Lots of people love the idea of working from home. With the daily 9-5 routine at a corporate cubicle, the luxury of working from home on your own business definitely represents “greener grass.” Well, before you decide to do it, you may want to hear my story. This story will also apply to those who are “working” from home to look for a job.
I have been working from home for the last two months, at least in my situation, it has not been super easy or productive. I finished my corporate contract at the end of last year and decided to take some time off from corporate life. I am using this time to put more sales effort towards our small business, a performance marketing agency, RWO Marketing, continue career coaching, and spend more time with my 3 years old daughter.
It sounds amazing, but having to do it from home has been a real challenge. I ended up maybe able to work for about 2 hours a day if I am lucky. Here is why
- Lack of routine or discipline to stick to one – No one expect to see me at 8:30am in the morning, so I am starting to sleep in later. I established a routine to spend time with my daughter first after I get up, so work ends up to not start until 11am or later – interrupted quickly by the need for lunch.
- Many temptations within 10 feet – TV (I will just watch one show while I am eating lunch), bed (oh I feel so tired today and it’s raining out, maybe I should take a nap so I am more clear headed), etc.. Does it sound familiar?
- Personal To Do’s are everywhere calling to me – Mail needs to be opened and bills needs to be paid (I should do that before I forgot. It’s tax season. I better prepare for that…) You get the idea and soon enough I am blending work stuff with personal stuff while I am on the computer. Not productive since it usually takes me 10 to 15 minutes to really focus in on what I am doing. If I keep changing from work to personal and back to work, my brain never really gears in
- My daughter wants to play – Kids don’t have any concepts of work time vs. playtime, nor should they. While my nanny tries to get Isabel out of the house for a few hours, when she is back, she wants to play with mommy. When I tell her I am working, she says okay and then 5 minutes later ask me if I am done. It’s super cute but distracting
- No co-workers – You may think finally I have no noise from others around me, I can focus. Well, actually we get a lot productive energy from others who work near us. Also, I miss the adult conversations that I used to have at breaks or during meetings with others. Too much silence and isolation is also not productive.
So what am I going to do about it? Well, I have tried to go to cafes to work. That has been okay, but since I am usually drinking tea or coffee at a cafe, I end up going to the bathroom a lot (and I have to take my stuff – computer, power cord with you). I have not completely given up on it – need to try to ask people to look after my stuff and step away. Still it’s awkward and the energy around me is mixed. Most are not working at the cafe but socializing and relaxing.
Now, I am trying a new approach. A friend recommended a shared work space location in downtown SF called NextSpace. I am sitting here right now trying it out with my free day pass. So far, it got all the elements of a good work space (wi-fi, instant co-workers, separation from my personal life). I have been able to leave my stuff and grab free tea, water, and take breaks. The only catch is it costs – about $20 a day, $175 for a 10 day pass or $285 for unlimited use per month. It’s not a lot for SF, but my dilemma now is should I spend the money if I am not yet generating income. Most likely my answer will be yes as it’s only been an hour and I finally wrote this post that has been in my head for the last two weeks. Besides, time is money and I am wasting valuable time at home. If I can put in a good 5 to 6 hours here, then I will have better quality time with my daughter at home.
I share this story with you because I don’t think i am alone in feeling this way. If you are looking for a job and has been unsuccessful doing it from home, perhaps one answer is get out of the house. Time is your enemy – the longer you are out of work the harder it may be to find work, so perhaps paying for a shared work space is worth it. You may even get a job from one of your “co-workers.” Click here for a descriptions of the members of NextSpace. If you are doing your own business, then it also makes sense to get out of the house. This way you can network with others, put in a days work and go home to relax and have some separation.
If you live in SF and want to try NextSpace, tell them I sent you. You will get a free day pass to try it and then $50 off the first month you become a member. Here is to more productivity and work life balance. Good luck out there!