Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The hazzards of working at home...

I have been working at home for over 10 years now. The decision to do this based solely on one year of starting my own little business was pretty scary. I had been listening to some self help tapes (okay - Tony Robbins) and I was totally motivated. I was beating my income earnings at work and while I would be losing money, I felt I would have more time to work SO I would make more income eventually.

Wouldn't you know it... a few months after I started working exclusively on my art at home, the market on eBay got flooded with new artists. Wonderful! Other artists were aware of eBay and collectors were spreading the wealth. I got nervous.

Around the time I left my "day job" to work at home I learned about doll art. This, I felt, was something I could sink my teeth into. With a little trial and error I eventually found my perfect niche. It didn't take me long to recover and before I knew it I had a thriving business. To top it all of, I was doing something I absolutely loved. What could be better?

The flip side of all this is that I was working from home and I fell into every pitfall you can: I overbought supplies; I worked too much; I never left the house; I became stressed; my house got messy; I gained weight; and worst of all... I burned out.

When working at home you have to learn to overcome these things or get your butt back to your day job. I knew this was what I loved so I just kept plugging along.

1. The first thing you do is plan! When you have a "day job" you are on a schedule. You have a plan. If you schedule out your day and plan things, it is truly amazing what you can achieve.

2. Take your weekends off. I will often work until midnight on the week days if I need to just to have the weekend off. Generally people get a few days off... it doesn't have to be specifically Saturday and Sunday but you need at least a day or two to unwind. If you can get out of the house... even better. Remember, you are there all day long. You don't want to smell the burn out.

3. Plan your meals or buy healthy snacks. I literally get up in the morning, make coffee and come straight into my office to answer emails. I am already at work. This is freaking awesome because I can wear anything, however, it is hard to tell if you are gaining weight when your stretchy, comfy clothes keep stretching. I do not advocate wearing anything less than comfortable BUT I do recommend planning your meals and fitting in some exercise. Promise you will not regret it. If you don't have clothes that you have to fit into for work AND you don't have anyone really watching you, things could get out of hand. This is something I have failed at time and again because when you are busy you just grab whatever. But I have started walking in the mornings and this week I am planning those meals. Girl wants smaller comfy clothes!

4. I used to give myself a day to clean. I have since taken that away because I have a weird habit of needing to be alone to clean and currently my daughter and her family are living here. So, I don't do my typical cleaning day... I do what I can. When I have my days alone I like to have a day designated to cleaning. This can be one of your weekend days.

5. Have a designated working space. It is impossible to get anything done when you are constantly taking things out and having to put them away. Find a space in your house and set it up.

6. Watch out for wasting time (for instance, blogging when you need to be working). The internet is a time stealer. Especially Facebook! I watched a little video on procrastination that suggested you turn your sound off on your computer when working... otherwise you will be constantly checking your emails and Facebook messages, etc... Turn it off and turn on some music (or whatever you like to listen to).

7. Make sure you are doing something you love and always always challenge yourself.

8. Watch out for distractions! It is so easy to get distracted, especially when you aren't "feeling it" that day. Listen, everyone needs a mental health day here and there but be careful of those. Don't work to "just get by". That is a recipe for disaster. You can still be there for your family and friends in your designated free times but when at work stay on task.

9. Challenge yourself, yes... but stay focused on what you are good at. I love art... and often I will go off and start doing something that is not usual work. That means it is untried and if it is unsuccessful, well I just don't get paid that week. So do your work first and then experiment with new things.

10. Don't take on too many jobs and become overwhelmed. This can cause instant shutdown.

11. Make a budget. This is crucial.

12. Finally, (and I am sure I am forgetting a dozen other things) just have fun! Yes, work hard too!


  1. Okay, I love this! I'm going to link from my blog because it's so true! Really hits home especially the needing a schedule and wasting time. --sigh--

  2. Excellent advice, all of it. Thanks for taking the time to write it! And you have an email coming from me. Look for it!

  3. Um, there's no such thing as "overbuying supplies"!! She who dies with the most unusable knick knacks wins!!! ;) This is genius! LOVE!!

  4. Even when I'm not a prof in any way, I find these tips very useful. Also with a home study and writing.