A lot of well-meaning people, especially on the Internet, will tell you that if you want to be successful at it, you should treat working from home very much like working in an office: keep a regular schedule, get dressed as if you were going to work, minimize interruptions, etc.
What? Are you kidding? That’s the whole point of working from home! If I wanted a job, I’d have a job – I don’t want to just make my own job, at home!
I say, celebrate the fact that you are working from home. Relish in it. Here are a few ideas on how:
Sleep late. Sleeping in isn’t just for Saturdays any more. Turn off your alarm clock permanently. Don’t schedule meetings before noon, and there’s really no reason to get up unless you want to. You don’t have to work 40-hour weeks any more, and even if you want to, there’s absolutely no law that says you can’t do part of that in the evenings or even late at night if you prefer. Getting plenty of sleep is essential to healthy brain function, physical health, and emotional well-being. It will do far more for your success than an extra hour or two a day of grinding away while half-braindead. If you want to get up earlier, go to bed earlier. You’re free to do that, too.
Work in your underwear. Of course, if you have a house full of kids, that could be awkward, but even so, be comfortable. Wear your favorite ratty t-shirt and gym shorts or sweatpants. Seriously, if you need a button-down shirt to be motivated to work, maybe you shouldn’t be working from home in the first place. Just keep one handy (and pressed) in case you have to do a video call.
Keep your door open. Whether you have a spouse, kids, or just pets in your home, leave your door open except when you absolutely need privacy or quiet. Really, are they taking time away from your work, or is your work taking time away from them? Talk to your spouse and kids about it, ask them to be considerate, but in the end, you’ll be glad you were far more available to them than if you were commuting to an office every day.
Be available in the day. An extension of the open-door policy is that you can go out of your office during the day, too. Go to parent-teacher meetings, homeschooling activities. Take a 3-hour lunch with a friend in from out-of-town. Make a quick run to the store for a missing dinner ingredient. And every time you do, remind yourself that you couldn’t do that if you had a traditional job.
Be organized, but flexible. If you do a lot of pre-planned meetings, obviously you have to keep a schedule. Beyond that, you really don’t. Some people find it helpful to set aside blocks of time for specific tasks, but if that doesn’t really work for you, don’t feel bad. There are other ways to be productive without being highly scheduled. Think more of managing your actions than managing your time. One of the simplest approaches is The Rule of 3: for every day, week, and year (you could add month in there if you want), set 3 things you want to achieve – your MITs (Most Important Tasks). You’re of course free to do more, if you feel like it, but if you’re consistently accomplishing three important things every day, week, month, and year, you’re going to be successful.
Cook. You could save hundreds of dollars a year and eat healthier by cooking breakfast and lunch at home rather than eating out. Sure, some people consistently take their lunch (about 30% of Americans), but most eat lunch out 2-3 times per week. Factor breakfast (especially coffee) in and you can save a ton by eating home-cooked meals. It’s not impossible to do if you commute to an office, but it’s a whole lot easier at home.
Write off everything. Take the home office deduction. Meet people at the coffee shop and save your receipts. Track your mileage – if your home office is used exclusively for business purposes, you can deduct all your business mileage.
Work outside. When the weather’s nice, go sit on the porch or the patio and enjoy it. Take long phone calls in the hammock or even the pool, if you’ve got one. Take the kids to the park and set up at a picnic table. The world is your office.
Take random days off. Don’t ask anyone. Don’t plan ahead. Some day that you don’t have any meetings scheduled and just really don’t feel like working…don’t work! Go see a movie. Take a drive. Take the kids to the zoo. Catch up on a TV show. Read a book. Do whatever you feel like.
Gloat a little. Share about your awesome work-at-home lifestyle on social media. Be subtle about it, not obnoxious. Let’s face it, your friends all wish they could live like you do. When they ask, just remind them that they, too, could live that life, and you’d be happy to help show them how.
Working at home in network marketing, you have freedom that most people only dream of. You don’t have to be making a fortune to enjoy it. The lifestyle is one of the biggest benefits of being your own boss. Think of that freedom as a muscle, and give it some exercise!