Working from home is just great. There are some really good benefits but you have to be so
focussed and selfish you’d not believe. If you slip you’ll find you can be crushed by the outside forces and the inner torment that can just destroy you.
I’ve worked from home for over 25 years apart from some short spells and I’ve gone through the best of times and worse of times. So here are some of the hurdles you’ll find on the path to home working success.
Working for a company gives you the structure that separates your life into segments. You get up, dress and groom yourself, travel to work for a set time, finish at a set time or work agreed overtime and then leave and go to your home life. Sometimes you might take work
home but usually you can stop working when you leave the office and not start again until you arrive next morning.
Working from home means you probably never stop working. You might have a home office but its usual to work on the dining or kitchen table in the evenings and even as soon as you get out of bed. It’s like an addiction. Whether you love it or hate it, you just can’t get away. You are tied to your business, probably your laptop which is constantly always switched on.
Mealtimes go out the Window and you famine or feast
Remember when someone yelled out “Anyone for a bacon buttie?” and there was a rush to pay the guy who was going to the sandwich bar to pick them up. Lunchtime comes and you go out, eat in the staff restroom or even work at your desk, but at least you ate at regular times.
Now you are working on that priority project or just get carried away and forget the time. Suddenly it’s 4 in the afternoon and you haven’t eaten. So you make a sandwich or grab a ready to eat snack. Then just a hour later you have a family meal but aren’t very hungry. Or you are drinking coffee with 2 sugars and snacking continuously during the day. Then
wonder why your clothes don’t fit!!
You become isolated
You worked with others and that had its ups and downs. But in the main you have an office social life where you interact with others. Might be small talk about what you did last night, the TV or football. Could be office meetings or discussing work. But you are talking to others
usually in an informal way with people you are familiar with. For some, the office life is their life where they are maybe unhappy or lonely at home.
people you meet online.
So you finish up becoming quite isolated. And that
might have an effect on your personality and your relationships with your
family. And it certainly can add stress and uncertainty. Do you begin to prefer
your own company, do you start talking to yourself! Do you start talking to
your pet goldfish.
Social Media becomes your Social Life
Being alone you stop for a while and hit Facebook.
That’s when your troubles really begin because you either start surfing within
Facebook as one connection leads to another.
Or . . . your life starts to revolve around
Facebook and you sink into the fantasy world of what everybody else is doing.
And begin to lead your life on theirs. And you may start texting or adding
posts to these “friends” pages whom are really at best just acquaintances and
often almost strangers. And this can lead to you not only wasting time but also
getting trapped in situations you just don’t want.
So . . . basically your social life just vanishes
into thin air, to be replaced with a fantasy world. We all need to socialise but you’ve cut yourself
You can’t have a Sick Day
Working for yourself means you usually can’t afford
to take a sick day, or snowed in day when you just can’t get to work. When you
just need to roll out of bed and slouch down to your work area there’s just no
So not only do you miss those days which could be
spend out snowballing or just having a bit of fun. You stay alone, working. Outside
you see Mums and Dads having fun with their kids. You aren’t paid by the hour.
You have to complete to compete.
Are you busy? Can you just . . . ?
And you know what’s coming next. Nobody thinks you
work. Your time is almost your own. But on second thoughts it not. Your time is
“Sorry to bother you but can you just drop Mary off
at college. She’s late and it’ll only take you 10 minutes” Yes!. Suddenly that 10 minutes is 10 minutes
there and 10 minutes back. “And whilst you are out we need some milk and a loaf
of bread. Can you just stop off and get it? Oh and don’t use the corner shop,
they are too expensive.” So you go out of your way to the supermarket. The total
time is now over an hour!!
Then there are the friends who drop in or call you
and want to tell you about their latest escapade with the car parking in town.
And that’s another hour gone. So you decide to clamp down on this and tell
everyone that you are working and not on a sabbatical. That works for a couple
of days then back to the old routine.
Working in an office and nobody calls you to do a
pick up! Everybody respects that you are working.
Your Neighbours wonder what you do
What does Jim do all day? He doesn’t seem to work
and when he goes out he looks so unkempt. Maybe he lost his job. Maybe he’s an alcoholic.
He’s always in old clothes. Strange man isn’t he.
And suddenly you are being accosted when you go out
and asked some strange searching questions
. . . or you are ignored. So once
again you are losing that social interaction and get strange looks. So you are
talking and drop into the conversation that you write courses online. And you
get those funny looks and you can almost hear the gears in their brains
clinking into action “What does he mean? I don’t really like to ask because he’ll
think I’m stupid”
Remember when you wore a suit every day? Those were
the days. Looked good, felt good. Knew you were the smart guy. Always a sharp
Working from home it’s sloppy joe time. No need to
dress up. Old jeans, trainers and a sweatshirt. Fine. You feel comfortable. Some-one
had told you that when you dressed well and felt good then your work was
better. But you just can’t be bothered. And your work does probably suffer.
You look at yourself in the mirror and suddenly realise
that you need a shave if you’re a guy or haven’t used make-up for days as a
woman and you look like you are recovering from a hangover.
Office Parties a thing of the past
those office parties? Xmas or some other celebration like a birthday or
leaving. Any excuse. Leave work, head for a bar or go for a meal and have a
laugh. Get to know everyone better and let your hair down. It’s time to relax.
But working alone you have nobody to celebrate
with. You could go down the pub and sit in the corner. No. Just forget it. You
can’t even reclaim the tax on a Christmas dinner. Ah well. Better get on with
Getting some exercise
I worked in an office some years ago selling
conservatories by phone. This was about 1998. We used to do the whole sale by
phone. No salesman visiting to close the deal. It was hard but rewarding. But
my point here is that every lunchtime a couple of us would go out and just walk
for about 30 minutes. It was an industrial estate so nothing particular to see.
But we used to get back to work and be active in the afternoon whilst everyone
else began to get tired. I also rememeber that I was pretty fit.
Working alone you’ll keep going all day and then
wonder why you are tired in the afternoon. You’ll have forgotten what fresh air
smells like and you will become lethargic. Life will be work, work, work.
But it’s not all Bad
I’ve listed out the bad things about working for
yourself from home but there are some great advantages.
You don’t have to slop around the house or feel
isolated. You can have a work/life balance and be respected by your friends and
neighbours. You just need to bring that discipline you have in working for a company
into your life. It does mean self discipline but you just need to get some new
habits into place.
The main benefits, however, in working for yourself
is that you can achieve what you want. Whether you want money, fame,
satisfaction or anything else, it’s possible. If you work for yourself now, you’ll
know this is true. There is nobody else you need to rely upon. Just yourself.
Be positive. Take Action