Working from Home – it’s not for the weak!

Laura Office

Disclosure: I don’t use a Dell 😉

 

I can’t tell you how many times I get asked “How do you hold yourself accountable when you work from home?” or “Don’t you just end up watching TV or doing housework, instead?”  And I can honestly tell you, the answer is NO.  I set my schedule and I follow it because I know that if I fail to make money, the only person to suffer is me and the only person to blame is me. If you aren’t a disciplined person, If you aren’t the type of person who knows how to prioritize and form productive habits, working from home most likely isn’t for you.

To provide a little more insight on both the freedom and responsibilities of working from home, I wrote this short article:


 

Many people feel passionate about working from home because it gives you the liberty of choosing your own working hours and being your own boss (or at least feeling as if you’re your own boss). Moreover, you may also decide to work on weekends to earn some extra cash (picking up freelancing jobs in your area of expertise, or developing your next product) and do a range of different tasks in a day to increase your revenue (no revenue cap is so seductive, isn’t it?). However, one of the biggest drawbacks of working from home is the large number of distractions around including household chores, people – especially kids (even the ones with fur) who make it difficult for you to concentrate on your work, unexpected and unbearably long phone calls, and many other things.

All these distractions reduce your productivity when working from home. Here are some tips to stay more focused, avoid the distractions, and be more productive when working from home:

  • Find a place in your home where you feel more relaxed and more away from distractions; such as, a secluded corner in your bedroom or a separate couch in the living room where there is not much traffic, or even dedicate an entire room to being your office if possible.
  • Depending on the nature of your work, keep all the tools and equipment you require so that when there is a need to use one of these things, you don’t find yourself lost and frustrated. I personally have a desk with a large monitor, my notebooks, daily planner, books for reference, and recording equipment all in one room, ready to be used. The only thing I move around is my laptop.
  • If the sound of TV or radio distracts you from work, turn off these things. Better yet, don’t allow yourself to turn them on until you’ve completed your day’s work.
  • Keep your laptop fully charged so that whenever you get time, no matter how little, you don’t have to wait or find a place where the laptop could be connected to the charger to start working. Or if you’re like me, keep charges plugged in and ready to use in the areas you’re most likely to work in. Aside from my dedicated office space, I also keep a charger by the couch. Even after my “work hours” I’m always available to assist customers, so my laptop is with me while I’m watching the news or unwinding with Netflix.
  • Even if working from home allows you to have flexible working hours, you still need to follow a proper routine. I don’t have children, so my schedule revolves solely around me and the needs of the company. My personal schedule is wake, coffee, shower, mascara (yep, it’s important for these blonde lashes), work, exercise, dinner, relax (reading, researching for work, or TV) and I mostly leave playing/fun for the weekends. If you have children, or other responsibilities you’ll need to adjust your schedule accordingly. Let your significant other know that household chores and running errands cannot happen during your work hours. Set boundaries. There is so much flexibility with working from home, but structure and prioritizing is imperative. So, getting more organized also helps you to be more productive while working from home.

 

Do any of you work from home and if so, what are your tips for staying productive?

Pick ME!

Flower Stands out

Remember the days when you were standing outside on the playground and there were two captains, picking teams to play kickball. Everyone stood silently as one by one, the teammates were chosen. No one wanted to be the last to be picked and no one wanted to show how important it was to be first. Silently, we waited while loudly our minds screamed “Pick Me!”

The times in my life where I was the last to be chosen aren’t many, but each one stung and burned in ways that made me understand that I am competitive by nature. I don’t view life or love as games, but I so badly want to win in them both. So, how do you win if you don’t want to play? Simply said – it can’t be done. So you choose, to be a spectator or to get on the game field and wait to be picked. Now I’ve never been one for waiting around, so I’m always practicing, honing my skills, trying to perfect my crafts of living and loving, ultimately trying to put myself in the top spot – the first to be picked. I want that spot and I want everyone to know that I won. That’s right – I’ve got an ego and she is big, but I’ve also got a heart and she is strong, so together they make one competitive, confident, talented, skill-honing woman who is still standing secretly thinking “Pick Me!”

A Blur in My Mirror

Using a rearview mirror to see

 

Last April, someone told me that I couldn’t live life looking through the rearview mirror. At the time, I wasn’t living in the past, I was simply stating what was unacceptable in my life -a been there, done that kind of thing. The person I conversed with was adamant that my stating “oh, no – I’ve already lived through that once” meant that I couldn’t move forward without hauling the past with me. WRONG!

Now, I’ll admit that you don’t want to drive while looking through the review mirror for extended periods of time, but it’s there for a reason. Tonight – that very reason, from the same conversation in April looked me dead in the eye. She was stunning! And let me tell you – I was completely correct when I defended someone I had never met. I had been there, I had done that and I was right in saying what I said.

Tonight, when I met “said person” I was so glad that I hadn’t been talked out of using my mirrors to determine dangerous blind spots. I was blind, but not to the goodness of this wonderful person. I move ahead by looking through the windshield, but that mirror to look behind you is there for a reason – if only to remind you what you’re leaving behind and how much better you’ll be because of it! A friendship was forged today, but the makings of it began last spring. And we both have used our mirrors to move forward – to bigger and better places.

“The past is like using your rear-view mirror in the car, it’s good to glance back and see how far you’ve come, but if you stare too long you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.”

All Days End in “Why”

Why

It seems as if I find myself asking the question “why?” more and more these days. I have so many unanswered questions that I believe I may have grown accustomed to accepting “that’s just the way it is” or “no one knows” as answers, when before I would have never swallowed that down. Maybe it’s age that makes us begin to simply accept certain things in life, but I don’t believe it’s maturity. Time may teach us to stop asking the same questions over and over again, but what have we learned other than digression?

I know life doesn’t come with a manual that explains what to do when something goes awry, but wouldn’t it be great if it did? I don’t want life to be pre-written, or even to have a way around my mistakes I’ve made in the past, or the ones I’m bound to make in the future; I’d simply like a thorough explanation every once in a while.

We spend so much of our lives justifying our actions (even if it’s in our subconscious). We give celebratory gifts for milestones in our neighbors, cousins life because it’s expected. We attend events that we don’t care about because we need to make an appearance. We set career goals and strive for certain things because it’s ingrained in our culture to do better and better. The sad thing is, we rarely even question this out loud because we’ve already settled that score with our minds – it’s what we do. But, what about the times when we’ve done something and even though we vaguely recall the beginning of why we did it, we can’t seem to get to the end of why. What about when we make mistakes as adults – it’s like writing in pen. There’s no eraser to just wipe it away and correct it immediately. Why are we allowed to mess up in permanent marker? We’re human and we make mistakes – we were designed this way. We hurt each other, we trip over our own feet, we cry when we’re happy, we get confused and sometimes we just F*#k it up! We aren’t perfect and we know that we aren’t, yet we expect others to be. Why?

We hope and pray and cross our fingers that someone else in this world will love us even though we are flawed. And we believe that they will because, most of us, know we are good people who are out here doing our best at least 99% of the time. We know we’re trying to get it right – we wear our hearts on our sleeves and we smile through our fears and we fight our battles (some proudly, some silently) and we give it everything we’ve got. Yet, there are times that we find ourselves face down in the mud. We’re here and we know we’ve somehow gotten ourselves here, but we can’t quite recall how it seemed to be that the rain started when we were ten feet deep in a hole that we fell in by thinking we could jump over. Because that’s how it is – you see it coming and you think you can face it head on, so you build yourself up and you run and you gain strength and feel the wind on your face so you just let go and leap – and sometimes – you come crashing down. You land on your tush with a thud and you’re ok – it wasn’t what you wanted, but you’re ok. So you pick yourself up and you look at the climb you’ve got to make to get back to where you were and you’re ready to go, but then…the rain starts and you just can’t get out of the hole that you’re in. This is the way of life at times….but why? Why do we have to wait for it to dry out before we can gain our footing again?

I’m out of my hole now, but before me stands a huge mountain. I’m not afraid of the climb, but I hate having to do it alone. I hate it! I hate, hate, hate it! and then I laugh, because I don’t have that much hate in me to be consistent – I just want the hand that fits into mine to be there to hold it. I’m not asking for a hand-out, just a hand-hold. But here I am – climbing in the dark on my own and it hurts. So I swallow the pain down and put one foot in front of the other because what else am I going to do – give up?

As many “whys?” as I have now, I’m not turning around. There’s the promise of sunrise at the top of this mountain and I’m not going to miss it. I’ve a lot of ground to cover and time seems to be running short. This time, I’m leaving my questions here, by choice, and traveling light.

I have a heart full of love, a body of faith, a mind with a set path, and relentless will. I don’t need a pack of baggage. I know where I need to be.

Today may end in “y” – but there’s no question, only movement.

Divas Half Marathon

Diva Half MarathonDiva Half Marathon Medal 2015

Laura and Leah Diva Half 2015Diva SeriesAfter Diva Half

 

 

I love to run! It’s such a great way to get out and away from my computer and rock out to some tunes.
I prefer running 5 miles or less, but sign up for the occasional half marathon or 10K to prove to myself that I can do it (barely). This year my second half marathon was the Diva, which I ran with (or several miles behind) my friend, Leah. She’s like a cheetah and I ate her dust!

I’m not very fast and I’m not one of those girls that can run 13.1 miles and finish looking cute. I finish looking like a wet rat – nasty hair, squinty, sweat filled eyes, and the look of “WTH did I just do” on my face (see pictures). And then I have a cold one, or 3 (see pictures where I try to hide it behind my leg). I mean how the (bleep) else am I supposed to deal with the fact that I want to fall on my face and drink water out of the nearest mud puddle while everyone else around me is all bubbly and happy because we only ran half a marathon?

But seriously, I love it.

#workhardplayhard