Working from home has its benefits and drawbacks. I love the flexibility it allows me, I love being able to create my own work environment, and I really love not having to adhere to a business-y dress code. But I’ve decided my work-at-home life could use a bit more structure in order for me to up my productivity, increase my bottom line and other things business people say. Oh yeah, and create a more harmonious work-life balance, whatever that is.
Here’s a list of 13 things I’m guilty of as someone who works from home. Some are guilty perks, but most are things I need to change. Let me know if you’re in the same boat:
I don’t keep my desk area organized enough. 1 of 13Thankfully I do have everything I need for an actual home office: a nice sturdy desk that's big enough to hold a printer, a filing cabinet, plenty of drawers. The problem is, I haven't done a very good job of organizing my paperwork, so half the time I end up using my laptop on the kitchen table instead. Time to throw away the stuff I don't need and put away the rest.
Photo credit: Flickr user hownowdesign
I don’t take enough breaks. 2 of 13Because there's no water cooler for me to walk over to or no co-workers to visit in their cubicles, I don't get up and stretch enough while I'm working. Taking just a quick break every hour or so clears out the brain and is better for productivity. I want to start stepping outside on the stoop for a breath of fresh air, the healthy equivalent of a cigarette break. p.s. - Checking Facebook is not a break. I'm looking at you! (All of you.)
Photo credit: Flickr user Jason Pratt
I drink too much coffee. 3 of 13This is a bad habit I've been trying to break for a while. As I've mentioned before, coffee is really not the miracle drug so many of us think it is. I still love it, though. But water is a much better choice. The tap is just as close to my desk as the coffee maker is, so at home there's no excuse. When I work from a cafe, I need to start ordering herbal tea or a juice drink instead.
Photo credit: Flickr user @Doug88888
I clean when I should be working. 4 of 13Sure, doing your own dishes is part of office life, too. But sometimes I'll just do a few dishes and then find myself remembering I meant to vacuum or clean the bathroom. Cleaning can be a convenient form of procrastination when you work from home. To avoid getting sidetracked, I need to structure my time better into "work" time and "home" time, which can be difficult when your work and home lives take place in the same space.
Photo credit: Flickr user greenasian
I work when I should be relaxing. 5 of 13Because I can work whenever I want, and because there's no one else in the house besides my daughter and me, I often find myself sitting down to my laptop after I put my daughter to bed. What I should do then is wind down myself so that I can get a good night's sleep. Again, this one comes down to structuring my time better, setting boundaries for work and personal time. (Heh. "Personal" time. What's that?)
Photo credit: Flickr user lukey dargons
I work through lunch. 6 of 13Yes, sometimes that means eating while working (blogger pro tip: never eat pickles near your laptop. Even a tiny remnant of powerful pickle juice on your fingertips will make the mouse pad stop working. You're welcome.) Sometimes I actually work through lunch and forget to eat. Then by the time I have to leave to pick my daughter up from school I'm starving. But working from home often means working alone, so there's no one around to say, "Hey, wanna go grab a sandwich?" I need to be that guy for myself.
Photo credit: Flickr user moriza
I can go hours or days even without talking to another adult. 7 of 13Except for quick hellos at school, I sometimes go hours or days without actually having a real conversation with another adult. And because I spend my days writing in silence, sometimes I don't even use my voice for hours! It's creepy, especially for someone who loves to talk and sing. Stand-up gigs provide a nice relief, but I need to schedule more meetings for myself or business lunches so that a) I can actually feel social and connected and b) I actually eat.
Photo credit: Flickr user azmichelle
I don’t shower enough. 8 of 13Really, if I don't have anywhere to be, I just roll out of bed, drop my daughter off at school and get to work. Thank God I have live shows or TV appearances enough days a week so as not to be totally taken over by my own funk, but I need to start getting up every day in time to take a shower before work like a normal person, not sitting around all sloppy like some bloggery beast.
Photo credit: Flickr user SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget
My hours are erratic. 9 of 13The flexibility being your own boss and working from home provides is great, because it allows you to fit everything you need to in. In my case, that can mean filming sketches one day, writing the next day and squeezing in a doctor's appointment after that. What I need to get better about is scheduling my time in advance and not just fitting things in on the spur of the moment. Because I'm a single mother and I have a lot of things to juggle, I typically have no idea what I'm doing the next day, I just take each day as it comes. I want to get better about mentally thinking ahead so that I can map in my mind the structure of let's say a week instead of just RIGHT NOW.
Photo credit: Flickr user AloneAlbatross
I don’t get outside enough. 10 of 13Since there's no commute when you work from home, that cuts outside/walking time right there. I've already mentioned that I fail to take lunch breaks, so I don't go for a walk then, and the time I spend dropping off/picking up my daughter is only about 20 minutes total a day. I need some sunshine and oxygen in my life! Stoop breaks will help.
Photo credit: Flickr user payorivero
I don’t exercise enough. 11 of 13Unlike people with office gigs, I can't stop by the gym on my way home, either, so I don't exercise enough. I need to start going for walks in the park or doing yoga at home.
Photo credit: Flickr user asterix611
I sometimes take 20 minute power naps. 12 of 13Guilty perk, 1 of 2: I am a big proponent of the 20-minute power nap. It's a great way to calm a crazed mind. These days, progressive offices offer their employees nap areas, because the 20-minute power nap means business!
Photo credit: Flickr user Cia de Foto
Sometimes I spend the day in my underwear. 13 of 13Guilty perk, 2 of 2: Yes, it's a cliche, but I do spend some days just hanging around writing in a t-shirt and underwear. BECAUSE I CAN.
Photo credit: Flickr user gillicious
Main photo credit: Flickr user foreverdigital