For those of you who’ve never worked from home, let me first say, it’s not as great as it sounds. Oh, it has it advantages for sure;
- Save money on fuel costs
- Zero minute commute – each way!
- Less eating out
- You’re always home
- Don’t have to buy nice clothes
Working from home has totally spoiled me. I really don’t know if I could ever work in an office again. But there are disadvantages:
- You’re always at work
- Might not be able to handle the autonomy
- More eating out for lunch
- Constant partial attention
- You have to be really sick to get a sick day
I knew I’d save a ton of money on fuels costs. I thought I’d save money on eating out. But I was wrong on that one. I probably eat out as much as I did when I was working in an office. My wife thinks I eat out entirely too much. She’s probably right. Eating out is my way to get out of the office (house). I know going to the gym, a bike ride or taking a walk would be a much better option…especially since I sit on my butt for a living. I’m working on it.
When I was in my twenties I wouldn’t have been able to handle working from home. I didn’t have the work ethic that I have now, nor the discipline. My greatest obstacle is my constant partial attention (CPA), a term coined by Microsoft exec Linda Stone. I should be the poster child! CPA is not the same as multi-tasking. It’s exactly what it sounds like…the need to pay a little bit of attention to a whole bunch of stuff. And it’s superficial attention, not real attention. As an online marketer and social media consultant it’s my job to constantly scan EVERYTHING: multiple analytics dashboards for multiple clients; Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest (for my clients); Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest (for myself); breaking news about the next Google algorithm update; work email, personal email, text messages from my wife. I’ve got 3 monitors, and iPad and a smartphone on my desk! Get the idea?
I used to work from Panera once in a while just for a change of scenery and to actually see some human beings. But that would mean I’d have to work on my laptop and it only has one monitor.
Friends often ask if my daughter stays at home with me since I work from home. That question always causes me to crack a smile because THAT’s TOTALLY CRAZY! How could anyone ever get anything done with a 4 year old in the house? I tried on a few occasions when daycare was closed for some reason or the other. I might as well have just take the entire day off.
One of the primary reasons I accepted my current job over another offer was the ability to work from home full time. I almost always have dinner with my wife and daughter. I have breakfast with my daughter every morning. If she’s sick or has a problem at daycare, I can be there in minutes. When she starts school, I’ll be able to put her on and get her off the school bus.
Still, I work my butt off and struggle to make time for exercise, personal chores and little things I should be able to get done. I’m thinking about trying some new time management technique. Perhaps I’ll try the Pomodoro, which sets 25 minute focused work periods followed by short breaks and a longer break after 100 minutes. This might be perfect for a consultant with constant partial attention.
What do you do stay focused and not go crazy while working from home?