Working from home is a big goal for many Tyrant Troops. It’s something we talk about all the time as if it’s a kind of living-room-located heaven on Earth.
But I have to be honest and say that it’s not all sleep-ins and midday movies. Sure there are perks but you’ll also notice a few downsides.
The problem with working from home is…
This guy always wants to play. He’ll hide in buckets and attack me or even bring his little bell into the room and drop it right by my feet.
The sad part? I can’t seem to resist. A fleeting moment of weakness on my part can lead to half an hour of playing with the cat.
If I manage to resist he just sits in weird positions and stares at me mentally reciting, “Whoodja good boy den?” hoping I’ll hear his thoughts.
At least that’s what I imagine he’s doing.
God help me if I ever have kids.
When you work at home there is always something that needs doing. There are always heaps of dishes or cleaning (even if there isn’t) and you’ll likely find that your husband or wife will sometimes inadvertently give you all of chores just because you’re the one at home all day.
When you really need to get down to work you’ll often find your mind just manages to remember a bill that needs paying or a doormat that needs to be banged out on a tree before it gets too dusty.
Remember when I told you that you shouldn’t read blogs because you probably should just be working on your material instead? Yeah, well, books are no different.
It’s amazing how many times I’ll quickly look up a reference only to find I’m negotiating with myself for just a few more minutes research time.
I’ll just pop down to the shop and get myself a Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee. That’ll wake me up so that I can work more efficiently.
Oh, I may as well watch some news on the TV while I drink it. That way I won’t feel like going on Reddit or reading news blogs.
What! The world is ending on the 21st of December?
There is a zombie apocalypse taking place in Miami?
I’d better research as much as I possibly can because it will decrease my latent anxiety and genuinely help me survive if these things actually take place.
I deserve to go to the beach today. I worked really hard this week.
This beach has actually been voted the most beautiful in the world and is a short drive from my house. Productivity died there.
Distractions and over-rewarding
You see the main problem with working from home is that it is really easy to get distracted when you aren’t stressed out of your mind trying to deal with everything that a self-employed person has to deal with.
Putting it off is just so easy. You have a small success and you think you can take some time off.
What you really need to do is find strategies for overcoming all of these little distractions. Sometimes they will be mental strategies and other times they will be physical things outside yourself.
That’s where you guys come in…
What do you do?
I’d really love to know how you manage to waste time on your work day. The stranger the better. And, I suppose, we should probably hear from those disciplined and successful folk among us who have figured out strategies to overcome their inner and outer distractions.
Drop a comment and let us know.
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Yes. Guilty. Of everything you said. Except hitting the beach because it would take me 30 minutes to go downtown and another 15 by boat to make it to the nearest island… where all the pretty beaches are…
And lo! I’m here commenting on your blog instead of working! Oh my! 😀
Ha ha. A boat to get to the beach – that sounds strange.
Oh! I think I got you confused. Haha. I live in Davao City, Philippines. You’d have to take a boat to cross over to the Samal Island, where the wonderful beach life is… 🙂
And yes, I fell for your comment. Pausing my work again… You’re good, huh? 😛
Ha excellent post, I say I have worked out many methods to avoid all distractions, I am just very bad at implementing them. 🙂
When you work from home the other half often fails to see that it is work and thinks because you are at home you can pop to the shops or fix the shelf etc, if you were at a day job in an office they wouldn’t expect you to do these jobs but for some odd reason working from home has a completely different meaning to them.
I have to force myself to turn off the TV otherwise I would end up watching Stargate and Star Trek re runs, which is daft because not only have I seen them many times before I know how it is going to end, yet I still get sucked in!!! Idiot.
So I turn the TV off and put some music on, I try and have deep house, acid or chilled out tunes to avoid dancing around the room to the harder faster stuff but then I still end up doing a shuffle or two or drift off into ‘Leeman Land’ and imagine I am in the sun somewhere and not cold rainy England.
Being English I cannot spend an hour without having a good cup of tea so the kettle will go on, the music will be turned up and then I raid the fridge. Some more shuffling and eating will commence. There goes another hour.
Research is a nightmare, I read blogs for ideas and leave comments then before you know it I am knee deep in blogs and articles then another hour is gone.
To be honest, I am surprised I have managed to write this comment without going to make a brew!
Excellent and fun post Ramsay.
The tea comment made me laugh pretty hard then!
I have two cats and a corn snake. The corn snake isn’t too demanding; the cats, however, are a different story. Noodle will come and lie on my keyboard; Whiskey will demand that we play.
Other distractions: reorganising and alphabetising my books. Because it was suddenly vitally important.
Removing the cobwebs that are suddenly visible when I look to the ceiling for inspiration.
Filing. Even doing my taxes. GAH!
At the moment: making Christmas cards and wrapping presents.
Having said all that: starting my own business and working from home is still the best thing in the world ever. Fact!
Alphabetizing books! Ha ha. Now I have a new job.
What is a corn snake? Sounds fun.
Like the different style! Good photos too! I don’t work from home yet, but those are all good points. I have a lot of free time at my job, but it’s so funny because I cannot get anything done there! I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s not my computer and it’s a little slow. I seriously don’t know. I end up watching South Park or It’s Always Sunny during my free time. Then I come home, grab my laptop and head off to a coffee shop. Usually it’s the same coffee shop and I sit in the same chair each time and I get heaps of shit done.
I think I conditioned myself to work in a coffee shop. So if I ever had to luxury of working from home, I’d probably just go to a coffee shop to get my stuff done. That way I’m not distracted from the cat, or TV, or house chores. Although another cool thing would be if I had my own office in my house and that was where I could do my work. But I think changing the environment works for me. Find your productive place and get your work done there.
I’m the same. Sometimes the change of scenery is very important – especially if you’re a bit creative.
Lack of determination is the reason for all these. You can create an office like environment at your home if you really don’t want to miss your valuable minutes.
I’m going to think about this comment for a while. Interesting. 🙂
Deepak – I unfortunately agree, although I would have struggled to put it so zen, complete with the very kindly and very thought provoking sting at the end. Self delusion comes in may disguises. Thankyou!
I agree. Although it’s important to remember the point of the post. It’s not entirely serious (hence the cat pictures).
BT, even after all this time you surprise me! I would have never imagined you were a cat guy.
The people that I personally know who are successful working from home tend to have a “place” that they can separate themselves from their private lives.
This is either a spare bedroom, a closet under the stairs, a trap door to the attic, a portion of their living room hidden behind a screen or whatever. But when they are there they are “working.” Period. They never use that space for anything else because it is a sacred, productive spot.
Happy holidays you beach bum,
Yeah I’m a cat guy and a dog guy and a bird guy… really love animals. That cat is well spoiled though.
This year I didn’t mess with small constant distractions. Instead, I had some surgery, packed up my household goods and put them in storage, threw everything I could round up digitally on my computer or into the Cloud and moved overseas to squeeze in with my family for an undetermined period of time.
What I find hardest about the transition. is that I don’t have my sacred space. I think productivity is served by the “place” you described, the sacred place for working. (Mine is my butt in a chair in front of my laptop for the time being.)
Thanks for this contribution, TJ.
I can definitely recognize many of the distractions you are talking about. The cats demanding attention is probably the ‘worst’. It’s hard to turn them down. Working a different place than home or being tough with scheduling what to do will often work. One thing I’ve found that really helps is to have 1 thing each day that I say I definitely want to have done, and then focus first on that. Getting that one thing done gives a feeling of accomplishment and makes it easier to move on to the next.
Before my partner moved in with me, working at home was the ideal. Maybe because my mother had a bookkeeping service at home, I was raised understanding the necessity of behaving as if you worked in an office: regular work hours (well longer regular hours), a time later in the day for errands, regular breaks, the whole thing. It was perfect and worked for me most of my adult life.
When another person lives with you, adult or child, it changes. Part of the change is what you allow. Maybe as a woman, you feel you have to pay attention to the other person. You HAVE to set your parameters from the start. I have to work these hours. Set that in stone and slowly the other person will understand. But you have to stand firm. And it will be hard. And some people will try their best to distract you because they are needy. Stand firm. And keep a mantra going in your head: My time is valuable. People will survive without me holding their hand.
That is the ONLY way to work at home. A schedule you insist on sticking to.
Maybe you’ve just written my next post. Damn it! 🙂
Let’s see … here are a few things people might label Distraction when they may actually be hugely Positive Productivity Enablers [just made up that term to play with all that productivity jargon!]
1. I read your blog posts but I see that as positive work and you don’t blog too often. A lot of productive ideas for my work have come from you.
2. I take an hour every day to walk my dog Coco. Today Dublin is covered in mist and it was really lovely. That’s not a distraction – it’s a huge stress reliever/energiser/creative problem solving space.
3. Going down to the kitchen and cooking. That’s a very healthy and rewarding activity and once again I tend to muse away in my head solving problems and working away at ideas for my writing and design.
4. Checking emails. I use that function in Gmail where I filter what’s important – brilliant. Emails from clients get an immediate response – even if it’s to say I’ll get back to them in more detail later. My relationships with my clients are my gold and they are priority 1.
5. Reading – I LOVE reading and like you Ramsay, I’ll wander off into never never land. I don’t allow myself to read any fiction until after 5pm. Any other reading is usually related to work I’m researching. Apart from your blog I read another one called Brain Pickings and it has given me ideas and snippets to put on my Life Dreaming FB page – so that’s a result.
6. Sleeping – I take an afternoon nap if my energy is low and that helps me relieve any stress I may be feeling.
7. Work time – I have never worked 9 to 5 so my concept of a working day or week is very fluid. Some days may not start until noon and could finish at 4. Others could go for 10 or 12 hours. It all depends.
8. Deadlines – setting deadlines for activities and getting clients to support them really helps me. I adore working to a deadline and know that I get really productive in that last day of writing and editing.
9. Purpose and Passion blending – I tend to be doing a lot of various stuff to do with earning money, learning new stuff and living a purposeful life. It’s not in any rigid Work/Life grid [which is a huge red herring in my opinion]. Everything I do tends to be fodder for my writing, thinking and designing – some of its paid and some of its [a lot!] is unpaid.
10. Reward for effort – I liked your comment about reward and effort Ramsay. I am the reward for every effort poster woman! It allows me to create a space [for a minute or days] where I can stop and celebrate all the activities, energy and engagement I bring to my life.
Great post and lovely pics mate.
Have a brilliant Christmas and a truly successful 2013.
Going to bed but will be back in the morning to reply and chat more everyone.
Liz this is such a great comment. You and Rachelle always seem to have a great positive spin on things. I really appreciate reading them.
You always provide such great content and other commenters are always so interesting and polite that it’s a pleasure taking a bit of time to contribute.
Have a great xmas and look forward to reading more in 2013
It can be really hard differentiating between work time and relaxation/family time when working from home. That’s why it’s really important to have a set space where you only work and, if possible, a set schedule, so you can clock on and off without blurring the lines too badly and getting stressed as a result.
Yep, totally agree Damien.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous cat! I have a feeling that this little guy lives the life a lot of cats only dream of. He’s a beauty.
My own little beauties (3 cats) distract me from time to time, but they’re pretty consistent. I know what times they want to play and enjoy a little extra “noms,” so I plan accordingly.
My biggest distraction these days is social media. I keep Twitter open, which is really a stupid idea, but I’ve yet to outsmart myself. I’ll get sucked into following links, reading news stories…. then sitting here (as I have the past few days) figuring out how I can save the world.
Starbucks is another distraction. As your iced coffee lures you with seductive promises.. Starbucks knows all the right things to whisper to me – and off I go! Problem is, it’s almost impossible to pick up where you left off when you get back.
I’ve decided it’s a good thing I work from home, I simply wouldn’t make it “out there.”
Yeah he is a very spoilt cat. Totally runs the place.
Leaving Twitter open is a really bad idea. I figured that out recently and now try to only go on once an hour.
Thanks for your great comment.
I completely resonate with not being able to “make it out there” I have worked from home for six years. Ramsay is much like the rest of us in his distractions. My most frequent time stealer is looking for productivity software, tips, apps. Look up counter-productive in the dictionary if you want to see my photo!
Yet at the end of the day, I believe we all know when it is time to stop screwing around and buckle down. Some days it is okay to give ourselves a pass, as long as it is not everyday. The first time you turn in subpar work, miss a deadline, or lose a client is when you need to look into making changes.
Great post, and a great timing for me too 🙂
Working freelance on couple of internet marketing projects as well as working on my blog, while also being a student, I find that staying disciplined is actually very hard. There is always some compromise to be made. Some struggle with myself.
And spending most of the day at home, it really doesn’t help in the sense of everybody just observing it from all the best angles. When you are home, people tend to tilt towards the conclusion that you are having an easy time. Everything that needs to be done at home is thrown at you, in the same sense that no work is seen as being difficult if you are enjoying the comfort of your own living room. Sadly that’s not even a joke…
I think that working out may serve as the perfect analogy here. Both in sense of discipline as well as being taken for either easy or hard.
If you tell someone that you go to the gym as opposed to working out at home, you would probably appear as someone who is investing himself into it quite a lot. The other way around would suggest that you are taking it rather lightly.
And I know by experience. When my brother was going to the gym lifting some light weights and doing some easy reps. I was doing the workout program Insanity back at home (if you are even a bit of a fitness junkie, you know what this program means). The thing is that whenever we entered a conversation where people were discussing fitness, everybody were giving my brother “bravos”.
As far as the discipline goes, being a fitness coach now (that’s how my working out “lightly” turned out), I notice this first hand with all the people attending my class. They can do bananas exercises under my supervision, but all the other days when they are at home, albeit knowing the exercises, they cannot seem to get themselves started.
Regarding the discipline I guess that I’m lucky. I was playing violin for over 12 years, so this requiring a lot of practice at home I guess I developed the discipline unintentionally. The trick is, I guess, to set specific time frame in which you will do your work, and isolate yourself completely from any distraction. When I was playing the violin I would go to my room, turn everything off, close the door, and practice as much as I planned.
Yep, perfect analogy. They don’t mean to do it – it’s just such a new industry that people aren’t really familiar with it yet.
Brilliant article thank you! Love the photos of the beach, my place of refuge is the Riverside – a short walk away, when I need a recharge.
I can understand that your cat is distracting and you’ve probably just talked me out of getting a pet in the short term. At least with my children, I can try to reason with them and they do understand that I’m ‘trying’ to work. However I’m sure my productivity does drop from 345pm onwards.
But on the flipside, working from home does allow you to fully focus on tasks (that office environments can stifle with interruptions and noise of people kicking the photocopier;-).
I do not miss working in an office and the freedom and benefits of WFH fully outweigh the downsides.
best wishes for a happy holiday.
Oh come on Mark, get your kids a kitten!
My list goes something like this:
Walk the dogs
Go for a swim at local pool
Meditate (form me that means staring into thin air)
Work on something I am not actually getting paid for (yep…its true)
Write shopping list
Clean the inside of the bin
Make comments on blogs like this one.
There, I think I’m done.
Ha ha. I like your style Eleanor.
It’s tough sometimes, but more than half the battle is working from home in an awesome home in an awesome city!
Everybody needs to come out and live in San Francisco and Honolulu. Just a flight away!
Man then we’d never get anything done! 🙂
Me too. whenever tried to bunk my office, so that i can pull something for my website, i mess up all my time.. But at the end of the day, i found myself working only 2-3 hrs on that day.
Have you come up with any solutions Kamlesh?
You should do a schedule about what you’re planning to do everyday. The faster you finish you work, the more time you’ll have for chores and relaxing activities.
That sounds like a very smart thing to do Filip.
Story of my life!
Part of the secret is taking willpower out of the equation. Setting up systems and routines that will make it easier to resist temptation.
– I use the Cold Turkey app to block FB, twitter, Google reader, forums I’m part of and other time-wasters during my prime working hours.
– Working on establishing a schedule for housework and doing it all on one specific day / time, not just “anytime I don’t feel like being at the computer”
– Research and content consumption on a strictly need-to-know basis. Found my answer, or something I can implement right away? Implement it and stop researching.
I’m not sure I could resist the cat, though – he is adorable!
Ha ha. Yeah, everyone loves that cat. Whenever we have friends over they just play with him.
I’m going to try out Cold Turkey…I’m terrible for snatching little bits of surfing while in the office. Thanks for mentioning this!
Loving the photo blog style.
I’ve found that I have to put myself on a very definite schedule on the days I work from home, or else I become a wandering mess of indecision. I schedule in my harder tasks for the morning, when I’m pumped full of coffee and the distractions are a little easier to power through. I give myself a “me” break at “lunch time” (which I also have to schedule in, or I will just shovel things into my mouth while still typing.)
I have windows for errands throughout the day to give myself some physical activity (and change of scenery), a window for my favorite TV show, and I tell myself that if I can get all my projects done by the time my husband comes home from work, I’ll get to hang out with him that night–for someone who works from home (where the work never technically “ends”), this can be a huge motivation.
Oh, and I put a dog bed in my office so that if the pups want to hang out, they can do so by sleeping, rather than constantly nosing at my hands as I type and giving me that “You’re home! It must be to play with me!” look. 🙂
Thanks Cordelia. I wanted to try something a little bit different and see whether people liked it.
Your dogs sound very disciplined. Lucky you!
This is SO true except I only wish I could go to the beach…I’m landlocked! Oh and instead of a cat, I have 3 and 6 year old children who have perfected the art of distraction. 🙂
Maybe you can make a beach holiday a reward once or twice a year?
How I waste time? Are you really going to encourage me to explore and remember how I LOVE the spend my day?
-Petting my dog, she is as soft as a kitty and has really big sad eyes. I can’t resist.
-Make excuses to get lunch. Yep, my readers know I am a sucker for Taco Bell. But just once a week. It was such a time waster habit for me, I had to fit it into my work schedule.
-The classic…Facebook. I cannot have it open….AT ALL.
-And this one is for the ladies. Pluck my brows. Yep, I said it. If the sun comes into my office at just the right angle, it is perfect brow plucking light.
There they are. My time wasters. Beautiful cat by the way. I wish I could have a cat, but Ms Jealous dog won’t have any of that.
Ha ha. That last one really made me laugh. Has to be done though right?
this is a real-world post 🙂 I don’t own a cat, but I have a two years old daughter and right now im into puzzles…
Checking mails is a huge factor too along with “just go and have a quick coffee” and more useless things…
Thanks for making my day 🙂
Thanks for making my day with that comment Phil! Appreciate it.
oh what do i NOT do to waste time?! I browse blogs (telling myself i’m researching). I look through recipe books (again, research). I fold laundry and do dishes. I decide I need to practice yoga right then and there so my back feels better, telling myself i’ll be more productive if i’m in less pain. i take a shower, telling myself i’ll be more productive if i’m all ready for the day. i decide i need to pack up and go to a coffee shop, because i just HAVE to have a change of scenery. I realize i just have to get on twitter because i haven’t networked on there in awhile… and then i remember good ole’ G+ that I always forget about, so i head on over there.
Seriously, there are so many countless ways for me to procrastinate. before I know it, I have 1 hour left in my day to write a weeks worth of articles, bake a week’s worth of recipes, photograph them, edit them, and write something about them. Not cool!
Great article though Ramsay. I particularly like the personal touch with your cat.
Holly you sound like a distractions expert!
You know what’s not productive? Guilt. I’ve just fired my biggest client and for the most part it looks like I’m not doing anything but for me anyways creativity isn’t really on a schedule. So while it looks like I’m not actually doing anything, there’s a part of my brain that’s planning and plotting. Then one day I’ll take a shower and the next step forward will hatch itself almost fully formed and beautiful, just needing a few finishing touches.
I made a decision a long time ago that I was not well suited to date entry type jobs so why would I punish myself for not working like that?
Rachelle, as always, you have left a comment that really resonates with me. That last line sums it up perfectly. And guilt – only useful so far as it spurs action. After that it’s just a massive energy suck.
I’m going to play tennis.
Guilt of most of what you have shared! Haha! I believe what works best for me to avoid distractions is to have a private office, it is off of my master bedroom, but it’s hidden and keeps me from seeing all of lifes distractions such as my pug who pouts at me to lay with her or the TV that the kids always seem to leave running on in the background. I also set a steady schedule, so when my kids are gone during week for school and the every other weekend they are with their Dad, I work. Aside from those times they are gone? I am 100% mom. I suppose the best way to not have so many distractions is to really get a handle on what hours your mind works best and stick with those times to do the work from home! Cheers to all who work from home, I know all too well it can be a challenge but it is so fun and great that we can do this!
You sound like an awesome mom. Thanks for commenting Brandy.
The hardest thing is to make everyone else understand that you are in fact working.
Everyone thinks that since I’m home I can do all the chores and cook. Friends thinks it fine to just ask for rides whenever etc.
People don’t understand the fact that when you are working for yourself you Specially need to work 10 times harder and you need to have focus and dedication and above all discipline.
Just because I don’t have a “boss” who’s telling me what to do doesn’t mean I can chill out all day.
I’m still learning how to manage everything. I have to have discipline that work time is work time, not do whatever needs to be done around the house time.
Biggest time wasters for me are reading new posts on my google reader and email.
Need to get a new place where I can have a proper office and the ability to close and shut my door.
Yeah Kris it’s actually MORE time consuming that having a regular job. Most people can clock off at 5pm or 6pm but we need to constantly deal with problems or paper work, etc. Takes practice but it is really hard in the beginning.
Yes, I want to build Hemingway’s writing shack down on the other side of the scary grove of trees on my property. I keep teling everyone to stay out of the trees because the deer ticks may have Lymes desease 🙂
But until I get that done, I have two white doves in a wall-sized cage next to my desk. They are my focus point when I need to concentrate.
I have two cats and one expects me to put him down for his nap. He climbs up an lays across my arms when I’m typing and goes to sleep. When he starts to dream (twitch) I can pick him up and put him on the bed and go back to writing.
Of course the 3 dogs need to be let out every 2 hours and the other cat is waiting on my chair for me to come back.
If I turn the TV on……..I’m done writing…
My wife has learned that when I say I need time to write, that means to leave me alone for 2 or 3 hours. She will also “schedule” times for me to do house work, garden work, shopping etc.
I try to get up 3 hours earlier than everyone else. That is my quiet time to write. If I remember not to look at my email 🙂
Getting up early is something I’ve noticed a lot of successful business people do. Interesting insight. Thanks Paul.
Over rewarding!!!! thats me. Happens all the time I accomplish something worthwhile. Watching a movie while a take a meal…classic me. Research? Am an expert on that always find more to research on.
Next years resolution: Get a small office or share one not far from home. This will get me focused. When I had my 8-5 I used to accomplish a lot, I would be lucky to cover that in an entire week
Please let me know how you go with that share office Joel. I’ve heard a lot about them lately.
So true!!! Sometimes people think my house should be spotless since I’m “home all day.” I make sure to take my dog for an extra long walk in the morning, but he’s still high-maintenance. I feel mean sometimes, but I have stuff tuh do!
Anyone else forget to eat during the day because they’re ALWAYS working?
What kind of dog is he Amy?
You just nailed (read: penned, read: typed) it perfectly. Exactly the same thing happens every time I decide to stay home and work & each time – I eat my lunch, pack my laptop & go to office… the only place where truly feel like I work. 🙂
Hashtag in a comment – I like you. 🙂
Loved this post, and especially love the pictures! Your cat is adorable. We have seven; I understand. My oldest daughter (a freshman in college in Los Angeles) summed up for me how my stay-at-home job is viewed by my family when she texted last week and I didn’t respond immediately as I was on a business call. As soon as I was able to respond to her I texted “Sorry, bud, I was on a business call. What’s up?” Her reply, “But mom, you’ve always said WE are your job. Who else would you be talking to?” Loud, long sigh on my part. I “fixed” her issue, shut down the computer, and played with the cats:)
Cathy, for clarification.
Do you mean that you understand that you have 7 cats but aren’t sure or that you understand that that is a lot of cats?
I mean that since we have seven cats I understand how cute they can be and how much of a distraction I can let them become:)
Got ya! Seven cats must be a lot of work.
Love the style and I can relate to many of your comments. I’m lucky because I work part time in an office and part time from home. My life is pretty much a continuum of ‘stuff I do’, all of which I enjoy and for some of which I get paid. My paid-for stuff leaks into late nights, very early mornings and weekends but this does mean that if I need a nap because I’ve been up at 5am to meet a deadline, I can take one without losing too much time. You can’t over-estimate the mental health benefits of being home on your own after a couple of days filled with office politics!
You sound like a really hard worker!
I had to read through all the comments on my mobile, in order to have a good laugh at everyone’s ‘straying into un-busy (sic) land’.
Well, time to laugh at me.
I usually leave my internet connection on, so I get message notifications from Facebook and I get distracted; my eyes stray to my books and I end up reading paper-back books and working on my PC; my mind strays off to endless thoughts and I time-travel into the future to foresee my company; I stray into an endless continuum of business calls and relationship calls; my thumb logs me into 2go chat app and I’m up and away chatting with friends.
But, if I’m designing a blog, it’s different – I’m more focused because I hate crashing blogs due to the PHP status of Thesis.
The point is “just eliminate distractions until you’re done”.
Nice post, Ramsay the … tyrant.
Oh man – turn your internet off! Ha ha.
LOL. Of course, that’s what I’m already doing. 😀
By the way, I really like the way you write.
Ha, if I had a cat that cute I’d be distracted too!
Love the photography btw 🙂 And thanks for an entertaining post!
Thanks Lillian. Just a bit of fun today.
Yeah totally been there!
My house is spotless when I work from home 🙂
During uni I always went to the library to study. I knew that if I would stay home I would watch tv (Mcgyver, golden girls, oprah, price is right, deal or no deal etc..) and then freak out that I didn’t do anything.
Ow .. and have lunch and dinner and do the shopping..
So yeah.. been there done that 🙂
Ow.. and ofcourse Miami Vice (TV Series…. can’t beat those)
Mcgyver was totally worth it!
I’m also one of the lazy type so I always make sure I have time to play some Assassin’s Creed or read some book. That why I usually have a list of must finish works for each day then I use a stopwatch, set for 1 hour and entirely focus on work, after 1 hour I take a 15 to 30 mins break then repeat. It usually take me 3 hours to complete the important work then I just lazy~ing around do something else.
Good idea. The pomodoro method is a bit like that.
Thanks to working from home I now have time to catch up on all of my favorite shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, The Big Bang Theory, Law & Order SVU seasons 1-14, Anything on HGTV, and there’s literally a show called “Too Cute” where you can just watch cute stuff like puppies and kittens and otters. Oh and then of course I have to feed and walk and play with my own puppy because you can’t just leave them in a crate all day or stick them on the porch for 12 hours. *sigh*
I’m not sure “how” I manage my time but I find that a) I get a lot of stuff done right after waking up and late at night and b) taking my email off my phone was the best stress relief ever. I guess it’s all about batch processing.
A few things I do…
-Filter my emails into different folders.
-Focus on one project at a time.
-Take breaks for food.
-Do my research on my phone during breaks and naptime.
-Drink ridiculous amounts of caffeine (don’t try this at home!)
I have honestly been thinking about taking email off my phone. You reckon it’s a good idea?
With two kids and just a beta fish, my schedule can be hectic so I set aside the morning to read and write and then get about an hour in the evening after my kids are in bed.
It’s a totally different ball game for parents isn’t it Tom? Sound like you’re figuring it all out though.
Look, the Internet isn’t going to surf itself! Not sure I’d be able to handle working from home.
Pretty cat, btw, and I’m more of a dog person.
This made me literally LOL. Thanks Jeremy.
Hey Ramsay! New to your blog and found it while on Glenn’s blog. To your question, well… you said the stranger the better so here goes:
another challenge of working from home is to stick to a routine. Because you’re king of your own castle, it’s easy to pursue whatever strikes your fancy (bills, dishes, pets) instead of sticking to a routine. I find that drastically reduces my productivity. So to maintain some semblance of routine in my life and – more importantly – to remind me why I chose to quit the rat race, I still take the same bus I used to take to work, just to jostle with the crowds. Seeing a lot faces just mutely going to work, without the passion of doing something that truly excites them everyday – and staying this way for the rest of their life until they are old enough for retirement… I imagine how it would be if I ended up the same way. And that fear always, always invigorates me to work harder and do better. For the rest of the day, I work. I really, really work.
That is a really powerful comment Leigh. I hope other people get to read it.
Thanks for the terrific post, it was a real hoot. Working from home is not necessarily the nirvana it seems to be.
Love your kitty! What a sweet face! Definitely irresistible.
Yeah he is pretty cool. Thanks Jeff.
I like your blog, quite similar to mine 🙂
I find what works best is when you set yourself achievable goals. So you tell yourself that you’ll make that cup of tea once you’ve worked solidly for 15 minutes or once you’ve finished writing that article.
Creating an uncluttered workspace also helps.
As does working to office hours and making sure that everyone (i.e. family and friends) know that between office hours you are unavailable. Completely unavailable. Unless it’s a life or death situation and even then they’d need to leave you a message.
And perhaps shut the cat in a cupboard 😉
Shut the cat in a cupboard?! Just think of the incessant scratching.
Lovely pics, Ramsay 🙂
Have you tried rewarding yourself with half a day to do something you really want IF you get through your list? I find if I know I can go surfing the next day I zip through my list, and then get to enjoy something guilt free knowing I have accomplished everything I needed to.
I also find having a don’t want to list works really well. Write down the tasks you really don’t want to do, and do those first. You get everything unpleasant out of the way first, the day gets easier and more fun as you go along, and quite often the jobs you really didn’t want to do turn out not be so bad after all.
The list writing thing really does help. Often you feel like you’ve got so much on but when you write it all down it’s actually not that bad.
Thanks James. Good tips.
I love working from home! However, I also hate it for the following reasons:
1. I get almost no face-to-face human interaction during the day;
2. I either get too comfortable in the house where I don’t feel like leaving it for no reason whatsoever; or I can’t wait to get out of it and never come back. It goes back and forth.
3. I hate to see my cats running around the house, having fun and playing while I have to ignore them and make some money.
How I manage to accomplish things from my to-do list every day:
– Thankfully, I’m a very focused person. I just focus on the work (no TV, no music, no anything).
– I tell myself “Finish this project, and you can take a short walk/drink some coffee/watch an episode of “The Mentalist”/play with the cats for a few minutes etc. Basically – cannot do anything fun until the work is done.
And again, I love working from home. There are setbacks, sometimes I wish I had someone else working with me, but when you put it all together – there’s nowhere else I’d rather be most of the time 🙂
Face to face interaction is actually a really big downfall of working from home. After a while you do notice the effects.
As the prince of procrastination,(waiting to assume the crown of king) I know of what you speak. If I spent as much time doing something productive instead of inventing new ways of not doing it, I’m certain this comment would stay at the back of the line because I have more unimportant things to think about.
Thanks for calling me out, as it’s about time to make a directional change, as soon as I finish this coffee, movie, errand….I think you get the rest of the picture.
Speaking of which, nice ones of your cat. My cat is admiring yours in a questionable manner.
Thanks for all you do.
Ha ha. Well I for one am glad you procrastinated enough to leave this comment!
[…] The Problem with Working from Home | Blog Tyrant […]
Lovely photos of your cat. I work at home & many days there’s a cat sleeping on my desk.
Here’s the trick: Delegate napping to the cat so you can work. It’s easy. The cat will be only too happy to oblige, since they normally sleep 80% of the time anyway. You can vicariously enjoy the total relaxation of the kitty while the kitty enjoys the benefits of your labors (roof over head, yummy food in the bowl).
This only works in one direction. Do not try to delegate the work to the cat while you nap. 🙂
Jeanne are you yourself a cat? Nice avatar! 🙂
Oh boy do I know where you are coming from! My dog always wants to play, the unwatched DVDs on my shelf suddenly become VERY interesting, there is always a bit of cleaning to do in the house that suddenly become very important and because I work at home my family think they can ask me to pick their kids up when they can’t be bothered! Who said working from home was easy? 😛
I guess it beats all the stuff that happens in an office right Dean?
Hey bud I know what you’re talking about
I have a room designated for home office but I can’t stand being off in some room
My dining room has a new view and I get to work next to my fiancé / assistant
But we have a new born , and right now she cries which I can deal with, but soon she’ll want my attention and it would break my heart to say no. Plus I don’t think it will be good for her
My friend gave me an office at his gym , it’s nice, but it’s 25 min away , so I find myself never going
Sometimes I like to go to Starbucks but get easily distracted by all the people meeting for a date from someone they met online … And MLMers trying to get someone in their downline
I have the cat problem and over-rewarding issue as well … And sometimes it’s hard to get away from my work cuz it’s always right there
Great post as always Ramsay , you nailed what was goin on in my head
Hey Big Chris!
What solutions have you come up with for yourself?
I’ve been freelancing for… well, just about forever. I’ve worked at home and in coffee shops and at client’s offices. At the park. At the beach. At the library. In hotels. At friend’s houses. On airplanes.
Trust me, it’s a “grass is greener” situation to think that you’ll work better somewhere else.
Your house might have your tempting cat and TV.
But the coffee shop has tempting venti mochachino-frappe-cappa-whatevers and amorous couples in the corner and hilarious old people who can’t use cell phones, plus the internet is still there to surf.
And client offices are chock full of desk warmers who don’t want to work. And amorous couples. And old people who can’t use cellphones and are hilarious to watch. And the damn internet is still surfable there, too.
The park. The beach. The car. The library. They all sound like great places to work. But there are distractions everywhere. Location isn’t the answer. It’s passion and willpower and deadlines.
I like working from home because there is beer in the fridge and I can’t drink it at coffee shops or client offices. Oh, beer! Be right back…
Grass is greener – so very true. It’s always the mind that is the problem.
I still work in an office and I find various distractions: internet, colleagues, barrage of emails, telephone calls. etc
Yeah you are totally right. It’s all in the mind.
Nice post! Working at home is the trend of the future, as more and more people eschew corporate life for a simpler and relaxed business environment. However, a business at home is not without problems. Here is a list of the top ten conflicts that you might experience while working at home.
1.Separating work and family life.
2. Not enough space.
3. Not being taken seriously.
4. Cannot do any work.
5. Lack of privacy.
6. Strain on family relationships.
7. Working too much.
8. Feeling isolated.
9. Self-discipline or self-management.
10. Zoning, home and condominium association regulations.
But still many people loves to do work at home only.!!
Thanks for sharing this post ramsay..!!
Feeling isolated is occasionally a thing for me. Funny how the problems change.
one of the things that I do is use the Pomodoro Technique. Surprisingly, it never fails me…when I actually do it.
The ultimate good news/bad news joke is . . .
“The good news is: You’re your own boss. The bad news is: You’ve got a REAAALLLY shi++y, dysfunctional, and incompetent boss.”
An entrepreneurial person has a little accountability pressure in the fact that work needs to be done for clients, but there is none for the moment by moment, function by function basis, like getting your own blog post done.
So the only accountability available to the entrepreneur is hitting or missing time and money targets.
Think of a time target as a self-imposed deadline. For instance, you tell yourself, I’ve got 4 hours to bang out this blog post. Not one second more. And if you aren’t finished after 4 hours, publishing the content incomplete and looking amateurish in the eyes of your audience is your punishment.
Most people don’t work this way. They don’t make it painful to NOT accomplish what they set out to and I believe this is one of the primary reasons nothing gets done. Or everything takes FOREVER to get done and is late.
When you have an undesirable punishment at stake, making high quality decisions becomes about 1,000% easier to do.
Most people try to get the job done with money targets alone. But it’s the time targets that make up the day to day that REALLY make it possible to hit the money targets.
If you’re waiting till the end of the month to see if you hit your sales quota or not, and then judging yourself successful or not based on your hitting it or not, you’re too late.
You want predictive indicators, not historic indicators. Predictive indicators of money are your use of your time. This is how you hold yourself accountable.
One of my treasured mentors Dan Kennedy talks about how the fact that he met all but one of his time targets for a day, is very predictive of what his bank balance is gonna look like at the end of the month.
If he’d missed 4 or 5 of them he’d be annoyed with himself and want to look at why this occurred.
Was it faulty assessment of how long it’d take to do something? And why is that?” so that he doesn’t make the same mistake again.
Or he’ll ask if he missed it because he let something interfere with the way he scripted his day out, and what did he let interfere and how can you make sure that doesn’t happen anymore?
I think the x factor that no one addresses when it comes to working from home is having impending doom waiting on the other side of failure to complete the outcome upon a said time.
There is impending doom waiting for us if we don’t pay our taxes on time. And miraculously we stay out of jail year after year after year.
I personally believe the key to getting things done is to get leverage on yourself and hold yourself accountable to what you said you would do. No snazzy planners or software needed.
YAY! Cino made it to the Blog Tyrant blog! Love it – yes, having cats and working from home is definitely a deterrent from getting things done. I just read an article a few days ago about how bad it is to sit for long periods of time, so maybe the cats are good after all…as they don’t let me sit for too long.