6 ways to stay motivated when you work at home.9:00 AM
I telecommute. Soft Flex Company is located in Sonoma, Ca. I live in Phoenix, AZ. I get asked frequently about how I started working for Soft Flex when I live in an entirely different state. I guess some things are just meant to be. I met the right person, at the right time and had the right circumstances happening in my life to make it work. At first, I was hired as a sales representative for Soft Flex at trade shows. It didn't matter where I lived because I had to travel regardless. We went everywhere - Houston, Memphis, Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore, Santa Monica, Seattle, Portland, Denver, etc. The next thing I knew, I had a home office and when I wasn't traveling I was working from home. My responsibilities have grown over the years and now I travel infrequently. Working from home has its pros and cons. I thought that I would share a few words of wisdom that I've learned over the years.
- Keep a "to do" list. It is far too easy to get distracted when you are at home. When you accomplish a task, mark it off on your list and see what is next. This will keep you from losing track of what is most important. My "to do" list often lists my short term goals as well as my long term goals.
- Keep a regular schedule. Try to start and end work around the same time each day. Give yourself enough time in the morning to have a normal routine, eat breakfast, shower and get dressed. I like to start my day with a cup of hot tea. Don't forget to take a break in the middle of the day like everyone in the "normal" world. It is refreshing and especially nice if you can get outside.
- Visit the outside world. I'm a pretty social person. Being alone all day, everyday can be really hard for me. Poor Josh! I have to remind myself everyday that he has been at work WITH people all day. So when he comes home from work, he just wants to rest and have some quiet time. I, on the other hand, have spent most if not all of the day WITHOUT people and am bursting with chitter chatter. So, I try to break up my day and visit the outside world. I'll get a coffee or grab lunch outside of my home, go hiking early in the morning to visit the local gym. Set up face-to-face meetings with co-workers or peers. My co-worker Kristen and I try to grab lunch and meet face-to-face once a month. We often leave this meeting feeling refreshed and inspired.
- Make connections online. Did I mention that I'm a pretty social person? Along with going out into the outside world, use online tools to connect. Tools like instant messenger, facebook, linkedin and twitter are a great way to feel connected to other people in the world. Social media is a great way to collaborate and keep in touch. The telecommuters in our company use instant messenger on a daily basis. It is nice to be able to quickly chat about work without a formal phone call.
- Work space. Being at home means that you can create your own work environment. Maybe that's a desk. Maybe its the kitchen table. Maybe it is a combination of several work spaces. I have a desk and I have a beading table, but I find that I am most comfortable in my living room. I've moved a few times over the years and I've found my work space to be different in each home. Wherever it is, be sure that at the end of the day, you can switch from being at work to being at home.
- Background noise. I'm sure that not everyone needs this. I'm sure that some people like silence when they work. I'm not one of those people. I usually have something running in the background - music, television, the news...something. If nothing else, it helps me keep track of time.