Let’s dig in to one of my first, most significant growing pains after I started working from home. As I’ve mentioned before, switching from working in a corporate office environment to working remotely was a huge relief. While this change was certainly a crucial step towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, an equilibrium of all things personal and all things work related wasn’t instantly created.
It would be fair to say that when I started working from home, I was a bit too focused on work. Home quickly became my prison and my computer the ball and chain. How did I end up in such a situation? Well, I fell into this trap because I didn’t have all the right tools lined up at the start. More importantly, I failed to actually take some time to outline my own schedule. I know it sounds extremely ridiculous. Who fights for the freedom of telecommuting only to forfeit the vast majority of potential perks by staying home 24/7 glued to their computer working? Me. I did that.
So, for the bigger question - how did I get out of this humdrum existence? I began by improving my communication with those I work with. I posted general hours of availability and made sure to let my team know of any day-to-day changes in my schedule. I also got into the habit of setting alarms for myself, which helped me to keep track of my hours and know when to call it a day.
Next came retail therapy. As soon as my budget allowed for it, I went out and purchased a new computer. A small, lightweight, efficient, travel-friendly laptop to be used solely for work. With this, my office expanded to anywhere a WiFi connection was available. However, as work became more demanding, it was clear that my new computer wasn’t enough.
To stay connected and keep moving forward in developing a flexible schedule, I decided to upgrade my smartphone and add a mobile hotspot and high quality earphones to my toolbox. Suddenly, my office had no boundaries. I participated in team meetings while walking my dogs, put final touches on assignments at rest stops while road tripping around the country, and conducted research and ran reports while hanging out at a local park.
Working from my mother-in-law's home office in Utah … not plotting to take over the world (as all great super villains seem to have a cat).
In looking back at what I’ve just written, I realize that maybe I still haven’t found perfect balance, but I’ve definitely made progress. I’m more conscious of the time I put in for work, am more communicative in regards to my schedule and I have the basic tools needed to take my work anywhere. So, cheers to busting out of prison.