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Working From Home For Newbies

Hello again friends, it is day six hundred forty two, what's that? Sorry, it is day twenty of isolation, and I'm chuckling at stories from many of you about how hard it's been to work from home. Kids demanding attention, significant others walking around in pajamas or sweats, and an inability to self motivate, all seem to be the trouble dujour.

As someone who has worked from home for over twenty years, I can tell you that you need to set a routine, and stick to it, or nothing will get done. In the early days, I would find myself cleaning out the pencil drawer, or rewiring the computer cables, or organizing my clothes by product and color, and not doing what I was supposed to be doing, which was working.

Believe me it is easy to let work slip when you don't have Bob from marketing coming by to talk about what the Bears did Sunday. I know a couple of people that tried in the past to work from home, and just could not do it successfully, and ultimately they went back to an office environment. For me I figured out I needed to set a routine.

Everyday I would get up, eat breakfast, and then shower, shave, and get dressed like I was going into the office, sit at my desk and start playing solitare just like I did in the office. After an hour I would call friends and chat about the Bears game, go get more coffee, and get back at it. After about three years, and two jobs later, I decided maybe I needed a better plan.

The point is, that you need to make yourself work when you are at home because there are so many distractions. It is hard, but if you just set your mind to being at work, it actually becomes routine after a pretty short time and things start to get done.

What makes me chuckle, is stories of people not understanding that there were going to be distractions at home. It's like a total surprise that the kids want your attention, the dog thinks it's play time, and the TV keeps interrupting your train of thought. Lock your door, turn the volume on the radio louder, move the beer into the mini fridge under your desk, and problems just disappear. Easy peasy.

When I ultimately left corporate life, and started my own business, I still worked at home but my travelling went from 200+ days and nights per year to about three nights a year. This created a new set of problems, and that was me actually being at home working, and not being gone working at home.

I'll never forget Linda walking into my office after about three months of me being home 24/7, and dropping my suitcase next to my desk. I asked her what that was for and she politely, but firmly, told me that she didn't care where I went, but that I needed to go somewhere for three days. I thought she was kidding until I heard the hammer click open.

Since we cannot, "just go somewhere for three days", right now, we need to make sure we are social distancing ourselves from the family, especially the significant other, at all times. It is better for them, and you, if you spend as little time as possible talking to each other about anything more than letting each other know the dogs need to go out, or the kids are playing in the toilet again.

Take turns going to the store so each of you gets a break from the house, and each other. Lock the dogs in the kitchen with plenty of water and blankets and they'll be fine. Do not confuse this option with your children or you might find yourself on breaking news on CNN, and with a police presence in the house.

If you practice safe home working, and social distancing, you will not have to worry about things like this happening to you unexpectedly.

Honey, is that you?

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