Working from Home…Fabulously
Ok, yes, I am sort of living the dream: I work from home about 90% of the time. This fact is often met with jealousy. Yes, I am lucky that I am a writer and a transcriber and a data entryer: My commute consists of moving from my bed to my chair. But I still have deadlines and bosses and responsibilities. It’s still, ya know, work. I also don’t have benefits or sick days or any guarantee that all my work won’t dry up tomorrow and I’ll have to go back to working retail. But hopefully that won’t happen! I have been a work-from-home freelancer for almost a year now, and I’ve picked up some tricks of the trade along the way. Enjoy my wisdom if you work from home. Seethe with jealousy from your cubicle if you don’t.
1. Look fabulous, at least sometimes. Sure, most days I don’t get out of my pajamas. Why would I? Pajamas are awesome. But sometimes that just gets depressing. So at least once a week, I dress up to impress my only coworker: myself. Something about throwing on a dress and a little lipstick makes me sit up a little straighter and work a little harder. I also find the more lipstick I have on, the more selfies I take. This is either good or bad, depending upon how you personally define productivity.
2. Get out of the house. I live alone, and I love my adorable little apartment, but lately it is driving me crazy. It feels too small and lonely and quiet. The sunshine and warm air outside has been making my studio feel claustrophobic. So now I work in the park if I don’t need internet. I work in my best femme’s backyard if I do. I am currently writing this article at a buddy’s house as she packs up her stuff for a move. Leave the house, folks. It is weird to spend all day inside when it is so gorgeous out. Coffee shops count as outside, for the record.
3. Work dates. Do you have other friends who work from home? Perfect, you have yourself a work date. My best femme is also a freelancer, and we have work dates several times a week. At first, it was hard to be productive around each other, because we are such good buddies we just want to chat and try on lipstick. So we set rewards for ourselves: work for 90 minutes, then take a 15 minute coffee break and just chat. We get a lot done that way and still get to process with each other. And try on lipstick together. And sometimes mimosas are part of the reward. And by sometimes I mean usually.
4. Give yourself some structure. When your home is your office, it’s easy to think you should be working all the time. I could do dishes, but if I did data entry instead, I would make money! I operated from this mindset for a while: my paychecks were fat but my kitchen was filthy. Sure, you work from home, but you don’t have to work round the clock. You can still have a life and stuff. You’re a freelancer, work when you want! I used to work late into the night until I started dating a 9-to-5er. Uncoincidentally, I now tend to work somewhat of a 9-to-5 myself. It’s not so bad to get up early(ish), work a reasonable/”normal” amount of hours, then stop working and enjoy the night. It’s almost like being a regular adult working full-time! Except sooooo much better. Ok, fine, I still work 6-7 days a week, but at least I tend to enjoy my nights now.
5. Remember that you can work from anywhere. This means you can impulsively go away for the week and stay for free with a friend and work while you’re there. At least in theory. I always say I am going to work my ass off when I visit my buddies in New York, and I always end up spending a little too much money and working a little too little. But I am sure you are much more disciplined and responsible than I am, so you should take that trip you’ve been putting off. And send me a postcard. Or a selfie.