Working at (Home Sweet) Home
It doesn’t take gobs of surveys and numbers crunching to realize that the home-based business is now the preferred modus operandi for many people in diverse careers. It’s no longer the realm of extra pin money for the housewife, or the nights and weekend income earned by the primary breadwinner whose full-time job isn’t paying quite enough.
For a variety of interrelated reasons such as the ridiculous cost of renting a space, technology which makes it easier to work anywhere, anytime, and also perhaps, the large number of people (particularly women) who want to work at their own pace and not be emotionally and financially tethered to shaky childcare arrangements, working from home offers an extremely acceptable alternative.
For us creative types, it sounds too wonderful—the thought of rolling out of bed when you want to, putting on your fuzzy bunny slippers , and moseying over to the computer/console/keyboards/whatever to create yet another work of genius.
While yes, it does take discipline to get up, go to the studio/theater/office and work long hours under often absurd deadlines. Guess what? It takes even more discipline to the same thing at home… particularly if you don’t have a dedicated work space—such as a home studio/office that is used only for that purpose and is not part of your primary living quarters.
Why do people think working at home is easy? Mostly because you don’t have to “show up” anywhere on a daily basis, especially in rotten weather, and therefore don’t have the continuous costs of commuting , business attire, and other work-related expenses.
I’ve found that many people who try working at home find they’re getting less done then they would if they were in a workplace. Why? Simply because they are At Home—with all the distractions, lack of structure, and more fluid sense of time than exists in almost any workplace.
This becomes even more challenging if you’re sharing your space with family or roommates. Your goal here, in order to work efficiently, is to create an almost parallel universe to the rest of the household.
Obviously, you need your own equipment, instruments, office supplies such as computer paper, sharpies, stamps, etc. In other words—no communal property. (If you are operating a legitimate business such as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation, these work related expenses have to be tracked and accounted for.)
If you don’t have the discipline to set time limits—whether for a coffee break , mixing final tracks, or taking care of email—small jobs can expand to fill an entire day because you didn’t block out a time frame. Use a timer for certain tasks and perhaps write up a daily schedule. You’ll get more done.
Time wasters? Everyone has their weaknesses . It may be reading trashy novels, playing with your dog, or watching reality television shows. However, zoning out on the internet probably takes precedence over everything else. ( I do it, too…) IM-ing your friends or posting pithy rejoinders on Facebook may be fun, but it’s usually not work –related.
Rosanne Soifer is a professional musician and writer in NYC. She can be reached at SRJRSD@aol.com.
Views and opinions of the contributor are not necessarily shared by Focal Press