Nine times out of ten, the first thing people say to me when I tell them I work from home is, “Wow! That’s so awesome! That’s like a dream come true!”
Dreamy? You betcha. I can make a mean iced latte, rock my yoga pants, and do my laundry whenever I want.
However, much like that dream you wake up from thinking, “Well that was weird,” working from home can get super dicey when you realize you haven’t spoken to a real life human adult all day or find yourself 4 seasons deep in Pretty Little Liars in a 2 week span (true life: Glitter & Bold’s December 2015).
Working from home is freaking awesome. Most people can agree on that one. Working for yourself at home is even better. You get to make your own hours, wear whatever you want, and eat 20 meals a day. You also have to motivate yourself to actually work, remember that you need to shower even if you’re wearing yoga pants every day, and deal with the temptation to eat 20 meals a day. It’s kind of like riding a really cool, never-ending rollercoaster.
I’ve been riding said rollercoaster full time for almost three years now, and while I can’t say I’ve got it all figured out (that Netflix struggle can be REAL), I’ve debunked some of the biggest misconceptions people have about working from home:
You have all the time in the world.
This is one I deal with ALL the time. My schedule is pretty flexible, and that’s awesome, but I do work 40-80 hours a week, depending on current projects and the time of year. That means I can’t usually rearrange my schedule at the drop of a hat, even if you took the day off to clean out the garage (you know who you are, and I love you, but still).
You can stay in pajamas all day.
While this one is technically true, it’s a really bad idea. Slumming in your pajamas (or even yoga pants and an oversized tshirt) all day, means you’re more likely to act like you’re slumming in your pajamas. You get less done, it’s harder to stay motivated, and watching “just one more” episode on Netflix feels a lot easier. Wake up, get dressed, show up, do the work. It’s amazing what a difference a bra and jeans can make in your productivity.
You take a lot of naps.
See point #1. There’s just no time, and usually having a less clear work/life boundary means you’re even less likely to walk away from your desk in the middle of the day.
You eat whatever, whenever you want.
I actually find that I eat less when I’m working at home, and have an alarm set on my computer’s calendar to tell me when it’s lunchtime. I also had to move all the yummy snacks downstairs so I wouldn’t just keep grazing All Day Long. In my mind I have time to take an hour and make myself a wonderful, healthy, home cooked lunch, but it’s often a bowl of cheerios. Glamorous, right?
You can work from the couch all day.
Also technically true, but bad for both productivity and your overall health. Having a specific workspace not only makes you feel like a total boss, but makes you work like one too. This might be a full blown home office or a desk in the corner of your room – as long as you’ve got a workspace, you’re good to go.
You just watch Netflix all day.
While I’m an avid mid-day binger, I usually try to save the TV time for when I’m painting orders and just need some background noise. Anything else gets music and podcasts and I’m vastly more productive.
You clock out whenever you want.
I wish! Working from home means there’s a very thin line between work and life, and it’s usually pretty blurry. Wake up remembering you forgot to do that one last thing on your computer? No worries, just run across the hall and knock it out, sleep be damned! Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your desk without batting an eye. Having had both an off-site office and a home office I can say that I work even longer hours when I’m home.
You get lonely all the time.
This can be a tricky one, because if you let it, it’s very true. Especially if you work by yourself, it’s very easy to get lonely. On the other side of that, there’s a huge community of fellow bosses out there in the same boat who are also looking for some connection throughout the day. Facebook groups, business besties, coffee dates, the sky is the limit.