Working from/at home: How do you organise yourself?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Blue Velvet, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    For the next fortnight, I'm working at home but all my work emails are now automatically forwarded here to a new email address and inbox. I've also organised my iDisk for larger file transfers back to the office and to printers.

    I have the organisation phone list, the external contacts list, the archived work database, the entire photolibrary and logos folder and have imaged my Work in Progress folder (about 4gb) and dumped it on my HD.

    I've got my playlists sorted, the fridge is full, the dishes are done and I'm ready to kick some serious design butt...


    O god, it's hard to get motivated sometimes when you're slouching around, checking on MR and haven't been outside the front door for a couple of days...

    Do you work at home? How do you motivate yourself? What little routines or schedules do you have?
  2. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    I'm Mr. Mom by day, freelancer at nap time/night time. Occasionally I'll get some work done during the day when my son is happily playing with his toys. So I've had to make a supreme effort to use the short windows of opportunity to get things done and/or not get to bed early :D

    But he starts pre-school next week - which was precipitated from my receiving several large projects at once and I'll need to focus on my work. I have an office, so I can go and be a recluse as well and not worry about whether all the laundry is done, etc.

    Give yourself deadlines - it might help.

  3. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House

    But I have no fracking choice right now.

    Right. First thing is I have to go to the gym every morning at 5:30 and spend two hours sorting my head out, getting a good workout on and relaxing in the steamroom. That way, I have to shower, dress and get to work on time. I treat my drive from the gym to home like my commute. Otherwise, I end up working in my PJ's for two days straight without showering.

    Second, I always make a list of "minimum requirements" that have to get done every day on a small memo pad. This is anything from as small as going to check the post to making sure I FedEx an image delivery to the people I want to firebomb right now. If I am lucky, then I dig into my long-range list and get ahead of the game.

    Third - I make all my meals on the weekend and do all my chores on Sunday so I don't have to do it during the week.

    Fourth - I go on a 30-minute walk EVERY DAY with my camera and binoculars so I don't loose my effing mind.

    Fifth - If I really get behind and find myself here a lot, I delete the bookmark temporarily. This place is like crack. Sad. :eek:

    I so can't wait to get an office. Paying my entrepreneurial dues as it were right now.

    I'm hoping a couple of new ventures will get me out of the house and into the field daily soon.

    End of the day, you have to have a daily schedule and stick to it no matter what. Working at home requires immense discipline.
  4. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    I'm exactly the same if I need to take some work home with me to do on an evening or over a weekend – I get distracted very, very easily and it's always tempting to just take a quick look online and see what's going on, or take a little break even though it's only a quarter-of-an-hour since the last one...

    I wish I could offer you some fantastic advice that will transform you into a proper captain of industry for the next fortnight – but I can't, because in all honesty I'm really rubbish at buckling down to it. Sorry. Maybe draw up a strict (but realistic) list of targets for what you have to get done, and muster all your willpower to stick to it? Or try to organise your day as if you're at the office*– start working at the same time you would start in the studio, only take a break at the times you do at work... maybe sticking to the usual work routine will encourage a lack of slacking. Once you get it into your head you're at home and the normal rules don't apply you're a goner.

    Of course, if any of us spot you logged on here during the day we can always send you a very terse PM telling you to go away and get some work done! :D
  5. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Oh believe me... I have deadlines galore — which is why I'm doing some stuff tonight. But often, because time at home is more elastic, you can seem to find the time to procrastinate.

    The usual morning routine of eating, bathing, dressing and commuting can sometimes get you in the frame of mind to work; whereas not having to do these things can make you a little sloppy and ill-disciplined.

    I don't have the responsibility of kids and their routines to keep me in check.

    <activates interior drill-sergeant — BV, give me twenty!>
  6. Lau Guest

    Yeah, I always wanted to be a freelancer, until I realised that I would actually starve to death due to a complete lack of motivation. Until I found MR, I would have said that working a 9-5 was a good plan. But with MR? You're screwed. ;)

    Seriously, though, I would say that deadlines are a good plan. I know I suddenly become hugely motivated at exactly the moment I have just enough time to get something in before the deadline. Setting yourself deadlines is good, but the trouble is enforcing them. :eek:

    edit: Just read your post. Forget the above then....I read somewhere (The Guardian?) that someone took a walk round the block to start work, and then another to finish. It was her way of 'starting' and 'ending' work. Even if you don't go out, you could put on 'work' clothes, and then get changed into 'home' clothes when you finish.
  7. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Exactly why I had to start doing the gym every morning. Rob won't let me go into my office until I've at least gone to the gym, sat in the steamroom and showered.

    Edit - I hope I don't sound like I am lecturing, but this is my second work at home stint. I've nearly gone mad twice doing it. This is definitely the last. These are just my means for staying sane. Your mileage may vary. :D
  8. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I agree — think it's important to get out for a bit even if it's just to the supermarket to stock up on hard liquor... whoops, I mean essentials. :D

    Don't you dare! I'm almost always logged on when I'm awake— whether posting or not. I need it for my job! :eek:

    That's a pretty good idea — and I'm also waiting for dietcokevanilla to chime in with her wisdom, given that she's spent the last few months working from home.
  9. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Set the alarm so that you definitely get up - not for 8.55 but enough time for you to get up, get showered and put the morning coffee on.

    At least you'll have started the day in the right way. I find that if I start doing something in the morning after I get up, then I'm more likely to keep working. If I start off procrastinating, then I keep on doing it until the deadline hits... :eek:
  10. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yeah, these are wise words. Getting into a routine... still, sometimes I'm up at 5-6am so waking up is not usually a problem. I'm actually looking forward to the next two weeks. :eek:

    At least I can listen to my tunes more loudly than I can at the office. :)
  11. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    I've been working a bit from home lately. Got a couple of freelance jobs and most of it I did from home.

    The biggest problem I face when I'm home it procrastination. I tend to think "I'll do it in a bit..." then I'll check for more new posts here at MR, watch a TV show or DVD, make breakfast, lunch or dinner, wash or hang up some clothes, etc. etc... So, just as it was back in school/college/university, I do all the actual work the night before deadline... :eek:

    Other than that I like working from home... being able to do what I want when I want it is nice... but I would still prefer a regular job with regular hours at an office (or wherever, really) with at least a few colleagues to interact with socially and, even more important, professionally... I think I would be more productive in the right environment, h*** for a regular, well paing job I would even work in a Dilbertesque cubicle... ;)
  12. 3rdpath macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2002
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    great thread!

    working from home isn't quite the EZ street everyone imagines...

    my wife and i both work from home-we each have our own company so it gets pretty crazy. and has mr anderson said-throw in kids (we have 2) and life gets chaotic.

    i work best at night so i usually don't even try to work during the day-i just spend time with the kids and do housework. my wife, otoh, has to keep regular business hours so she keeps an office in hollywood, to meet clients and such, then zips home to work from the house in the afternoons. my office is in a seperate structure on the property so the late hours aren't a problem....except the kids get up early so my late night hours really take their toll. thank goodness for coffee.

    deadlines are my main motivation, though some of my projects are pretty exciting( to me...) so i don't need much motivation to work.
    i highly advise seperate home/work phone makes it much easier to answer only the calls you need.

    also be prepared for the extreme frustration and helplessness that comes from your internet connection or power going down. it doesn't happen much but when it does...

    the only thing i miss about an outside office is the social interaction. most of my clients use email and FTP so i never see them in person. at first it was cool but now it seems pretty isolating.

    i guess thats what the forums are for...
  13. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Hopefully we'll have none of that. :eek:


    Fortunately, it's only for a couple of weeks. I mean, I enjoy the company of many of my colleagues, but others I won't miss at all. I'll be here often I guess like now with the Creative Suite apps, Quark, Mail all tucked temporarily away in the dock as I'm working on the cover of a directory in Illustrator.

    I'm also in my dressing gown. :D
  14. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    Working from home can be difficult at first but you need to get into some sort of routine.

    You don't need to set your alarm too early, given that you're not commuting anywhere and you don't even *need* to get showered and dressed if you don't want to! I find it certainly does help me to wake up a bit by showering first, though I am guilty of sometimes working in my PJs in the morning and showering at lunchtime :eek:

    Have whatever you might need at the office to hand... e.g. coffee, water, stationery... you can't work effectively by scribbling on the back of used envelopes, or while suffering from caffeine withdrawal!

    It can get boring/lonely/quiet working by yourself all day... this is where MR/email/MSN/mobile phone is important ;)

    Motivation... hmmm... don't ask me!

    No, I'm not that bad... though I think all of us home-workers (and even office-based people) have at some time spent far too long looking at MR and not getting on with work. My work is SO boring, but I HAVE to deliver certain pieces of work by certain dates... sometimes I'm a bit lazy but I'll certainly make up for it nearer the deadline by working ridiculous hours until it's done (I'm an Application Developer for an investment bank btw).

    What I actually find worse than motivating myself to work, is motivating myself to do the household chores... it's so easy to think 'oh I'll be at home tomorrow so I'll do the vacuuming then...' !!

    You need to remember that if you're working in the office you'll be surrounded by other people so will spend a good deal of the day chatting, or in meetings, and you'll probably take a half-hour/hour for lunch... so make sure to take frequent breaks; you're perfectly entitled to this after all, or actually go out for a bit at lunchtime.

    I know some people who HATE working from home but I really enjoy it. Yes it's quiet but I don't mind it too much. I have my iTunes playing in the background, I'm also on email so still 'chatting' to friends... and of course I'm on here! I can pop out to the gym or the shops in the middle of the day and avoid having to go at the busy times. Overall I much prefer working from home to being in the office.

    Oh and... if I'm having the week from hell then I'll just say f**k it for an hour or two and jump on the bus to High St Ken for some retail therapy ;) :)
  15. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Nice post, thanks... and yes, I've already received one open lunch invitation from someone who works just around the corner (;))and if I'm going completely barmy then getting up to High St. Ken is also always an option. :)

    It's one thing poddling around on work tonight but it'll be interesting when the emails and calls come flooding in tomorrow.

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