As mentioned in an earlier post, I have spent a lot of time over the last several years working alone at home.
While I love it, it’s definitely not for everyone. In this post, I wanted to have a look at some more questions you need to ask yourself if you are thinking about leaving your corporate environment and working alone at home.
Let’s dive into the questions.
Can you discipline yourself?
How well will you work (honestly) without a manager or boss to report to?
If you are a freelancer or a consultant, you will most likely have a lot of different bosses and/or clients to keep happy. With those clients come conflicting deadlines.
Your clients won’t however be sitting next to you in your home office making sure you get the job done and helping you prioritize your workload. Nor will they be proactively chasing your next project for you.
Starting your own business will most likely chasing new clients and buyers (depending what your business is naturally). Work doesn’t just arrive on your desk as it did back in your corporate role (which is a positive or negative point,depending on how you look at it). You may have to hunt down work and pounce on opportunities.
Prioritising your workload and disciplining yourself is completely in your hands.
Can you stay motivated?
Some days at work feel like you’re firing on all cylinders and on those days you get a lot of high quality work done. Your contribution for the day feels like 110%. On other days – not so much.
On those low output days, you wonder where all of your energy and enthusiasm went. You struggle along, getting a few things done but it’s hardly your best effort.
Generally speaking in the corporate world, we still get paid for low motivation days.
As a freelancer or consultant working from home that may not be the case.
It took me a long time to come to grips with times of low motivation. Having a clear plan of what I needed to do each day and knowing how long I had to complete each task certainly helped. Some days though that knowledge simply wasn’t enough to keep me motivated.
How will you deal with distractions at home?
Depending on your situation, you may have to deal with a variety of distractions. If you work from home and take care of young children you are going to have to become an expert at dealing with distractions (not to mention an expert as prioritising). Not having children myself, I can personally shed any light on this one.
When I first starting working from home, my one and only rule was the television is not to be turned on during work hours. I broke that rule at lunch time the first day. While I don’t have the television on while I am writing, I do tend to turn it on when I stop for lunch. The key is to make sure it gets turned off again.
As we all know, television can be a massive time waster, so if you go down the road of turning the TV on during the day, keep yourself on a short leash. Only have the television on for a short allotted time, then back to work.
Housework can also be distracting. If you are a particularly tidy person – how will you cope with working when the washing is piling up in the laundry? Will you have a problem getting to work when there are household chores to be done? (Anyone who knows me understands this isn’t a problem I suffer from. I’m Little Miss Messy which brings with it it’s own set of problems!).
Perhaps the problem is you are not actually home alone? If you have a spouse or family member in the house with you all day, it may take more determination to lock yourself in your office to work.
It goes without saying you should have an office or a place to call your own. Working from the kitchen table while your partner is going about their day will be too distracting.
Discipline, motivation and distraction can be some of the toughest issues to deal with when working alone.
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Read Next – Working Alone – Is it for you? Part 3