What Are Some Tips For Working From Home?

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Answered by: Kellie, An Expert in the Working From Home Category
Success when Working From Home.

Working from home is not for everyone. It requires significant self-discipline and time management skills -- to get up and get working when there are so many distractions in the home environment, coupled with the absence of anyone looking over your shoulder or cracking the proverbial whip! It also takes a special personality to balance the demands of work and family IN the family home. Drawing boundaries is not easy, but is oh-so-necessary.

Here are some of the steps I've taken to ensure the best success when working from home:

I try to start each day at the same time. For me, the work day begins after I take my daughters to school. When I return home, the television is turned off, the home phone ringer is muted, and a note is placed on the front door: Please do not disturb.

When working from home, I minimize distractions by keeping a home office set up with everything I need -- computer, phone, fax machine -- and then shutting the door to this office while I'm working.

When I take a break, I monitor the time I'm away from the work. If I'm going to throw a load of clothes in the wash machine, I try to make sure this takes no longer than a short coffee break would require, if I were in an office environment. I make every effort not to allow working from home to mean working ON the home.

Since working from home can be very isolating (but also quite productive!), when I've met a milestone or completed something on my To Do list, I will sometimes allow myself the work-from-home equivalent of a walk to the water cooler: ten minutes on Facebook!

When my children return home, the computer is turned off. My cell phone ringer is muted. The home phone is turned back on. My home is now home again, and not a working environment. I do my best to return client calls in a timely manner, and I do monitor email for urgent matters, but for the most part, I'm MOM again. Not a marketing professional. It's time now for homework assistance, and chauffeuring to and from after school activities.

Quite often, after the children are in bed for the night, I will return to my work. I will log back on my computer, write a press release or finish some ad copy, catch up on emails that happened later in the work day, or simply begin a list of things to do the next morning. Part of what works for me in working from home is the awareness of my deadlines and what it will take to meet them. It helps that my work is deadline and project-oriented, much more than 9-5 oriented. This schedule allows me the flexibility to be available in the event a child is sick, or if there's an activity at school I need to attend.

For me, success in working from home means that my deadlines are met, I'm available to my children, and more often than not, I'm able to put together a decent meal for dinner -- all while avoiding the rush hour commute, downtown parking fees, and no longer spending a fortune on dry cleaning.

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