5 Bad Work at Home Habits: Are You Guilty?
Isn’t working at home great? That’s why so many of us are either already doing it, or dreaming about doing it. We know it’s just the thing for creative types who don’t like structure and hierarchy. Working at home has its perks.
However, working at home also brings many temptations that can sabotage our productivity, creativity, sanity, happiness and even our health.
Below are what I consider to be the five most common pitfalls of working at home, why they’re bad for us, and how we can avoid or overcome them.
1. Working in Your Pajamas or Underwear
You have to admit, one of the best parts of working at home is never having to put on a suit ever again. Well, at least not every day.
However, some work at home professionals take this no-dress-code thing a little too far. Most people think all freelancers work in pajamas or, worse, their underwear.
Not dressing up for work can actually hurt your productivity. If you’re wearing a T-shirt with holes in it, even if nobody can see you, your sloppy appearance will affect your confidence and professionalism. This comes through when you talk to a prospective client on the phone, and even in your writing.
Another reason to dress in some form of regular work attire, even if it’s only jeans and a T-shirt, is that it puts your mind into work mode. It’s a cue that you mean business now and your mind boots up to deliver quickly.
So make up your mind what your personal dress code is. Make sure it’s presentable, but comfortable. My rule of thumb is to be presentable enough to open the door with confidence. And don’t forget personal hygiene :-)
2. Not Having Set Working Hours
When you work at home, nobody cares if you sleep all day and work only two hours starting at midnight — as long as you meet deadlines.
However, it’s still a good idea to have specific working hours, at least most of the time. For one thing, your working hours should respect your personal productivity rhythm.
For example, I can only write in the daytime. At night, my brain is too fried to write anything cohesive. I need to respect this and work when I’m most productive. Otherwise, I’ll be working against myself, taking longer to get things done and producing less than stellar work.
Other writers do their best work late at night, when the whole house is totally quiet. Others need to wake up before dawn. Know when you’re most productive and set your work hours accordingly.
Besides, when you don’t have set working hours you’re more open to distractions. You’re more likely to take a little longer on a phone call, or get lost on Twitter, or blindly turn on the TV when your time is “open” and unstructured.
3. Sitting on Your Butt All Day
Did you know that work at home professionals gain as much as 30 pounds during their first year of working at home? Especially if you work primarily at the computer, the temptation is too great to stay in your chair, only getting up to get a snack from the fridge.
Before you know it, your hips and butt are spreading. You’re getting flabby and — worst yet — you’re losing the edge and sharpness in your thinking.
Our bodies and minds need regular breaks. This is why it’s a good idea to work in time chunks of, say 50-90 minutes, and then take a break for ten minutes or so.
A related pitfall deals with vacations (or lack of them).
4. Never Going on Vacation
Freelancers don’t get paid vacation days, so we tend to never go on vacation. A big mistake!
It’s better to take short, frequent vacations than get burned out or seriously ill and be forced to take a long break from your work.
Besides, those frequent breaks will help increase not only your productivity, but your creativity as well.
It is possible to organize a vacation without going broke.
5. Working in a Non-productive Space
Because we work at home, we pretty much have perfect control of where we work. We could work in our garage, in the basement, in bed, on the couch, on the grass in the backyard. Or, we don’t even have to work at home. We can bring the laptop to the playground or to Starbucks or the woods.
This is perfectly fine, once in a while, when we need a fresh perspective.
But, most of the time, we need a regular working space that’s arranged to support our productivity. We need comfortable furniture, appropriate lighting, preferably away from the TV and boombox, and with a view of the outdoors.
Our physical space affects our productivity. Clutter gets in the way, making it take longer to find what we need. Clutter also tends to make our minds jumbled and unable to focus.
Working in the same place every day helps you get more work done. You’ll spend less time getting settled in a working mode. Instead, your brain will be ready to go as soon as you sit in your work chair.
I have to admit, I’m guilty of working on the couch or at the dining table too often, especially now that it’s too cold in the basement where the home office is. I’ve tried to remedy this by using a laptop table, which I move from dining room to living room. That’s my regular, albeit portable, working space.
How About You?
Are you guilty of any of these pitfalls? If you stopped doing just one thing from the list above, how do you think it would affect your productivity, creativity, stress level and work satisfaction?
Image by betsssssy
- 6 Alternative Work Spaces to the Home Office – FreelancerMagazine.com
- Open Thread: What Do You Love/Hate About Your Home Office?
- Getting Rid of Bad Freelancing Habits
- 3 Freelancing “Bad Habits” That Cost You Money
- Working From Home – 5 Tips To Avoid That Dreaded Loneliness
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February 9th, 2010 at 8:33 am
February 9th, 2010 at 8:42 am
When I first started out I was probably guilty of most of these. I now have an office set up and dress everyday although it’s usually shorts and a t-shirt ;) I dress nice for client meetings. I do take time off but unfortunately my clients tend to ignore the “I will be out of town” emails LOL. If I don’t follow my normal routine, my productivity and creativity decrease.
February 9th, 2010 at 9:04 am
I recently left my regular office job to start working freelance and I have to say the temptation to sit in my pajamas all day is great…!
I try to overcome this by trying to stick to my old “office” routine…waking up with my husband and going to the gym with him, before heading home and getting on with my working day. This also relieves the tempation to sleep late and helps me stick to my (most productive) 9-5 working hours!
February 9th, 2010 at 9:06 am
1 – Semi-guilty. I mean, I’m not working in my pyjamas or underwear but still, I like to be very comfortable, so I keep it a bit more casual.
2 – I don’t have a set work schedule, because I work all the time.
3 – Again, absolutely correct. This is what I’m working on improving at the moment.
4 – Vacation… I’d say 3 times a year. Would like to do it more often though.
5 – Workspace is pretty productive and I’m happy with it. I don’t have an amazing view, in fact, I don’t have a view at all, but that lets my mind focus on the important stuff.
I will take some of your advice into consideration in the future, thank you for the article.
February 9th, 2010 at 9:20 am
Number 3 is sooooo true – I’m spreading out at an alarming rate!!!
February 9th, 2010 at 10:44 am
I have to completely agree with number 1. I find taking a shower and throwing on clothes for the day (even a little makeup sometimes) really puts my mind in the mode to work. I’m still trying to learn how to step away from the computer for 10 minutes at a time; that’s a hard one.
Thanks for the article!
February 9th, 2010 at 10:47 am
These are so true!
While I may not work in my PJs, I am often guilty of working in my sweats. (Not today… Today I am professionally dressed in my jeans and a tee shirt. LOL)
Also, I tend to make my vacations working vacations–taking the work along with me. Of course, this isn’t really a vacation at all…is it?
I did get my own office (with a door) when we moved a few years ago and I have to say that it really has helped my productivity. Before, I was working in the dining room of our house and I could hear every single noise the kids made.
February 9th, 2010 at 10:53 am
Nice article! I’m guilty of #3, but I’m working on it. I find that I’m much more creative when I’ve walked away from something and taken a short break.
NiubiFebruary 9th, 2010 at 11:02 am
Some of these are so familiar! When I started out it was great to lounge around in my PJs, sometimes work from bed – you name it, I did it. I quickly wised up, though, and now I have an office about 10 minute’s walk from my home, so I’m forced to dress up, get some exercise and all the rest of it. I do spend far too much time browsing on the internet when I should be working, though. But what’s a girl to do when websites like http://www.dubli.com exist?
February 9th, 2010 at 11:14 am
I have done all of these at least the first year I worked at home. I almost thought it was the right thing to do. I could do it and I did do it. I don’t have to get dress, commute on the busy Atlanta roadways, I was in my world, yeah. I never understood why I wasn’t having the success I thought I should and knew I could achieve. The dress for success motto isn’t just a motto, it’s true to life. If you look like a couch potato you’re whole being will reflect that couch potato motif. Good tips Lexi
February 9th, 2010 at 11:26 am
It’s funny – I’ve been guilty of all of these in one way or another. The pajamas and unproductive workspace were my biggest in the first 6 months of dedicated work from home time. I did eventually find a rhythm, out of necessity more than anything else.
Now when I get the opportunity to have a day working from home, I find that I run into another problem – forgetting about basic needs like stopping for lunch, dinner, sleep, ANYTHING.
Perhaps I have too productive a workspace? =D
February 9th, 2010 at 11:27 am
These are pretty spot on. I think a lot of people assume going into a freelance career that everything will be perfectly laid back and stress free…and will initially go to great lengths to “live it up” by lounging around in PJ’s all day, sleeping in until noon, etc. The fact is that if you’re going to be successful as a freelancer, you’re going to be running a BUSINESS. So much of what you had to say is about getting into that business mentality. It can be tough for us creative types at times, but being regimented and professional (even at home!) is a great way to make it work.
February 9th, 2010 at 11:40 am
I have to say I disagree with number 1. Though I don’t work in my PJs or underwear, I do wear sweatpants and a big baggy sweatshirt. That’s what I’m comfortable working in. I do 2-5, and 1 hasn’t affected my ability to be successful.
February 9th, 2010 at 11:41 am
Im guilty… of all of them…
But i’m trying to break the habit.. it really depends on the day, I could wake up and shower, brush my teeth and get changed, and start working.. Or i could sleep till 11 or 12, get up, stumble to the couch and work…
I should make something consistent im sure.
February 9th, 2010 at 12:06 pm
You make some great points Twitter Buddy ;)
Structure is key. Set up a schedule. Stick to it. Take frequent breaks. Every once in a while, switch up your sked.
So much of working at home is trial and error.
Working in PJ’s is OK as long as you’re inspired. Your feelings – level of inspiration, enthusiasm, or belief – are more important than anything else.
Thanks for sharing your insight.
DarrenFebruary 9th, 2010 at 12:17 pm
@Dave – nice link :-D, a little crude, but true nonetheless. No point hiding from it.
February 9th, 2010 at 12:23 pm
Guilty of a few of these….but it’s getting better :)
February 9th, 2010 at 12:32 pm
I combat #3 by having 2 dogs. I like to get out with them for a good 45 min. walk midday. But even if I’m slammed or the weather is bad, we can manage a mini-walk (once around the park across the street) for an easy break. If nothing else, the ‘boys’ interrupt me enough to pull me away from the computer for short breaks.
One of the things I do to combat the butt spread (and sore back) is to alternate my seating. I’ve got a reasonably ergonomic chair, one of those backless ‘kneeling’ chairs, and an exercise ball. I’ll switch up on what I sit during the day, and even work standing @ kitchen counter on laptop to get off my butt.
Though I don’t vacation often, I do let clients know I won’t be available during those days. Sure, I still spend time on the computer–but for my projects.
lisaFebruary 9th, 2010 at 12:40 pm
for mental and physical well being, a regular regimen of physical activity is a key item that should be scheduled in daily. it doesn’t need to be complicated. i go to the gym for only 30 minutes a day nearby my home office during any open time slot during my day….sometimes in am, sometimes in pm….whatever works around my other client and family committments. my goal is to go every day. most weeks i get there 6 days.
it helps to clear my head and get new ideas too.
February 9th, 2010 at 12:42 pm
Guilty of all 5 =/ *shame*
February 9th, 2010 at 12:43 pm
this is very real, good article
February 9th, 2010 at 12:46 pm
I share my home office with our cross trainer, it’s nice to look at – I should probably use it a bit in my 10 minute breaks that I don’t currently have!
February 9th, 2010 at 1:05 pm
Since going freelance one year ago, I work from the kitchen table. I dont wear a suit or work the office hours I used too. I find myself working long hours. I’ve done a few 12 hour shifts on 4 projects esp., when coming near end of the project. I hardy get any exercise whereas when I worked in an office I went to gym every morning for an hour. As for going on holidays… what are holidays??? I work the odd weekend! Oh ya, I’ve put on 2.5 stone in weight! :-/
February 9th, 2010 at 1:11 pm
Yes! I think I’m guilty of all of those pitfalls… Even knowing that I should avoid them, the temptation is too strong ;-)
February 9th, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Sorry, but you couldn’t get me out of my sweatpants if you tried when I work from home.
I agree with everything else though and also suggest lighting candles. For me, it just creates a warmer, nicer atmosphere & delicious scents!
February 9th, 2010 at 1:36 pm
While I haven’t gained weight (cross your fingers) I tend to work from 9 or 10 am to 10 pm or later – only taking a few minutes to make a sandwich for lunch and let the dogs out, and then about 30 minutes to cook dinner. I started getting bad headaches. While we sometimes have to pull all-dayers, we definitely need to take some breaks, even if it’s just going upstairs to get a drink and check your tweets.
February 9th, 2010 at 1:46 pm
I’ve been guilty of all of these at varying degrees throughout my freelance career. I recently discovered http://www.ergociser.com – a great little tool that pops up a reminder to stretch, flex or otherwise move on a schedule that you can set. Great for preventing repetitive stress injury and for getting the blood pumping every little bit.
I’ve also discovered that I do some of my best creative thinking when I’m not staring at a blinking cursor. For me, that means getting up and doing a lap or two around the yard while mulling over a headline/lead for a press release. Or, pacing in the living room while chatting with a client. For some reason, taking a shower also jump starts my creative juices — which helps with that whole hygiene issue too. : 0
February 9th, 2010 at 1:54 pm
I agree with #3 as far as sitting on your rear too long is bad, but I do not agree with the 50-90 minutes at a time statement. For me, I’ve found that putting in several hours in front of the computer, than getting up and out of the house (walking, hiking, gym, etc…) for several hours afterwards is more beneficial.
I say this because I’ve found that if you spend less total time, through out the day, on the computer, you can get yourself far more focused, and far more productive during less hours than if you spent all day on the computer breaking it up into little chunks.
This works great for me, but it’s on my opinion :)
February 9th, 2010 at 2:10 pm
I gained (and then lost) exactly 30 pounds in my first full year or two.
I don’t agree that working in your PJs (or sweats) has any effect on your demeanor while working at home. I conduct dozens of phone interviews in my sweats and Aero tee, and no one (subject, editor) is ever the wiser (well, at least, they keep calling me back!)
February 9th, 2010 at 2:22 pm
I’m actually guilty of all of those riiight now.
February 9th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
I am guilty of most of these. Since I am a stay-at-home Dad, I can’t sit in my chair all day. Things have to get done around the house and when my kids get home in the afternoons, I am always moving around doing something.
On #5, I do like to move around in places around the house that help me think more clearly like going out on the patio or in the living room instead of my home office.
Thanks for this great post :)
February 9th, 2010 at 2:37 pm
When I started, I was pretty bad. These days I’m only consistently guilty of not taking time off and not getting up to move around. For now, it’s the occasional day that I leave the office and park on the couch in the living room to give my brain a break. The Rebounder definitely needs a home by my desk! Since I have small kids and I’m a single parent, I make myself quit by 6p (have to pick them up by 6:30p) at the latest every day, and I rarely go back to the office after they’re in bed. It helps me to start my days fresh from a good night’s sleep.
February 9th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
Thanks for a great post. I’ve been guilty of most of these at one time or another, and I still have trouble taking enough time off. A round with the physical therapists permanently cured me of #3, though. I stretch after every hour and walk around every couple of hours. It’s made a huge difference in my pain level and ability to concentrate.
February 9th, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Nicely Done.. Its Really fun reading your article.
February 9th, 2010 at 3:48 pm
Once again, another excellent post! Thank you very much!
I am guilty of all these habits. So, now, I tend to pay attention to the way I work. Overall, my productivity hasn’t changed much, but my frame of mind is different now. The 30-pound example is very true. It happened to me! lol
February 9th, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Great post. I half disagree (half agree) with #1. I have a ritual where I get up around 7am, make espresso and work at my desk until around 11:30 or 12. I take a break to shower and eat, maybe walk the dog and then go back to work. The hard part for me is separating in the evening. Sometimes I have to get out of the house for at least a half hour to make the transition.
February 9th, 2010 at 4:48 pm
yes, i am guilty….
February 9th, 2010 at 4:54 pm
Working in your undies is what freelancing is all about :P
February 9th, 2010 at 6:30 pm
Perusing through the above comments and reflecting on my own habits, I’m most guilty of not working set hours — for instance, sometimes my best content is written in the mornings but othertimes in the late evenings. It all depends on mood, metabolics, and mental energy. ;)
I do tend to wear some semblance of non-pajamas and am more productive as a result. I also find that having low-volume iTunes songs playing are less distracting than a low-volume TV while I do other work.
February 9th, 2010 at 10:14 pm
Yes, is true;
work from home is great, but sometimes you need to see the world outside
maybe take a couple of hours to visit clients, go to the market etc.
my bad habit is the TV.
and my best ally is my dog, taking him for a walk help me think and see things from other perspective.
February 10th, 2010 at 1:15 am
Awesome article and a must read for all “work at home’ professionals!
February 10th, 2010 at 3:54 am
I’m definitely guilty of wearing my pjs and not getting up often enough to scratch. I guess I have to start adopting these routines into my daily work time. Great tips! Now I can an excuse to cuddle with my dog and cats more.
February 10th, 2010 at 4:35 am
I think taking regular breaks is really good advice, just ten minutes or so here and there. I tend not to do this and so end up clogging my brain.
Also I would add getting to bed early to make the most of the next day (facilitates getting up early the next day also).
February 10th, 2010 at 5:00 am
There are some essential key points raised here and ones that should be followed to maximise productivity and creativity. Freelancing from home obviously brings many benefits, but after reading this article it seems there are also an equal amount of pitfalls and traps to fall into.
I think the biggest point here is the set works hours one. If you are a freelancer you will work all kinds of hours, taking full advantage of your flexibility. However I think this can easily lead to working at silly hours, such as starting late at night and working through to the early hours of the morning. Restraint is definitely needed here.
I’m intrigued to read the comments regarding this article and see how freelancers feel about the points raised, how many of them have fallen into the stated pitfalls and if this article is a genuine reflection of the characteristics that come with being a freelancer.
February 10th, 2010 at 6:09 am
I am guilt all except 1, though during the start I used to work in Pajamas and T-Shirts with holes.. but then I found its killing my creativity. So now I take shower and get dressed properly and hence I am being more productive then working in Pajamas.
February 10th, 2010 at 6:41 am
Guilty as charged. Except on 5. I do have a good office/workspace.
However, I am making an effort to vacation a bit more this year. Having a good assistant has given me the confidence I need in order to do this.
February 10th, 2010 at 7:45 am
February 10th, 2010 at 10:32 am
I must admit that the first time i had been a full time freelancer i had it all. I didn’t missed on of this 5 “sins”, but now, i am able to avoid them all, is a mater of discipline, i guess.
This is an extremely useful article for newcomers.
February 10th, 2010 at 12:13 pm
What a great post!
I’ve been working from home for about 7 years now, and contrary to what people think, the home office is not necessarily the most productive place!
I’m probably one of the worst people at getting out of my PJ’s – the temptation is just too strong to get to the computer and start working. Before you know it, it’s midday!!
Related to this is of course not having predefined working hours. Though this is one of the benefits of working from home, for me this hinders my productivity because of other domestic distractions – grocery shopping, picking up kids from school etc. Sometimes, though I also work way more than I should which is also not good!
My home office is a total mess, LOL.
Great article. Made me think!
February 10th, 2010 at 8:12 pm
I’m guilty of 1 and 5. Since I go to school full time, I usually have to start my homework after 3pm and it’s night time when I start client work, so I am usually in my PJs with a cup of tea relaxing.
I’m guilty of #5 because my computer desk is in the living room of my house and I don’t have a laptop, so I’m stuck here with the TV and the gaming consoles next to me.
Nonetheless, if you can find a way to focus and be able to work, I think these habits aren’t too bad.
Lynda PalimasFebruary 11th, 2010 at 3:28 am
I quickly found out that getting up, getting dressed, having a good workspace kept my mind in the work mode and helped my productivity. What I did have a problem with, and I still do, is making sure I take time off and relax a little. Because I am at home, I somehow always manage to overlook scheduling days off or vacations; now it seems that I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Something I know I need to address because everybody needs a little relaxation occasionally to keep the spirits up. At first I really enjoyed the prospect of choosing my work hours according to my schedule. I am a night owl and am perfectly content-and at my most productive-working away at 2, 3 or 4 a.m. However that freedom to work at night lost some of its appeal when I starting allowing it to be working at night followed by working at day followed by . . . So thank you for this article. Good food for thought.
February 11th, 2010 at 5:49 am
I can agree with all your points – because I’m socialized the same way like you. We have learned that we have to separate work from spare time to be more productive. But, do we have a real prove for it? If not – nobody should apologize to break every rule you mentioned. Because, in those cases the individual has chosen the optimal way to do his the job.
I can also disagree with all your points – if I compare work at home with a regular office job. Even if I break every rule you mentioned I still have total control of how the job is done. That is a central part of efficiency to me.
So, I suggest to all readers to think about what is *your* personal performance behavior. The comments already show that each person has a different view on this. We have to accept that there are people out there who are more productive even breaking all the rules.
Maybe breaking the rules helps to be more productive. Who really knows this?
February 11th, 2010 at 9:42 am
Good Article the thought that being able to work in your PJ’s was a plus, I guess I missed that one you do make a great point on this as I set here now in mine since I am home at this moment. I do have to work on 1 or 2 of the others again great article.
February 11th, 2010 at 12:34 pm
So true.. and yes.. guilty.. but, since I found a great friend, client, boss, I am beginning to move on, taking the next steps for better work and for a better life.. :)
February 11th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
Guilty of clicking on distracting links that are badly written and offer nothing new. Sorry, but guilty!
February 11th, 2010 at 5:18 pm
I’m convinced that the reason you gain weight when working from home isn’t solely down to snacking. It’s because you’ve gotten rid of so much stress – commuting, co-workers, managers, office politics, office nonsense, and commuting again – that you’re not a tense ball of anger all the time. In that case, a little weight gain is quite welcome.
February 11th, 2010 at 5:51 pm
I am guilty of most of these, much to my shame.
It wasn’t until I read this though, that I actually though of it as being bad. The danger with working from home (certainly for me) is the lack of any kind of structure to my working day. I run an online shop, so some days I can be pretty busy, and other days not so much, and it can be difficult to get motivated when I need to. I think that just by tidying the office a bit & making the effort to get out of the jimmy-jams, it will make a big difference, and put me in work mode…
This has inspired me to make some changes in the way I work. I know what I need to make me more productive, but I guess as I am falling prey to 3 (possibly 4…) of the above and not exactly doing myself any favours in not being motivated to do anything about it!! A vicious circle!
I do work to specific times though, at least in that respect I have some sense of structure, but often I will do over time, and especially if I have an order, I will continue working into the night.
This has really helped point out what I can do to make myself more productive though, even if it is just making an effort & dragging myself out of my pyjamas ;)
By the way, anyone else who is a pyjama wearer-worker – Do you feel the same as me & think that having a shower in the morning & getting dressed etc is cutting into your working day? I seriously need to get out of that mindset!
I should point out that I have a bath in the evening, I don’t just sit around festering the whole time!!
February 12th, 2010 at 3:58 am
I’ve dealt with each bad habit. I initially wanted to live out a fantasy of just floating around the house and doing “what I wanted, when I wanted” once I quit my job and began working from home. This basically kept me broke and scratching my head until I started reading blogs like this and everyone said the same things about bad home office habits. The hardest one so far has been the set work hours which I’m still working on. Just remodeled the office and it has made me much more productive, confident and creative. Now I have to work on the bad habit of not wanted to leave the office and take a break from sitting in the chair all day (gazing at the new office!). I feel that this post was right on point and well worth retweeting!! :)
February 12th, 2010 at 3:32 pm
Points one to three are perks of working from home, surely?
The only issue not mentioned here is the inevitable ‘cabin fever’ most homeworkers suffer from when working from home and not leaving the house at the end of the day.
February 12th, 2010 at 3:43 pm
Guilty to all of these, but some more than others. :) As time goes on though I’m sticking to a more regular schedule, and a better work/life balance. One guilty habit I’d add is never getting out of the house. I don’t do it much now that its colder outside, but in the warmer months I like to go work at a library or cafe to 1) get out of my apartment and 2) force myself into a more regular work schedule and get me out of my PJ’s.
February 12th, 2010 at 4:41 pm
I am guilty, at various levels! Taking a break during the day is my biggest problem. I do have a set work space, and I have made it a strong point not to turn the TV on until 6, but I do listen to music, that is a must have for me. Weight gain is so true, that comes from not taking a break, but Progression!
February 12th, 2010 at 9:39 pm
I try to mix up my work space. Here’s what I mean, I have a home office (it’s clean, large desk and productive) but if I don’t have any webinars scheduled for the day, then I head out to a local cafe or to go co-work with other entrepreneurs. Change of scenery is always productive!
And when I’m away to speak at an event, I try to give myself “me time” to relax and enjoy the city I’m in (this is my mini-vacation for the work that I do).
February 13th, 2010 at 6:14 pm
@Lexi Rodrigo Yes I am guilty of replying to email and answering the phone while on vacation. I will let them know that I will take care of whatever the issue is when I return. I don’t spend all day on the computer when I am on vacation though. Usually just reply before bed. If one calls and I was waiting on something before I left, I will answer but most will go to VM.
February 13th, 2010 at 7:24 pm
My opinion is as long as the job gets done, and the clients are happy, who cares if you’re in your pajamas?
February 14th, 2010 at 7:46 am
Ah yep, I scored 3 out of 5 there.
I supposed unproductive space might also count but I’ve managed to train myself not to let the tv distract me, despite the lure of 500 cable channels.
February 15th, 2010 at 6:56 am
I cant agree more.
I am now finding my set hours and have managed it around the chores that I need to do around the house like picking up kids etc. Also having your “home office” is a must unless you are super disciplined.
When we moved houses I was working on the couch for about a month and that was the worst month for me in terms of productivity. The kids took it as an open invitation to disturb me and also the TV sitting there was a big distraction.
Now I have my Office Room, in a separate room, with the closed door. It really helps that it is a semi detached from the house as well.
One thing that I have not taken for a while is a holiday. The only holiday that I took after I became a freelancer was a three day long weekend a few months ago, I think it is time that I take another.
February 15th, 2010 at 8:35 am
:) I really liked this article. When I worked from home at my previous employment I did all these things including gaining 30 pounds!!
February 16th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
Work from home, work from a coffee house, just get work done!! A schedule does help…
February 18th, 2010 at 1:46 pm
Thanks for another great article! It is true we have to set a schedule for ourselves and take frequent breaks. I have two dogs so they are my reason for taking breaks and giving myself a good exercise break whether I like it or not!
Brian JensenFebruary 24th, 2010 at 2:29 am
I’m working on a concept for a coworking cafe for those times you want to get out of the home office but don’t want to pay for more than a coffee or sandwich. If you have a moment, I would really appreciate you helping me by taking a short (10 question) survey to help me explore the idea.
February 24th, 2010 at 10:11 am
We were going through all this, and as much as I like working in my PJs and clocking on at about 4 in the afternoon I recognised too that it was effecting my productivity, creativity and social skills.
Myself and my colleagues broke out of this by setting up FunkBunk – a coworking workhub near London that gives shelter to stray homeworkers, small businesses and freelancers.
Since then it’s all been on the up, and I love the occasional days I work from home rather than feeling trapped : )
Sharing the load, sharing the work and feeling like we are all moving forward is a better experience than we could have possibly imagined.
February 27th, 2010 at 2:22 pm
1 – the beauty of freelancing, you can work at any way you looked. I don’t think that’s a bad habit. Why wear so professional looking when you’re just at home? If you’re at home then be feel at home. It is actually my main reason of freelancing. I feel so free.
I’m pretty much on the rest. But I don’t think it’s a bad habit as long as you’re very productive enough. But still nice post.
February 27th, 2010 at 4:05 pm
I run education websites and I am guilty of first 4. I use desktop and it has own custom computer table. So I have my fixed working space.
February 28th, 2010 at 3:39 am
I am guilty of never taking vacations (the last one was 2005), and working in my PJs until well after noon on the days I don’t go the the gym. I also need to start setting work hours too. Thank you for these reminders!
March 1st, 2010 at 11:51 pm
Guilty of #2. I don’t work in my pj’s, but only because my ragged jeans are more comfortable :)
Not having set working hours is the main reason I work at home. I do prefer working at night though.
There are times when I really don’t get up from my chair all night, but luckily I have my bike for the days I’m not too tired from staring at the computer.
#4 is not for me… I love my job a lot, but every now and then I enjoy getting some me-time, usually in the mountains – I hike all day, sleep out in the open and eat cans and blueberries. And no, I don’t take my laptop with me :)
And finally about #5 – there’s no place more comfortable for me than my room, so I’ve put everything I need in there (except for the fridge and the coffee maker – they’re all the way across the apartment so I can have a reason to stretch my legs).
March 3rd, 2010 at 5:58 pm
I am guilty of numbers 1, 2, and 5. I definitely need to work on these things, especially having no set work hours. It is hard to schedule work hours while being in college and working from home, but I imagine I could do a little better than I do now.
March 5th, 2010 at 7:19 am
I accept the no. 3 . I have that problem that I am always working with computer without taking any small break. I think it may cause some health hazards.
March 12th, 2010 at 7:22 am
LOL, your article absolutely is my life style now…. I’ll wait your next article maybe no 6 up to 13 bad habits again…. :-)
April 15th, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Ouch ….. this was very confronting. I don’t make a 5 out of 5 score but a lot of your points are very recognizable. Thanks for the great article. From time to time I work outside of the house which I consider a good thing. I try to eat healthy stuff because with good health comes good work and inspiration. We should never forget that with the great power of being freelancer comes great responsibility.
WowieMay 21st, 2010 at 11:16 pm
I am so guilty of most of these things. Although I am trying to improve on them.
June 14th, 2010 at 2:56 pm
OMG I am so guilty.. from one to five… im really guilty..
i need to change my lifestyle so bad
October 11th, 2010 at 9:40 am
I think these are bad habits for many people — not just people who work at home.
December 19th, 2010 at 6:27 pm
I think these are bad habits for many people
not just people who work at home.
December 19th, 2010 at 6:29 pm
December 27th, 2010 at 6:37 am
sometimes it’s hard to keep going but hey, thta’s what business is like.
December 28th, 2010 at 10:35 pm
I’m so guilty of 3 points: not having set hours, not getting a vacation, and working in a non-productive space. And although I’ve been doing this for a long time already, I still haven’t completely found my groove.
May 5th, 2011 at 12:25 pm
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February 9th, 2012 at 4:39 am
Hi, this is a great blog!
February 20th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
Number 5 is huge. Our company started out of my basement. Productivity has increased dramatically since moving into office space
February 23rd, 2012 at 7:17 am
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