Welcome to our new theme-oriented, limited edition, limited run newsletter on working from home. Somehow, this feels even more timely now than it did last week.
I've worked primarily from home for the past 36 years. However, I routinely visit my clients, many of whom of 1,500 miles away. That gets me plenty of "outside" time and personal interaction.
Over the years I've learned a few important lessons:
1. I have a real office, not a corner of some other room, with nice executive office furniture, a comfortable chair, windows, a good phone system, and an excellent computer system with multiple monitors and network-attached storage. I also have high-speed internet and whole-house wifi.
2. When I need to read something complex or ponder a difficult assignment, I tend to sit on the patio next to the waterfall/fish pond, where I can get some fresh air and relax.
3. If I can, I will break up the day by doing outside chores, even if it's just puttering in my vegetable garden.
4. My clients know that they can always reach me, at any time, via email or phone, even when I'm outside or traveling.
5. I attempt (!!!) to quit working well before bed time. I tend not to watch TV, but I will read, typically fiction, for an hour or so before bed. Interestingly, that seems to result in some creative solutions to client challenges appearing in the middle of the night.
I’ve only really worked from home the last two years. I work as an entrepreneur based out of the house. With four boys, home for an extended Spring Break now, there are plenty of challenges.
I’ve found to be happier I’ve come to accept interruption. I try to wrangle those to certain parts of the day for meals. I also use that time to spend with my sons, especially over dinner.
But my saving grace has to be noise cancelling headphones. Even when I don’t have music playing. They drown out the steady noises that might distract me, but allow me to hear the beginnings of arguments when being stuck at home together doesn’t always work well for the boys.
I've worked at home for 15 years. I quickly learned that my most productive time is early morning, and by 2 p.m., I'm pretty much useless. So, I go with it...I get up early, crank out my critical work (I'm a writer in the PR business, so that's when I dive into first drafts) and save the easier stuff like edits, client calls, etc. for later in the day. Working at home is a great opporutnity to figure out and work WITH your most productive time, instead of being forced to work in the "box" of regular office hours.