Working from home without losing your mind… Part Two

Last week, I wrote a survival guide for working from home, and I truly appreciate everyone’s positive responses and enthusiasm.

But, after I reread it over the weekend, I realized I missed a few important things. I forgot to mention what I do after my deadlines. I talked about getting things done around the house, about creating a routine that works, and even setting boundaries, but I didn’t talk about all the absolute fun I get to have.

So, here’s my new list, the one where I remind you – and me – why working from home is so very wonderful.

1) Never feel guilty for taking advantage of your free time. If you’re like me, you often feel guilty for squeezing in an episode of Astronaut Wives after you finish a project. If you’re like me, you feel like you should be doing something productive, even if you have a completely free afternoon.

Well, when you work from home, you must enjoy those extra moments. Those moments are the silver lining that separate your at-home job with sitting in an office….and I for one am going to enjoy them. So, if you finish your work early and the beach is calling your name, go. If you’re dying to read the next chapter in the book on your nightstand, curl up and enjoy. Take advantage of the moments of freedom.

For me, these moments are the reason I pursued a stay-at-home career to begin with. I wanted to be able to babysit my siblings, or take one of my grandmothers out to lunch, or even something as simple as taking my dog for a walk. The freedom of being able to go to the dentist without having to schedule Paid Time Off is absolutely life-changing. It all adds up.

2) Foster your social side. If you work from home as part of a full- or part-time job, chances are you’ll have tons of conference calls, virtual meetings, and some semblance of office banter, even from your remote location.

If you’re self-employed like me, you must make an effort to be social. I don’t receive a regular stream of emails – in fact, most of my work goes like this: I receive an email detailing an assignment, I ask a few questions, and then I send it back when it’s completed. If I’m working on an extended project, that may mean I won’t email anyone for work for a day or two. When I was working at my corporate job, I didn’t go more than an hour without sending an email – ever!

It’s amazing how this lack of personal contact can add up over time. You can start to feel stir-crazy, lonely, bored, antsy…. All because you’re missing a fundamental, natural part of your daily routine: human interaction. Make time for a little face-to-face time with your loved ones. Text your bestie, call your mom, chat with your dog…. (I can’t be the only one who does that…. Right??)

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When I reread my first post, I realized I missed the magic of working from home. Sure, having a routine has changed me from procrastinator extraordinaire to someone who actually enjoys getting their work done early…. But that’s not why I wake up Monday mornings without a sense of dread. I work hard, I take advantage of my free time, I play with my dog, and I can usually squeeze in the latest episode of Mad Men (literally crying to myself as I write this because I forgot it’s over…), all without stepping foot inside an ugly, gray, sad little cube.