Thursday, April 4, 2013
Working from Home
More and more people are working from home. For some, it increases productivity. It also allows for a flexible schedule and it never hurts that you only have to walk down the hall to enter the office.
I work from home, enjoy it and am pretty sure that I am productive (well, usually). Scheduling my time helps. After my daughter goes to school (by 7:30am), I plop down at the computer and finish around 2pm so I can pick her up. Between 4-5, I generally check a few emails. Once she has gone to bed, I put in a few more hours. OK, it looks like I'm on Facebook, but I have to work on Facebook, too. There are two different Facebook pages that I manage online. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)
The challenging thing for me about working from home is that sometimes people might not really understand that you are, in fact, working. I think it's easy for them to assume you're not working too much (especially if your work is creative). Because I'm a freelancer, it might be unclear to others that I work-full time, even though I don't drive to an office or have a "main" job.
In the fall, I took an ecourse by Kelly Rae Roberts. I remember she mentioned that when it's her studio time, she turns off her phone and makes it clear to others that she's unavailable. It seems like that's a smart way to explain to friends and family that just because you don't sit in a building filled with lots of other people doesn't mean you work any less than those folks. My theory is that most people probably don't call their teacher friends or lawyer friends or secretary friends up too much during the day. They're at the office! Maybe a quick text here and there, but I think it's pretty safe to say that they'll understand if they don't get a text back right away.
When doing creative work, it seems that sometimes it's can be difficult for others to legitimatize the work, separate it from a hobby. Even if you're not getting paid a regular salary from the creative work you're doing, if you're working your bum off for it, it's work! You paint every day but maybe you're not selling your work regularly? It doesn't matter. You're a painter. You write everyday, even though you don't have a regular gig? It doesn't matter. You're a writer. It's taken me awhile to wrap my head around that. To own up to me being a "real" writer. I am.
Perhaps because it's taken me awhile to accept that I am a writer, I've somehow (inadvertently) devalued my own work and time.
I think, too, there is this traditional view of what constitutes work. My daughter remembers when I went to an office. She remembers hanging out in my very own office within the office. Now, my "office" is a puny desk in the living room near the television. If she's home and I'm writing, it doesn't register that I'm working. She thinks I'm just hanging out on the computer. One day, I'll have a door I can shut. Maybe even a sign that says "In" or "Out."
On that note, if you're working from home, too, I found this great little article providing tips for making it work. They're fun and I hope they're useful to you, too.
Do you wok from home? How do you manage others' expectations? What tips can you share?