A bit over two years ago, I sat down to my first day as a Customer Support Specialist, in the coziest office imaginable… my own home. That’s right. I work from home!
This was daunting. At best. Who wouldn’t be terrified of the prospect of sitting for hours on end all by yourself? Wouldn’t I go crazy just sitting there in solitude? Would I become consumed with boredom?
And after two years, I’ve never looked back. I love my job. I love my gorgeous alone time. And I have learned so much, grown more than I could have imagined, and I don’t really have any interest in ever finding another job, since my lifestyle is so great.
And the commute is incredible!
But that doesn’t mean the ‘work from home’ fears aren’t real. It’s very easy to become exactly what we all fear. It’s quite simple to look back and say that your only accomplishments were sending out a whole lot of emails. If you look back at the end of the day and you did nothing but work, you’re woefully unhappy, you’re terribly lonely, and you’re 300 pounds overweight and diabetic, something went horribly wrong.
Here are my five strategies to make the work from home experience absolutely fantastic:
1) Work from Home and Learn to Love being Alone
I feel like being alone is a lost art. Nowadays, even while alone we’re still connected to the world in a dozen different ways.
But solitude, for those of us who have learned to embrace it, is beautiful.
I’m at peace when I’m by myself. That’s not to say I don’t thoroughly enjoy being social (sometimes). It just means that I don’t run away from being alone. I love it. I make great use of it. And I relish in the quiet and enjoy all of its benefits.
But what if you simply don’t know how to be alone well?
Like all other habits we wish to create, sometimes you just need to dive in and grow naturally from there. Go to a restaurant by yourself. I know. It’s weird. Go to the movies by yourself! I promise, it gets less strange. Ultimately, you might even grow to love it. No one asks you to explain anything, and you get to keep all the popcorn for yourself. What’s not to love?
If you love to be alone, loving to work from home is just a tiny hop away.
2) Find Creative Ways to Spend your Time when you Work from Home
As the hours pass on by, especially on a slow day, there’s unlimited things you can do with your time. Those who master the art of being by themselves and loving their solitude will like their time working… and love the downtime even more.
Sure, it won’t always be easy. There will be days and periods of extreme wasted time. You’ll have re-watched a TV series for your third time. Or you’ll get to that unfortunate moment many of us have tasted where we feel we’ve “finished” YouTube.
But a moment will click. A moment in which you’ll realize that the possibilities are truly endless. You can get an advanced degree from your living room. Or write a novel. You can learn a new language or master breakdancing. And you have countless hours to do with as you please, no one looking over your shoulder judging you or wondering why you’re not “hard at work”.
I’ve had office jobs with massive amounts of downtime and it doesn’t even compare. Every moment you spend doing something not work related in an office, you fear someone will be judging you. Someone will be angry for your not advancing the company’s needs forward. But not in your own home. You do as you please. No one knows, no one cares.
Write down every single thing you wish to accomplish in this world. Then do all of them!
3) Embrace the Work from Home Advantages
My home is normally spotless, since I can wash my dishes during a break or clean that weird spill in the fridge. I was able to buy a dog, since he can joyously sleep on my leg while I work. Dozens of amazing Couch Surfers slumbered away just a few feet away from me as I typed away for my glorious job.
What happens when you’re out the door first thing in the morning and you return 9-10 hours later? Those dirty dishes stay dirty. The spill in the fridge becomes harder and harder to clean. Your poor pooch is so sad all day long that it’s borderline cruel. And your tired guests get kicked out the door first thing in the morning.
There are countless advantages to working from home. Explore them all! And find some new ones, while you’re at it.
4) Fill your Home with Healthy Eats
A great advantage of working from home is the ability to cook. You’re not tempted to go to Subway during your lunch break with your co-workers. There’s no vending machine. There’s complete accessibility to your kitchen, and you can’t use your commute as an excuse for rushed trips to 7-11.
You’re sitting in front of a computer anyway. Hop on Google and look for easy, healthy recipes. Get tons of plastic containers. And instead of spending your day knee deep in Cheetos and Mountain Dew, you can be eating like a king each and every day.
If after your first year working from home you’ve gained 70 pounds, it is unlikely you will be happy with the situation. So at the very least you’ll need to strategize about how to not become a huge, portly mess as a result of your amazing lifestyle.
5) Work from Home… But Get the @#$% out of the House as Soon as you Can
When my workday ends, I close my computer and head to the gym. If for whatever reason I don’t, it feels like it has a severe impact on the quality of my entire day. I might finish off my day having done many, many things, and I might feel a strong sense of accomplishment, but ultimately I’ll known I’ve been trapped indoors the whole time. It’s unhealthy, both physically and mentally.
So at the earliest possible moment, before your dopey brain can start coming up with excuses, get off your ass, and see what the outside world looks like.
You need to love to work from home. But you need to be a part of the world too!
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