Working from home. It’s out there. Or maybe in this case we can say it’s “in here!”
Propelled by the Corona virus, it’s now the world hottest topic and apparently the sexiest as well.
Because I know how hot sex sizzles and then it fizzles, I wasn’t planning on “getting into this fray” as my grandmother would say. But if I have to do one more eye roll, I’m really scared my eyes will stick in the back of my head.
You see, I have been working from my home for about 20 years now. And when I hear some of the advice which is given about working from home, well…my eyes don’t wait on me, they just roll themselves.
So, I’m breaking my silence…
Not to undermine any of the information out there, oh no! Neither do I want to discourage you from working from your home.
Rather, I just want you to be aware of certain things, that you don’t even know you should know, as you set out on this journey. That’s why I’m sharing MY top 10 things you need to know to help you manage this serious change.
So let’s dive right in…
1. How you come to be working from home matters
Yeah…it really does.
All my life, I’ve always dreamed of working for myself but, fear and doubt prevented me. About 20 years ago, my high-flying job disappeared, so I decided that for the rest of my life, home was where I would be working from.
But home wasn’t originally intended to be my place of work. And it certainly wasn’t ready for me to be working from there!
You see, up until then, work took place from many locations in the Caribbean, Europe and the USA. Home was not even ready for me to live there, far less work from there.
So I struggled. With everything. Productivity, focus, when to eat, what to wear, which books to read, how to answer the phone, and the list went on…
That was not the case with my friend and colleague.
He decided to “fire de wuk” and set up his own business, operating from home. He was able to renovate a room in his home to create an office. Added to this, he had a dedicated line, an assistant and set office hours.
He was able to hit the ground running while I had stumbled along like a certified drunk.
You see, how you come to be working from home really matters.
I find that when you make the conscious decision to do so, the journey and the process is completely different from when you have no choice. And unfortunately, COVID-19 has left many of you small business owners with little choice.
When this is the case, you just have to embrace it as fast as you can. You have to make the mental and emotional shifts that you have to and get back to making the money you want to.
However, how you come to be working from home has no bearing on the outcome. I am still in business. my friend is not.
2. You do not need a separate home office
If you have a room to dedicate to an office, congrats!
This is a recommendation I see all the time. But unless you live in some kind of mansion or have access to a deep well of renovation money, this is not a viable option.
What you need instead is to work with what you have. It might be half of your dining room table, a corner in your bedroom or some space on your kitchen counter.
If you are not fortunate to live alone, you also need a good pair of headphones and for your family to understand this is how you will be working going forward.
Look, here’s my work station, in a strategic corner of my living room. Over the years I have set up this station in several locations.
I have to tell you that I have made good money from here in good times. And equally, I have made little or no money from right here in challenging times.
Now for those of you who are not as primitive as me, here are some practical accessories and gadgets that can really enhance how you work from home as well as your productivity.
3. Remember why you’re at home
Let me remind you. It’s to WORK! So how come everything else becomes more important?
I struggle with this for years. I would wake up with my plans in place from the night before, ready to be super productive. But then after 3 days of rain, the sun would be shining brightly. So I just had to do some laundry. (In the Caribbean we hang our clothes outside to dry.)
By the time I am finished, I am tired and I promise my carefully crafted schedule that it will happen tomorrow…
You cannot achieve your financial and peace-of-mind goals with this approach. You have to make work your primary focus and fit everything else around it. Productivity Author Darius Foroux calls it a “work first” mindset.
And let me hasten to add, I’m not suggesting you ignore the other important facets of your life.
Remember, a “work first” mindset will look different for each of us, and that’s alright. For example, I don’t have set “work hours.” I set targets or deadlines that I have to meet and I just meet them. I’m super flexible and super focused at the same time.
What we shouldn’t do, is to use our individual circumstances as a reason not to put work first. You’re not at home to exclusively deal with kids or look after your aging parent.
So make the shifts in your life you have to, so that you can put work at the centre of your…well…work. The earlier in the game, the better.