When I was chugging away in corporate America, the idea to work from home was absolutely dreamy. Sign me up for ditching anything related to stuffy business-casual attire, meetings that could’ve been handled as emails, and rigid 9-to-5 work hours. I imagined sleeping ’til 10 and yoga classes at noon and mimosas for the rest of the day as I happily tapped away on my computer.
Sure, chasing dreams from the comfort of home does offer some pretty rad perks and flexibility… But it’s a whole lot more dirty hair, three days of wearing the same sweatshirt, and trying to balance family, emails, taking the dog for a walk, maybe spraying a little dry shampoo, and, oh yeah, running and growing your business amid it all.
If you’re on your way to pivoting from a desk job to full-time solo hustle, these are the four things you really need to know to transition smoothly, or at least realistically, to work-from-home life.
Time management is real, and you may want to learn it — fast.
When you finally have the freedom of working for your favorite person — you — you’ll wake up every morning feeling like the angels are singing hallelujah. Maybe you take a walk or run a couple errands before picking up a perfectly frothy iced latte.
Before you know it, half your day is gone, and you’ve hardly even looked at your laptop, let alone opened it. This is the equal blessing and curse of working from home. That long-awaited freedom comes a-singin’ every day, and even though you finally LOVE what you do and adore building your biz, it’s not always easy to create a routine and get stuff done.
Time management looks a bit different for everyone, and it’s constantly changing. Now that we have a little one on our hands, I’ve shifted things in my business so that I can spend my mornings with Conley and do the majority of my work in the afternoon. But that doesn’t mean switching my focus from mom to business owner is any easier.
Find that groove that works best for you, and then keep at it every day. Time management is a muscle that grows over time; it’s not an overnight, one-and-done thing that you just automatically get the hang of… Give yourself grace to mess up and stumble as you go, because I can promise there will be puh-lenty of roots and rocks causing you to trip along the way. And that’s okay.
You’ll find yourself wanting to NOT work from home.
Sometimes, especially now as a mom, it’s all I can do to even sit down at my computer to respond to one person. Like, the laptop is RIGHT there, but I have a hundred things I need or want to do before I can even think of opening it.
It feels like I’m juggling it all, and a few minutes of solid work just seem like a faraway notion some days. The laundry is piling up, and my dogs are giving me that sad “please walk me” face. I have a hundred unanswered emails, and who even knows the last time I made it to the gym. Plus, there’s a whole extra human in our mix to take care of and endlessly snuggle!
Don’t get me wrong — I love our new crazy. But to actually sit down and focus for an uninterrupted period of time, without all the distractions, is borderline impossible many days. Even though I’m living this go-go-go entrepreneur lifestyle, occasionally I need space away from home to actually get anything done.
Coffee shops, and even the library or a bookstore, are my saving grace. For real, just getting out of the house (yep, the place I SO desperately wanted to work from for years!) gives me a chance to concentrate and channel all of my energy into knocking a few things off my to-do list.
More often than not, real clothes just ain’t going to happen.
Okay, okay, this is most days. And honestly? Yoga pants and cozy tees are sort of my favorite thing about working from home. I was never a pantsuit or everyday-blouse-sporting kind of gal, anyway. A cute outfit’s fun for a date night, but it’s soft clothes or bust the rest of the time.
Really, too, when you work for yourself, your priorities just shift a bit. I don’t need or want to spend my time worrying about what to wear. I want to be comfortable! I want to show up with big ideas and interesting approaches and wild dreams, not wonder whether my shirt matches my shoes.
If a messy knot on top of my head and pants that feel like butter allow me to do that? Then, so be it.
You’ll learn to get very creative.
Did you know I record my podcasts in a closet to drown out baby giggles and dog barks? Cue the “in the closet” jokes. But really, it’s the best system and sound for the podcast, so we’ve made it work! Even if I have to cram myself into a tight space for an hour every week.
You’ll find that your work life may not look “normal” to other people, but you have to figure out what works for YOU. Maybe you prefer working from your bed (can I get an amen?), or take conference calls in the garage to make sure you don’t wake up napping kiddos.
It could be learning to outsource, enlisting the help of your design pro or IT expert sibling, or working odd hours so you can make school runs. Whatever your normal is, even if it doesn’t look normal to others, embrace it and rock it.
Work from home people might not experience the glamorous all-day happy hours and spa sessions of your daydreams, but it sure beats staring at your computer glossy-eyed and bored out of your mind from working toward someone else’s vision. It’s messy and it’s challenging and it’s a whole lot of fun working on fulfilling your craziest and biggest goals, and that’s kind of a better dream, isn’t it?