Working at home has a lot of appeal especially for moms. You can stay home with your kids, you don’t have to commute for work, you don’t have to get dressed in work clothes, you can have a flexible work schedule, and you may even be able to work for yourself!
While all of these things are true, they don’t tell the whole story. Working from home is not for everyone. There are certain characteristics you have to have in order to succeed in the unique environment of your home.
Do You Have Self Discipline?
This is probably the biggest indicator of success when working from home. You have to have the mindset that you are at work. If you don’t treat your job like a job, you will fail.
Working from home gives you a lot of freedom that many people want but few can handle. You have to actually get your daily tasks done even if you have kids at home, or your favorite show is on, or you or the kids don’t feel well.
You likely won’t have someone checking in with you on a daily basis to know if your tasks are getting done. So you will need to have the motivation to get your work done without someone telling you what to do.
If you have an off day and didn’t get as much done as you wanted, are you able to come back the next day and work twice as hard to make up for lost time? In order to be successful when you work at home you have to be laser focused. Yes bad days happen to everyone, that’s normal. But overall, you need to be able complete your tasks on time.
When I first began working from home I had just had my first baby. I worked part time in an office and part time at home. Initially I thought it would be really easy to get my work done at home but it ended up being a lot more difficult than I thought.
My baby ended up never wanting to be put down, which made it awkward to work from a computer. I also found I had less motivation at home than when I was in the office. I think it was because I knew when I went to the office I was there to get as much work done as I could. But when I was home I was used to chillin with my baby, watching TV, doing some cleaning. It didn’t feel like a place of work and because I didn’t have work-minded habits, it was a hard routine to get into.
However, because I really wanted to be with my baby and I knew I still had to work, I wanted to be successful working from home. So I became disciplined and changed my habits. I made it so no matter if I was carrying my baby, feeding her, or putting her to sleep, I was still getting my work done. If I had to stop I still stayed in the work mindset and got right back to where I left off. I also kept my normal work hours. So if I got to the office at 8am and left at 12pm, I worked right up until 5 or 6 pm at home.
Can You Stay On Task?
So maybe you have a huge desire to work from home and you’re disciplined enough to set aside time when you work at home.
But what happens when you inevitably get interrupted? Interruptions happen all the time when you work outside the home but you’re likely to get back into your groove more quickly because you are there solely to do work.
However at home the interruptions have a higher chance of derailing you from your work.
I have two jobs I work from home and I also have two young children who are home with me. They almost always need something from me, or there is some sort of “emergency” that they need to come get me for.
I’ll be honest it can be hard to get them to understand you are working and you can’t play with them right now or that they will have to work out their own problems.
It can also be hard to sit down and get back into your rhythm or mindset of working after an interruption but you have to do it. Otherwise you won’t get your tasks done. Or it will take you much longer to get them done thus making you inefficient with your work.
If you have kids at home with you, it will be imperative that you have both the necessary flexibility and routine for your work. You need to be flexible in knowing that situations arise and you won’t always be able to do your work when you planned. But you also need a routine so your kids know what to expect and it’s one you can generally stick to.
Are You Willing To Make The Sacrifices?
Sacrifices will have to be made too. Most of my best work happens during nap time and late evenings. I would love to be watching TV or entertaining friends but I chose to work from home so I need to make the necessary sacrifices to get my jobs done.
There are sacrifices you will make when it comes to your kids or household obligations. Oftentimes you will have to tell your kids they have to play alone or maybe they will watch more TV than you would care to admit. But these times when your kids are playing alone or occupied with a movie are a good chunk of time you can use to get your work done.
You will have to prioritize work over some household obligations. Like is it really necessary to organize your kitchen and living room or is that time better spent completing your work. Trust me I get it. I want to organize many rooms of my house but more often than not, if it isn’t a household chore that has to be done, work wins.
So how do you know if working from home is right for you?
- Are you able to map out your day?
- Can you schedule out your tasks for the week and complete them without someone checking in with you?
- Can you successfully manage your time (even when you have other things or people vying for your attention)?
- Can you jump back into your work after being interrupted?
- Are you willing to make sacrifices to figure out what routine works best for you?
If you answered yes then working at home may be a great option for you! You know that while working from home has its benefits, it is still a job and you have the characteristics needed to be successful.
I’d love to hear what tips you have that make you successful if you work from home!