Working from Home: A Survival Guide

Working from home...sounds like an impossible dream, doesn't it? A life with no alarm, working on your own clock, no boss nagging you, nobody chewing loudly in the neighboring cubicle, no person to avoid in the elevator and no one to ever have awkward bathroom conversation with. Working from home is what I wanted, it is what I needed. But I will tell you first-hand it is not as luxurious as it sounds. Working from home can make you crazy. This is my survival guide to all those working from home who suffer from cabin fever, those who are considering making the jump, and those just curious about their options.

We can start with the pros with working from home, besides the ones listed above, it is truly awesome knowing everyday I can change my schedule around (sometimes) if needed. I can go to lunch whenever I want to, I can slowly wake up, I can wear what I want! (and yes this sometimes means pajamas all day), and when I don't feel like doing my hair or makeup? Top knot it is! Working for yourself means you get to take vacations when you want to, you can have unlimited sick days, and you don't have to ask for Christmas Eve off. With all this freedom, without proper determination and a solid work ethic it is easy to get lost. Working for yourself doesn't mean you get to work whenever you want, it means you get out what you put in. Period. 

After a week of working from home (for those of you just stumbling upon this I am a photographer who edits around the clock), I started getting pretty bad cabin fever. I tend to always have Netflix of HBO on when I'm editing and sometimes even sit on my bed staring back and forth between my laptop and TV screen for hours at a time. This became a problem. The first thing I learned if I ever wanted to survive this lifestyle is NEVER WORK ON YOUR BED. Seems so easy, so comfy, especially if you are working out of a tiny city apartment, but it's dangerous. Soon the lines between relaxation and work, sleep and play, get blurred making it hard to relax even when your work is actually through. The second thing I learned is (if you're like me at least) you can't wear pajamas everyday. There are some weeks I hardly leave my house, and if I am not planning on going out why bother wear uncomfortable clothes? Well the truth is after a few days of dressing like I was incapable of finding matching socks I looked in the mirror feeling sad, ugly, and just lazy. I stared and said "who the hell am I?" It's hard to put into words but making an effort to look somewhat decent isn't just something you should do for other people, but something you should do for yourself. I love getting ready, doing my makeup and picking out my outfit, therefore when I am no longer doing those things I sometimes lose myself. I'm not saying you should get your eyeliner just right, I'm saying invest in some cute comfy clothes, don't just wear your boyfriend's oversized Ts and pajama shorts. It helped me at least. I tend to just wear a sports bra and leggings most days I'm not planning on leaving the house so rather than continue down that road I found some my Calvins in my possession and it was a match made in heaven. Perfect blend on comfy and cute. I'd highly recommend. 

Thirdly, and this one is really important to me, be active! One of the best benefits from working from home is you can go work out whenever it fits your clock. I have never been able to work in the early a.m therefore having a full-time job in an office made an active life hard for me. I would say I was going to go to the gym after work but by the time 5 rolled around I was hungry, tired, and just wanted to go home. Working at home means you can workout at 2pm and it doesn't even matter if you start working again all sweaty or with wet hair and no makeup. Not only is being active something I personally need on a regular basis, it helps get you out of the house or at least out of your home office which is so important to keeping your cabin fever underway. 

Lastly, make good food. Rather than take a lunch break just to stick something in a microwave, make something! It doesn't have to be a gourmet meal but getting up to do something in your home, that's home-like, helps separate your work life from your home life. I always look forward to making a good meal after staring at my computer screen for 5 hours. Unlike normal workplaces, working from home means little social reaction with actual people (I'm trying extra hard to become that crazy cat lady), so you have to find things to do to take it's place.