Working from home has become increasingly popular as we dive into the 21st century. Not only new technologies made it possible for more and more people to make money from their bedroom, but our modern lifestyle has changed a lot since the 1990’s, allowing more people to adopt this way of life.
But what are the pros and cons of working from home? Are there any caveats, or better said any tips to look out for when you want to join the ever-increasing crowd of digital nomads, self-employed online marketers or just want to stay close to your kids while still making money? Let’s see what are my best 5 tips on how to work from home.
How To Work From Home Tip #1: It’s A Lifestyle, Not A Magic Wand
People often think working from home is like a magic situation. You wake up, sip your coffee in your PJ’s with sleepy eyes, and the only thing you have to do is check your online bank balance, watching money flowing into your account without you doing pretty much anything.
This is as far from the truth as it can be. In fact, I figure in some sense it is even more difficult to work from home or make money from home than in a traditional workplace. But more on that in tip #4.
Working from home is not a magic situation. It’s a desirable lifestyle, where you are still responsible for your income. And this often becomes hard, as there can be many distractions that can worsen your productivity.
Be sure to focus on what you have to produce, and that you understand 100% where your money comes from. Try to eliminate distractions, and do more of what really brings in more. All the following tips will help you in achieving this.
How To Work From Home Tip #2: Have Your Designated Working Time
One of the most important benefits of working from home is that you can manage your own time. This sounds great, and in deed can give you more freedom and flexibility when compared to our traditional 9-5 lifestyle.
But unless you set aside your working time, you can fall into one of the two most common traps that are the biggest risk for everyone working from home:
- You’ll work 24/7. You set out to find a flexible and free lifestyle, but end up working even more than in a traditional workplace. It is true that working more can make you more money, but actually you might end up working every single minute of your life and loosing your private and family life.
- Work much less than needed. Although this might sound fun at first, but we are working in order to make money to support our expenses and lifestyle. So if you don’t work enough, at the end of the day you won’t make enough. And this, believe me, won’t sound that funny.
So my tip is to have a designate time for work, a working schedule. This can be as flexible as you want, from a regular 9-5 schedule to anything like an hour every morning between 9 and 10, and then 3 hours after 9 PM. You can even work 12 hours a day if you so prefer. That totally depends on you, on your schedule and lifetime, and can even vary every day of the week. The only important thing is that you separate mentally your working time and your private/family time.
The only important thing is that you separate mentally your working time and your private/family time.
If you have a family, make this working time also clear to them. Let them know that this is the time you have reserved for making money, and have them find other activities during those hours. Also be sure to take into consideration your family’s need when setting aside your working hours.
How To Work From Home Tip #3: Have A Workplace
Make sure to set up your own workplace at home for the same reason as my previous tip: to separate your private life from work.
If you can have your own room just for working – a real home office – I think that’s the best idea. But have at least a corner in your room with a desk and a file cabinet that you use only for working.
This is again mainly a mental thing. When your whole home is also your office, all your activities mix together. This will result in increased stress and less productivity.
Even in a studio apartment you are able to select a corner or a wall section, place your desk and computer there, and reserve that spot for work. This way you can somewhat separate private life from work.
How To Work From Home Tip #4: You’re Your Own Boss
Even if you’re not. I mean even if you work from home as an employee, and have a boss, you’re still your own boss when it comes to manage your time and resources. And this can be pretty tough.
You are responsible for managing your time, getting free of distractions and deliver whatever you’re expected to produce.
I find this is one of the main reasons why people give up working from home, or why they fail in this lifestyle. Everything sounds funny and easy at the beginning, but they forget that they still have to deliver whatever they are expected. Distractions some, and nobody’s there to get them back to the track of productivity.
Here are some tips in becoming more successful in being your own boss at home:
- Make a list of your recurring tasks. Schedule them to the same day / hours of the week.
- Make a list of what you want to achieve every week at the beginning of the week.
- Track your results in a spreadsheet, like your own productivity statistics. Track only 2-3 things, don’t overdo this.
How To Work From Home Tip #5: Your Gear
I’m not telling you to spend a whole lot of money on a super-fast laptop or space-age furniture when you’re not making any income at all at the beginning of your home working career.
But your home will become your workplace, your office. If you deny the best tools from yourself, you’ll probably end up having problems delivering results in your home job.
Don’t go for expensive and trendy equipment, but make a list of what you really need to make your workplace comfortable and productive.
This might be different for each one of us, as we have different needs. It also depends on what type of job you want to do. But here is a short list of what I think are extremely important when you start working from home:
- A very comfortable chair. This is important for your health as well as your productivity.
- A computer that suits your own needs. I’m using two large monitors for example, because I find this is the most important factor for me to work efficiently.
- A big enough office desk for your computer, your printer and your most important documents you’re currently working with.
- A file cabinet and a storage cabinet to store your archived documents.
- All the basic office supply that you don’t think is important until you miss them. This includes, in my opinion, all the following: A printer with an extra set of cartridges; office paper; 5-10 pens; envelopes; paper clips; a notepad; post-it; a stapler; filing organizers and folders; sheet protectors or punched pockets.
- Any special needs that you need in your profession.
Be sure not to spend too much on these things. It’s not the amount of money that’s important, but that you have a setting where you’re able to produce.
How much do you need to spend on all these? It depends mainly on your needs and your profession. Someone planning to edit videos from home will surely need a more robust computer than a virtual assistant. But don’t forget, you can start working from home even with used equipment, and buy better stuff later when you start making real money.
Have Fun Working From Home!
Working from home can be a lot of fun. You can really decide when you want to work, spend more time with your kids or your family, and not only stay productive but even make more money if you organize everything. Be sure to follow my recommendations, and create a happy and productive lifestyle working from home!