I’ve officially been working exclusively from home for the last 60 days.
I do all of my digital marketing, business coaching, blogging, meetings and event planning all from the comfort of my own couch.
Whenever I tell my friends, family or colleagues that I work from home, their first response most of the time is, “Well, aren’t you lucky! I wish I could stay at home all the time…”
First, it’s not luck – Yes, I’ve been very fortunate and blessed, but zero luck. I’ve worked very diligently to leverage my time and skillset so that I can have the comfort of working from anywhere I please.
Second, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be – yeah, the advantages are cool…being home all the time, working around my own schedule, not having to fight through traffic on the way home, not spending money on gas and fewer distractions…
…but man, I’ve been really dwelling on the down side the past few weeks…here’s why:
It’s Difficult To Communicate With People
I didn’t understand the value of face-to-face conversation before I branched off as an independent contractor.
Try as hard as you can to send clear text messages and emails to the people you’re working with and something is still guaranteed to be lost lost in translation.
That makes it so much more difficult to communicate because you’re having to spend a ton of time simply ensuring that your message is getting across.
I’m Always Working
I had this huge delusional idea that working from home would mean less work.
For some people who don’t honor their role as an independent contractor, that might be the case.
But for me, it’s simply meant that I have more time to work.
Let me describe a typical day for me:
6:00am to 6:30am – I’m up
6:30am to 6:45am – Scroll through emails on phone, brush my teeth & wash my face
6:45am to 7:00am – Fire up my laptop & brew a cup of coffee
7:00am to 3:00pm – Work. Non stop. Yeah. I ain’t lying. 8 hours straight.
3:00pm to 4:00pm – Realize that if I don’t eat soon, I’m gonna pass out. Make “brunch.”
4:00pm to 6:00pm – Continue to work
6:00pm to 7:30pm – Workout so I keep my bones and ligaments somewhat loose
7:30pm to 11:00pm – Open my laptop, get back to work
After 11:00pm – Unglue my eyes from my computer monitor and unplug
It’s not atypical for me to spend 14 to 16 hours a day working on my laptop.
I’m working more now than I ever have before. Yes, I have more availability to work on the things I want to work on, but man, it’s taxing.
I wish I had a dog so I’d have an excuse to leave my laptop and go walk him…but I don’t. Guess I’ll just get back to marketing…
My Back Is An Absolute Mess
When I say that I usually work 14 to 16 hours a day (I’m ashamed to admit this), but more often than not, I do it sitting down. In the same spot. All day long.
If you’ve never sat down for hours on end, tapping away on your laptop, let me tell you – before you can realize it, your lower back will be in some crazy pain.
The human spine was not meant to be hunched over a computer all day.
Even if you try to have really good posture while you’re sitting down, it still kills your back (like mentioned in this post here).
For the first 6 weeks or so of my work-at-home experience, I mostly sat in one spot. As of late, I’ve been trying a variety of things, like working standing up (with my laptop on a high desk) and walking 5 minutes at the end of every hour.
It’s getting better but it’s still a challenge for me.
It’s Sooooooo Difficult To Concentrate
You’d figure being alone all day wouldn’t make it so difficult to concentrate, right?
I’ve had the biggest problems staying focused lately.
It can be anything and I’ll get easily distracted…I’ll see that my bathroom is a bit dirty, so I’ll spend an hour cleaning it, I’ll see that we’re out of a certain food, so I’ll spend an hour grocery shopping, I’ll notice that it’s really sunny outside, so I’ll spend an hour working out.
Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are necessary, but it’s vital to keep your day sequenced.
If you flinch and focus on the shiniest object, you’ll never get anything done.
One solution I’ve found to this is varying up the places I work from.
Sometimes I’ll go work from my local university, or my favorite local coffee shop, or even the community area on the 4th floor of my apartment building – anything to try to keep my focus keen.
I Miss People
Call me crazy, but some of my favorite times of the day are days when I have meetings.
Yup, I said it.
Meetings usually suck…but being alone all day in my own world just makes me want to hear someone else’s voice every once in a while.
I look forward to meetings, I look forward to seeing my girlfriend get home from work (you should see how much I bug her when she walks in the door – like a lustful puppy who just saw his owner walk in), and I miss general human chatter.
I’m a huge people person and people lover, so human interaction is vital for me. I feed off of it.
So you can imagine how difficult it’s been for me throughout these last 60 days.
I’ve even gone so far as playing ambient sound of people talking while I work, just to keep me sane and somewhat connected.
So, if you’re looking at “working from home” as your saving grace, you might want to think again.
All of these issues might not apply to you, but they’re important to consider if you’re looking to move into this line of work.
Not only does it require an insanely high amount of self motivation to keep yourself focused, but it also requires you to give up a lot of human connection.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having the flexibility to work from anywhere I please, I’m thankful I don’t have to walk into an office every day, and I’m grateful I can work at any time, but I’ve accepted that working at home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I’m still ‘working’ on finding a balance – even as I sit on my couch, looking out my window, writing this blog from home…
What tips or advice would you give me or someone working from home to improve their experience? Comment below!
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