My desk is situated in front of a large window. It’s wonderful because I get to see outside, watch the wildlife, see the weather change, and otherwise pretend that I’m not sitting inside. It’s also horrible because it can make focusing on work much more challenging. It’s so tempting to head outside and enjoy the Florida weather when the sun is shining. This is just one of the many challenges that I face when working from home.
Distractions abound when you work from home. Seriously, I head to the kitchen for a drink, and suddenly I’m emptying the dishwasher. Go to the bathroom, and I’m refilling the toilet paper. I hear the delivery truck, and I’m walking outside to get the mail or a package. I look outside the window at my desk, and I find myself outside watering my plants. If I let all of these temptations catch me, I could be busy all day and never get any real work done. Then it’s 6 pm, and my husband is coming home from the gym, and I need to start dinner.
I find it’s best not to fight the temptations. Instead, I schedule time for them. That way, they don’t eat away at the back of my brain while I try to focus on work. In the morning, I’ll take 30 minutes to do any house chores that are pending. Then in the afternoon, I take another 30 minutes to get the mail and check on my plants. Taking this approach comes with several benefits. Having a specific scheduled time allows me to focus on work because I know there’s a dedicated time when I’ll get these tasks done. Having a scheduled time also gives me a break from writing, which helps me stay mentally fresh and more productive.
Working from home gives me the freedom to work with clients anywhere in the world. The downside of this is that it’s harder to network with people. I have tried going to local events, but I find them to be more of an excuse to eat and drink. They aren’t useful for me. Instead of traditional and outdated forms of networking, I find virtual networking to be more effective. This could be participating in online industry boards or providing guidance to business owners that are looking for insight into how they could improve their content marketing efforts.
This challenge doesn’t affect me as much as others. I tend to work better on my own, so working as an independent contractor from home is a good fit for me. I never enjoyed the forced politics and schmoozing that’s required when working in a corporate office. I’m also lucky enough to work from home with my husband. His employer allows him to work from home. We have desks situated next to each other. So if I feel like I need some social interaction, I can turn and talk to him. I also make an effort to be social with friends, family, and neighbors.
When you work for a company and head to the office every day, there’s typically an IT person whose job it is to keep the technology up and running. When you work from home, you are the technology department. I have experienced power outages, internet outages, and a laptop that decided to suddenly and completely die. I have developed contingency plans for when technology fails me. That way, I can quickly adapt and adjust without too much downtime. For example, I have a spare laptop that acts as a backup. Should either of us have a laptop that goes down, we have the spare that we can fire up and start working on. If our internet goes down, we know where we can go locally to have reliable internet access.
The struggle is real when it comes to staying motivated. I write a high volume of content day after day, week after week, and month after month. Eventually, I experience burnout. All motivation is gone, and it’s a monumental struggle to write a sentence. I still love what I do, but I feel mentally zapped. I’ve tried to struggle my way through these phases, but that’s the worst thing you can do. It only makes the situation worse. Instead, I accept that I have no motivation, and I go do something else for the day. This much-needed break helps me to feel mentally refreshed. I can then come back to my writing the next day, ready to write.
Work and Personal Life Balance
I love what I do, so time seems to fly by while I’m writing. While it’s great that I wake up each day excited to do my job, it does have some drawbacks. For example, I get lost in what I’m writing, and suddenly, the day is over, and it’s time to stop. If I’m not careful, I end up spending all of my time writing. Then my work begins to creep into my personal life. Sometimes, the exact opposite happens, and my personal life creeps into my work life. As a result, I find myself taking care of personal issues, and the entire day slips away, and I haven’t gotten any work done.
I Love Working as a Freelance Writer
While many challenges come with being an independent contractor working from home, I feel incredibly lucky to have found this career. I wake up each day looking forward to getting to work. I enjoy working with clients who allow me the freedom to be creative.