Have you ever dreamed of working from home? Have you fantasized about the traffic you could avoid, the comfort of staying in your pj’s all day long, imagined the money you could save by eating lunch at home every day? I recently saw something… I cannot for the life of me remember what it was but somebody (a teenager, I think) called somebody (their parent?) a “dreamcrusher.” This phrase comes to mind now, as I say that I believe, with every fiber of my being, that working from home sucks. I’ve been doing it part-time for nearly three years and in these short 31 months I have learned a few things that I would like to share.
If you have to work from home, here is the Original Pamela S. Moore List of Do’s and Don’ts:
1) Do Get dressed. It helps trick your mind into thinking something important (e.g. work) is happening or could potentially happen, and this may (no guarantees here, just may) help you actually make something (e.g. work) happen. It sucks that no one will get to appreciate your cute outfit, much like the sound of a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it, but you must get over this or see #7.
2) Don’t take a break just to put a load of clothes in the wash. Because inevitably you will notice all the sad, abandoned clothes that were left in the dryer/on the drying rack and feel that now is the perfect time to fold them, and heck while you are at it, put them away, and jeez wouldn’t you know by the time you are done with all that the wash cycle is over and your clothes need to be moved to the dryer, and if you are going down to the basement anyway, you might as well bring down another load of dirty clothes to throw in. And since you are in the basement, it wouldn’t hurt to see what’s in the chest freezer that you can defrost for tonight’s dinner. And then you wonder how your 5 minute stretch break turned into a 45 minute break.
3) Do spend $10 on the web application “Freedom.” It lets you make the internet totally inaccessible for however long you tell it to.
4) Click on “Freedom” and use it. Click on it before you start working, not after you have checked Gmail, Facebook, HuffPost and all your favorite blogs and then realize it’s been an hour since you sat down and now you have to get up anyway to microwave your coffee. Going to the kitchen will only lead you to decide to empty the dishwasher and to finally collect the last three days’ worth of Daily Cameras that have been littering the kitchen table and drop them in the recycle bin. This will mysteriously find you back at the computer no sooner than 20 minutes later.
5) Do not answer the phone!!! Do not answer for your sister, mother, friends, or anything non-work related. You must create the illusion that you are not always available even though you technically are! Answer only for your spouse, but only if its because you would start acting like a stark raving mad clingy lunatic if he/she didn’t pick up when you called.
6) Do not check Amazon just to see if they have one item. OF COURSE THEY HAVE IT. THEY HAVE FREAKING EVERYTHING. That is why they are Amazon, not some website you’ve never even heard of. And ps if Amazon doesn’t have it, E-bay probably will. Whatever it is, you can put it in your cart later. Because if you start with one item, 30 minutes later, you will have that one item plus five others in your cart which is fine because it is all tax deductible work related stuff BUT YOU STILL HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NO WORK and don’t try to say its ok because all the stuff in your cart is relevant to your professional development because you won’t give a crap at 8pm when you wish you were already home from the gym and having dinner but instead you are just starting your workout which you could have started 2 hours ago had you not been dicking around when you were supposed to be working.
7) Do go to a coffee shop but you must go with the expectation that someone loud and annoying will sit practically on top of you. Bring headphones and develop the ability to listen to music while working if you don’t already know how to do that.
8) Do NOT schedule coffee dates, lunch plans, massages, other appointments, or stuff that you would normally do on a day off. You are WORKING. Even if you don’t get as much done as you wanted, let it be the fault of the internet, not your own stupid fault for actively making plans not to work.
9) Have a goal and meet it. Create a reasonable goal of something you know you can accomplish by day’s end and make it happen, even if it takes you longer than you thought it would. This lets you tell yourself “I mean business!” and will allow you to take yourself seriously now and in the future.
10) Create a reward system. I once told myself I could not under any circumstances get the
i phone, which I had been obsessed with for months (Was it worth it? I am not sure. The phone is great, its AT&T that I could do without, but that is a whole other topic for another post) until I got my work done. Often I simply tell myself, if you do the work now, you won’t have to do it later, and this is sufficient incentive. I would have to work a lot more if I bought myself an i phone or the equivalent every time I got something done.
And finally, if you are more of a visual learner, let me break it down for you this way. If you don’t get your work done, this is how you feel at the end of the day:
But if you do get your act together, you will feel like this:
And if you want to know what I am wearing, I don’t even know what it is, I found it at my favorite consignment store, Rags, it is a shortsleeve hoodie with a fake pocket but the best part is it made me feel like Punky Brewster when I tried it on, so I had to get it.