What I Have Learned About Working From Home

by Elena on March 28, 2012 in Career Transition

What I have Learned about Working From Home | Ciao MomTwo weeks at home gave me a unique view into the working at home life.  Well ok, technically, I was at home recovering from my surgery for two weeks, but I could not help but feel like this was my “dry run” at what life will be like when I join the forces of WAHM’s everywhere.  Two weeks, at home, with nothing to do…how could I not be productive?  I was not allowed to run errands, to do any lifting, to workout, or do anything other than recover. What better a time to try on my new WAHM hat? Right?  I even had my new office, how could I not take advantage of this chance?

The truth is that I was somewhat productive. I did get writing done, and a few things set into motion. But? I also really needed to RECOVER. So I did.  But somewhere along the way, I also learned a few things, that I feel like will help as I make this career transition into being a WAHMaven (because we are mavens really aren’t we?).

Lessons Learned from my WAHMaven Dry Run

  1. The hours between bus pick up and drop off move at LIGHTENING speed.  You would think that eight hours is a lot of time. It is not.
  2. Working at home means sticking to a schedule. I had read about the need for a schedule in a great post by Kate Canterbury for Better in Bulk, with five tips to work at home successfully, but I had not FULLY understood. Now I get it.
  3. Connecting and developing relationships on Twitter takes time. And effort. And more time.  I see myself needing to schedule in twitter (and Facebook, and Pinterest…and who knows what else) into my daily schedule. (see #2)
  4. Music keeps me on track. I have always played music when my students are writing or working, but I realized that it is good for me too. I tend to jump around less (from writing a post to checking my twitter stream, and so on) when I have music on.
  5. I need a master list of sites/groups/boards that I want (or need) to check in with each day. From LinkedIn to Facebook groups to boards that list freelance opportunities, I tend to forget about all of the places that I “should” be maintaining a presence. Of course, this also means creating another calendar appointment.
  6. There is nothing wrong with asking for feedback or help from a mentor or friend. There are people that have been working from home for a long time, or if nothing else, longer than I have. While I want to respect their time, they have probably learned a lesson or two, and in most cases, are willing to share. Asking for their opinion or what they might do in a particular situation as long as you do not monopolize their time is more than appropriate. We have all been new at something at some point in their lives. One day, the newbie becomes the veteran, and will reciprocate by helping someone else in the same way.

Two weeks at home and six lessons learned. That is not bad as a start. I am sure that I will learn many more when my WAHMaven status becomes full time after the school year ends.

What about you? What tips or lessons have you learned about working from home? Or….do you have any questions?

Ciao Mom

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Lattejunkie March 28, 2012 at 12:56 am

I’m glad you’ve recovered well and I look forward to following your journey to WAHMaven…

Jennifer Cullen March 28, 2012 at 6:55 am

Sticking to a schedule is key for me. Another lesson? When I work from home, I don’t answer my phone. Unless, of course, it’s my kids’ school calling because someone has a fever. Or a broken limb!

Thanks for the tips Elena. Glad you are feeling better.

Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama March 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

I have no doubt that before too long, you’ll be a WAHMaven and if you need me, I’m always am just a Skype chat away! :)

Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife March 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

I’ve been working from home for my employer for almost three years now. It is so easy to get into bad habits. My biggest time suck is 1.) not having an agenda for the day and 2.) having way too many things to distract me.

I know I need to get certain items done on a daily report everyday, I need to return phone calls, and then I’ll work on other incidentals that pop up over the course of the day.

I recently found that if I keep Twitter, Facebook, and my Google Reader closed until after I’m done the big items on my agenda I get through my list much faster.

Lolli @ Better in Bulk March 28, 2012 at 9:28 am

I’m still learning. Some days are better than others. I love that I can be flexible with my work at home job, but I also need to regularly remind others and myself that the working hours should be respected. And I’m right there with you–the school hours fly by SO fast!

Angela March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

One of the things I need to do is look objectively at my social media time. This may seem silly, but I need to be a little stricter with myself about “social” social media versus “productive” social media. I tend to let the lines blur and get sucked into a rabbit hole, even with good intentions!

Stephanie Goetz March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

After years in an office environment, I love, LOVE, LOVE working form home.
What I have found is that working from “home” really means working from any and all of the following: car, coffee shop, car, playground, parking lots, waiting rooms, did I mention my car?

With the flexibility to work “at home”, it really means “work anywhere you damn well please”. This is great for anyone trying to also meet the needs of others or raising a family, but I’ve found it’s also, in many ways, more demanding.

I had to learn the lesson: Just because I “CAN” work anywhere, doesn’t mean that I “SHOULD”. Your point of setting a schedule is spot-on. That way you won’t let “working from home” morph into “never NOT working”! Love your post.

Frelle March 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Thank you for sharing your tips and what works for you … and validating that the time between drop off and pick up moves at lightening speed!! #zoom

Kelly March 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm

You are sooooo right! Time between bus and home does go at lightning speed!

I have to learn to build in “laundry time” and meal prep time into some of my days. I think if I scheduled that it would be better….hmmm….thanks for helping me with that! 😉

I know you will be great working from home.

Paula @ Simply Sandwich March 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I love these observations. I work for my hubby at home and I HAVE to stick to a schedule or else the least little distraction will send me In a completely other direction. I do make my schedule for the next day and if I finish my tasks, I reward myself with a little blog reading! :)

Leighann April 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I have a hard time working from home. I prefer an office because I can’t concentrate when I’m home.

Missy | The Literal Mom April 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Totally agree that time FLIES during the school day. My youngest is in full day this year also and people are like, “I’ll bet you have so much time on your hands.” I’m like, “not hardly!”

And yes, a schedule is mandatory!

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