I’ve seen a few blog posts lately about how to stay focused when you’re working from home. They’re always a bit humorous, since I’ve been working entirely from home for almost 5 years now. For me, telecommuting isn’t necessarily about discipline or sticking to schedules. It’s about know how and when you work best.
Here is my usual work schedule:
- 7:30am Wake up.
- Casually get to my computer and log in by 8am.
- 8-9am Go through all 3 email accounts, check FB/Twitter/blog list, check work and personal to-do list for the day, eat breakfast. All at my desk
- 9-10:30am This is where I get 90% of my work done, whether it is priority projects, email correspondence, processing, paperwork, social media, etc.
- 10:30-11:30am If I don’t have a meeting, this is when I move to the couch. Troy works exclusively on the couch, so this is where I get my “office interaction” and ambient TV noise while I work.
- 11:30am-12:30pm Lunch break: Eat, shower, go for a walk depending on how busy things are. Troy and I will go out to lunch twice a week, just to “get out of the office”.
- 12:30-3:30pm Unless I have a big project to work on, this time is usually spent doing odds and ends. In between work emails, planning and non-priority tasks, I’ll do laundry, start dinner, or work on a blog post. It’s a bit of a perk, especially since almost all of my work is done before 10:30.
- 3:30-5pm I will still keep my email open to field any late tasks or answer questions from clients in different time zones. If I’m feeling ambitious, I will start a project for tomorrow or update my to-do list.
- 5:30-7:30pm Gym, usually the only time of the day to really leave the house.
- 7:30-10pm Dinner, DVR, check emails on last time.
- Sleep by 11pm. Yes, this means I get over 8 hours of sleep every night.
Not too bad of a schedule. What I’ve learned through working from home, is that you have to be available more than the standard 9-5, but you don’t have to be “crazy busy”. I will check emails on weekends and while I’m traveling. I am still productive during the work day and everything still gets done. Work smarter, not harder.
Troy and I find that on the occasion when we do go into our actual offices, we get crazy busy. Whether it’s because we are interacting with more people or because people will schedule face-to-face meetings, I’ve found that when I’m in the workplace I am pushed to capacity and it’s a bit draining. The same amount of work gets done, but I don’t get winded working from home….
It’s definitely a different environment, and there are times when I absolutely need to get out of the house. We probably will not be working from home forever, but it’s given me/us a better sense of how we operate, how we can be effective/productive, and how we can more efficiently use our time.
Even if you’re not a telecommuter, imagine how many hours you could save by better knowing how you work. Whether it’s at night or super early in the morning, with loud music or absolute quiet, with little breaks or powering straight through, what works for you?