Homeworking: From Over 2 Years of Experience

Originally published at www.linkedin.com.

“Hey! What do you do in life?”

“I’m a copywriter”

“Where do you work?”

“I work from home”

“Oh…I couldn’t do that!”

That’s what I usually hear from people. “I couldn’t do that…”. Apparently, staying at home means eating a lot of food, watching Game of Thrones, and taking naps. I mean, come on! That just doesn’t happen. I believe the reason behind these pretexts is what professor Bloom found in a study reported in the Harvard Business Review, “younger workers whose social lives are more connected to the office tend to not want to work from home as much”. He’s right, I do not have a social life from 8am to 5pm, but I make sure to have one outside my home office.

Spending time with my family, hanging out with friends, meeting people with the same interests as me, and capoeira have given me a life surrounded by awesome people — my life isn’t just a laptop, books, and coffee. Luckily, a part of me has an outgoing soul and the other loves writing in solitude. I know what you’re probably thinking. The word solitude sounds a bit intimidating, but that’s probably because the term is often seen as undesirable and depressing.

As I’ve learned along the road, solitude is great for reading a text out loud and truly getting the sense of it, concentrating on how words sound together, and catching my own typos. Some periods of solitude are necessary for most copywriters. I generally work from home on my own, but when there’s someone around I prefer to lock myself in a room because otherwise, I would get distracted and would undoubtedly start chatting. But even the most solitary hermit deserves to go to a café and to have some background noise to avoid getting bored of a monotonous routine. It’s awesome to escape from the home office once in a while.

Writing as a full-time job requires complete dedication and focus on a single task in silence. I’ll give you an example: some months ago, I thought it would be fun to listen to a radio interview while working, but my inspiration flew away. Conclusion: Avoid multitasking! Sitting alone in a quiet place for hours is not that difficult, the really tough part is eliminating some of the most common sources of distraction. Yes, I’m talking about Facebook and WhatsApp. So, to avoid wasting time on social media, I stopped checking my phone too often and closed my personal social media networks from my computer and smartphone. The result? A huge increase in productivity.

When it comes to performance, we are kings. According to the same study featured above, calmer working conditions, reduced breaks and sick days have enabled surveyed home- workers to increase their performance by 13% over the course of nine months. And we’re not robots. In the writing world, it’s normal to be stuck for ideas on some days and have others when no one can stop me from typing; whatever the case, I am fully aware of the average time I spend on each project. This means that I can keep track of my time so that I can improve my performance the next month.

Home working requires real discipline. I follow my schedule and the best part is that I am still able to break it. Even though routines can be tedious, they’re extremely helpful when working from home. I commonly get up around 6:30am, try to meditate, make myself some breakfast and eat it while catching up on the news. I shower, dress and am ready to work by 8:00am. Having a routine has helped my brain get both in working mode as well as relaxing mode.

Not only do I have a schedule, I also have a dedicated work space because (from my experience) it’s a terrible idea to work in bed. Believe me. Even though it’s tempting to use pajamas the whole day when you’re at home, I do not fall into the trap. I honestly do not wear any makeup or do my hair, but I do take off my pajamas and put on some “yoga” pants and a hoodie to work as comfortably as possible.

The only “weird” thing about working from home is that I feel different from people my age. I mean, young professionals have to wake up pretty early, take the bus, go to work, greet colleagues and even arrive home late because of a last-minute meeting. Well, that’s definitely not my case. My routine comes with its own challenges, but I focus on enjoying its benefits without sacrificing my personal satisfaction.

Home-working can be either awesome or awful. It can end up as a well-managed balanced life or as a myriad of frustrations. It actually depends on what side of the coin you look at and how you handle the whole situation. So, if you ever want to join the club of homeworkers, you need to do your part to make it work. Period.