Home > Advice, Humor, Personal, Work at home > Curb the Bottle Until Noon and Other Advice for Working at Home

Curb the Bottle Until Noon and Other Advice for Working at Home

Her advice is sharp: “You can work in your pajamas–If you’re not self-motivated and disciplined, this can be a slippery slope. What’s to stop you from having a beer before noon?”

Humorous: “You can have a conference call in your underwear if you want to and no one is the wiser.”

And wise: “You’re your own boss–there’s no one checking your work, asking you to set goals, giving you raises and feedback, or challenging you to raise the bar, so you’ve got to do all those things for yourself.”

And it all speaks to my current situation: Learning how to work at home, as my own boss, on my own schedule, without the pressure of an on-site manager. So far, so good, but that doesn’t mean I’ve had some problems.

Take last week for instance. My girlfriend got back from Europe late Thursday night and I ended up hanging out with her Friday morning. Or this week when the heat reached 100 degrees and the lack of AC in my bedroom drove me to the local coffee shop where I had trouble hearing folks on the phone. But that isn’t to say it has all been struggles; there have been some good stuff too.

Like the fact I can go to the gym at 2 instead of 6 and miss the rush. Or the fact that I’ve cut about 500 calories of crap out of my daily diet since Backpacker’s infamous black cabinet is no longer in the picture. Or the challenge presented that it’s my responsibility to stay on task, at my desk, working.

Personal friend and fellow work-at-home colleague Dewey Bushaw, gave me some advice:

“Working from home is all about figuring out what works. From how you dress to where you sit, those decisions are made by the one person whose goal is to look out for number one…You.”

Dewey went on to include a list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Your own personal bathroom.
  • Refreshments are just a room away.
  • Need to take a nap? No problem.
  • Blast your music, listen to a movie, or work in complete silence.

Cons:

  • Communication is limited to the digital and analog realm and you might suffer from response delay.
  • Office politics, water-cooler chat, and camaraderie are severely diminished.
  • Degenerative work environment if you do not get dressed and keep your work place tidy.
  • The line between work and relaxation might get blurred and you will not be able to do either separate.

Good points to say the least. But it’s the last one that had me thinking. The line between work and relaxation might get blurred and you will not be able to do either separate. I’m horrible at this. Every time I turn on the computer and scan stories, blogs, twitter feeds, or just play around I’m always working. How can this work for my client? How can I write something like this? Who is this writer? Why can they do this and not me? All thoughts that scream through my head just as fast as the 1’s and 0’s appearing on the computer screen.

“Set boundaries,” professional writer Gina Wagner advised me over dinner. “Set blocks of time for work, and then walk away and get out of the house.” Her husband then chimed in. “You are like me Tim. I go into an office to check my email and emerge three hours later. But you can’t do that. Find a balance and stick to it.”

So maybe that is why I’m blogging more. Now that I don’t have a writing outlet (it was Backpacker the last few months) I need a way to express my feelings and continue writing. The only question is if I can continue to improve my prose without the constant watchful eagle-eye of my past editors.

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  1. July 18, 2008 at 3:24 am

    whooof! Three posts in two days! I might have to start using RSS feeds to keep up. But hey, keep it up. I always read and enjoy.

  2. James Menard
    July 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    I believe an explanation is in order here: who is your girlfriend? Is that like “my friend who happens to be a member of the fairer sex” or more like “a person whom I would like to get to know better as potential spouse”? Am I that out of touch with you Tim? And since you are “working” (I use the term loosely) from home, I expect an immediate response. Thank you!

  3. Susan
    July 18, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Ditto James above.

    Susan

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