Hello all! I’m currently writing to you whilst in my pajamas. They’re bright pink, and they go great with the silvery boa I have draped around my neck. My feet are quite warm in their bunny slippers, and my ears are nice and toasty behind the bunny earmuffs I threw on in an ecstatic fit of high fashion. My desk is currently littered with random Post-It notes and tiny pieces of leftover potato chips, and I’m currently listening to blaringly loud heavy metal music that is doing its best to scare the bunnies right off my earmuffs. I’m living the dream, people. I work from home.
Which means I could very well act the way I just described myself. There’s nobody else here, and therefore no pressing reason to put on pants or bother with taking a shower. I’m the master of my own destiny, which also means that I can take a nap whenever I want or just say “Screw it!” and go kayaking or morel-hunting or work on perfecting my chainsaw carving skills. There’s absolutely nothing stopping me.
Except, you know, the need to actually make a living.
Don’t get me wrong – working from home is enormously liberating. I can go to the grocery store or get my hair cut at 2pm on a Tuesday if I want. Scheduling a trip to the dentist or the doctor is not nearly the hassle it is for most of my friends. But I also have to be my own motivator, which for many of us is far more challenging than we’d like to admit. The temptation to indulge in what we want to do (as opposed to what our job requires us to do) is often too great to resist.
So if you want to succeed at working from home, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Wake Up Early
Plenty of studies have shown that the majority of us are most productive in the mornings and then slowly become less productive as the day goes on. Getting up as though you’re heading into the office will help ensure that you get the most of your day. Don’t worry if you get tired after lunch, because remember – you’re free to take a nap if you need to, which plenty of other studies have shown to be one of the most effective ways to recharge our brains and increase our overall productivity.
Make Appointments With Others
I have two face-to-face meetings today that I could have easily found a way to get out of. (Hint: faking dysentery is one that few people question too vigorously.) I’m making it a point to try and have at least one face-to-face meeting a week whenever I’m not traveling. Not only might these lead to some more business, but seeing other real human beings is a phenomenal way to avoid the sense of isolation that often plagues the work-from-home set. Good for your business, good for your soul.
Write Down Your Target Goals
Traditional companies do their employees a favor by telling them what needs to be done. Sure, none of us wants to be forced to follow someone else’s orders, but it definitely simplifies the process of figuring out what needs to happen next. If you work from home, odds are that you’re the one setting goals and sales targets. By writing them down, you can pretend that you’re being held accountable to something larger than yourself. “It’s not just my idea that we need to land six account this month; the piece of paper is telling me to do it!!!!” If it sounds childish to have to fool yourself in this way, just remember we do this kind of thing all the time. Just look at Zumba classes. “It’s so much better than exercising. It’s just like dancing! Except there’s an instructor, and we all stand in a line, and I don’t touch anyone else, and I am wearing workout clothes, and I end up sweating a lot. Just like when I go out dancing.”
As with everything else in the world, working from home has its own set of pros and cons. The pros are pretty sweet, as long as you’re disciplined enough to enjoy them in moderation. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a pile of Cheetoh dust at my feet that needs tending to. Will I sweep it up or eat it directly off the floor?
You’ll never know.