5 Tips For Working From Home
So you started working from home? Congratulations. You have taken a step toward freeing yourself from the powers that be and have grabbed the bull by the horns. Rest assured, working from home is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have, but keep in mind working from home is exactly how it sounds – “work”. While you may now be your own boss that also means you’re responsible for all your actions and will have no one to lean on. You will sink or swim. It may sound scary, but if you put in the effort, you’ll be just fine, and here are a handful of tips that have helped me to stay productive.
1. WAKE UP!
That’s right, don’t just sleep in all day. That’s one of the cardinal sins of working from home. Don’t think that without a commute you can sleep till 10am, 11am, or later. In fact, it’s because you have no commute that you should be eager to be up. Set your alarm, have that morning shower, and take a whiff of a cup of fresh coffee, and know that every moment you’re awake you have the potential to be earning. So while the former you would be stuck in traffic or cramped inside a subway car, the new you should be communicating with clients or catching up on work.
2. OPEN THE BLINDS
This step took me a while to figure out. When working from home it’s hard to let go of that cubicle mentality. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about it’s when you’re used not seeing sunlight for 8 or more hours behind the tall confines of your cubicle. It can be easy to begin feeling like a vampire when your blinds are shut and all hours of the day seemingly blend together. Once I started opening the blinds and receiving fresh sunlight it was such a boost in motivation. It’s a clear reminder as to why you left the workplace to begin with and haven’t decided to look back.
3. GET ORGANIZED
It doesn’t matter what job you’re doing from home – staying organized is crucial. It’s easy to lose receipts, forget appointments, and keeping track of even the simplest of things. Everyone is different, but I always keep a to-do list handy so I can prioritize what I need to do, for example, me writing this blog post; it was in my to-do list since last week. If you are familiar with Google Drive it can be easy to keep a calender or manage a document there so it is always accessible to you whether you are traveling with your phone, online, or need to share it with someone.
Believe it or not, there are people just like you working from home and more than likely working the same job. It’s a big world out there and you may have a question or two. There’s no shame in asking for help once in awhile and when you do have questions you should look for a blog or message board for guidance. One of my favorite online sites is Quora but there are others like Meetup where you can meet all types of professionals in your area over a cup of coffee or perhaps a beer. Making friends in the world of working from home can be of great advantage to you. Who knows, maybe they’ll pass you work they can’t find time for or introduce you to more people just like you. The opportunities are endless and you should explore each one.
5. KNOW YOUR FINANCES
If you didn’t already know, working from home most likely means you’re working as a 1099 contract worker. What does this mean? It means you work for yourself and not as an employee. Unfortunately, it also means you’ll be paying taxes every quarter, instead of once a year (January 15, April 15, June 15, & October 15). The in’s and out’s can be a little complicated at times, but you should educate yourself on what is tax deductible for your new business and how much you can expect to owe. Usually, if you have a home office there is a deductible for that, depending on the size of the space you are using. Not to mention, supplies like printer ink, paper, and other office supplies are also deductible as office expenses. When you meet a client for lunch 50% of that is also deductible. Keep in mind there are limitations and not everything you do can count as a tax deductible and are most likely personal expenses. My best suggestion is to do some research or speak with an accountant. Personally, I keep all my expenses organized through FreshBooks. It’s easy to use, even if you’re a beginner, and for a small monthly fee you’ll know what your expenses look like month-to-month and can plan your taxes and budget accordingly.