this way. You can make your dream a reality – and I don’t mean the dream where you smear Nutella on your naked body and cartwheel down the street – I mean working from home, because that’s what this blog post is about. Beginning of this year I left my typical office job behind and set up shop at home, and now I’m here to pass my wisdom unto you.
There are definitely upsides to working from home:
- No one “accidentally” steals your lunch from the fridge (that quinoa salad was obviously yours – your name was written on the side with sharpie!!)
- No colleagues and art directors breathing down your neck while you’re trying to work
- No one judging you for listening to your Disney playlist on repeat (we all know that’s the real reason you have Apple Music)
- No getting sick every time someone at work has a cold
- No commute – save loads of time
- No dress codes – wear whatever the hell you want
- No one peed all over the toilet seat
It sounds magical doesn’t it. However, while the above points are all good reasons to consider a change, nothing is black and white, and there are drawbacks.
One of the main problems people encounter working from home is that they are – well – at home. They get too comfy, too relaxed, too distracted to get anything done.
On top of this there’s no boss cracking the whip.
Obviously this is so liberating: no one will shout at you if you get up late, or have a 3 hour lunch break, or if you don’t put on any pants all day. Unfortunately this can be a bad thing. If you don’t want to very quickly regress into a smelly degenerate, you have to rely on will-power.
As usual, you’re your own worst enemy, but all is not lost. Here is some advice that helped me.
- The night before work, make yourself a list of everything you need to accomplish the next day. Add up the time for each task, including the lunch break. This will help you stay on schedule and not drift off throughout the day.
- Get up early. If you live with someone, get up when they do. Make breakfast and coffee as you would if you were going to leave for work. Turn on your computer while you get ready – this will help you get in the zone.
- Download a timekeeping app. This will help you figure out how much to charge clients because you will know exactly how long you spent on their work… I use the app ‘atwork’, but I am also thinking about getting the ZEI° by Timeular. Check it out it looks magically awesome.
That pretty much covers the basics. I’ll get into the nitty gritty in future blog posts.
In my next post I will explain how to keep the creative juices flowing when you’re stuck at home, how to get inspired by the same surroundings and how to keep on top of the game, stay abreast of the competition and keep your skills up to date. Watch this space.