It's been, more or less, six months since I began working from home.
In full disclosure, I do have another office that I use occasionally during the week; that is five minutes away. I also use a local Panera and the town library. All of these locations make up my "office".
Before I started working from home, I would read about people who just loved it. They raved about the flexibility, the personalization, and the deep productivity it afforded. It seemed like the way to go. As an introvert, I've always enjoyed time in quiet spaces so I figured I would give it a try.
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The lessons have been many. Here are six that stand out:
- It's unglamorous. When no one is around and no one does the old "got a minute" interruption, it's just you and your work. At the end of the day, you need to crank work and get things done. There's nothing sexy about that and you won't get bonus points for wearing a nicer tie. That's not to say that it's bad, just different. It's you and your work.
- Being able to change your location is magical. For me, working for three hour blocks of time works well. I can get in a morning block of work, take lunch, and then get another three hour block of time before dinner. I suspect that six strong hours of work is way more than I ever got in a traditional office layout.
- You begin to appreciate time. I track my hours each day. Even a 15 minute block of time gets put down in the book. I've realized that, when you work from home, you appreciate what you can get done in a small (or large) block of time. Before, the parts of the day just blended together.
- You realize how much junk fills the day of the average office worker. I don't have a commute which means that I don't have to wake up early (although I still do but now it's by choice). I don't have to add forty minutes to my morning and forty minutes home. I don't have to spend 15-30 minutes each day with chit-chat. There are very few interruptions. As I think back to work in a traditional office space, I realize just how much "stuff" fills the average day and it's not very productive.
- Themed days are a must. Each of my days is "built" around a particular theme. Monday is for content creation. Friday is for administrative tasks. The days in the middle have their own themes. Theming is important because it gives structure to your week and gives you a roadmap of what you want to accomplish.
- Most meetings are useless. I still have meetings but now they are via Skype, Zoom or a conference call. They have a set time to begin and often end early. They are pleasant and typically quite effective.
I'm still figuring this out. For those who have worked from home for years, I admire your wisdom and hope to keep learning from your experience.
How about you? Where do you work best? Of the six lessons above, do any strike a chord with you?