Friday: The Biggest Lie About Working From Home

When you tell people you work from home, you get one of two reactions.

1. “Oh that’s nice” AKA “I’m so sorry you’re broke.”

This reaction can come from your family members or complete strangers. People fundamentally misunderstand that working at home is an actual job. We usually have an office, we work eight hours a day and often longer. We have a harder time balancing work and life outside of it since they all bleed together. And no, we aren’t broke. 

2. “It’s so nice that you can afford to stay at home” AKA “It’s so nice that you can afford to stay at home and do nothing”

This reaction presumes that when you work from home, you are actually having a big old party all day long. While working from home does have some benefits and may feel like quite the party for introverts, it’s far from “doing nothing”. Not everyone who works from home is doing it simply because they’re so loaded that they can afford to.

These two common misconceptions both play into the #1 biggest lie about working from home:

Working from home is easier (and you should feel bad about that). 

It would be a total lie to claim that working from home is always easy or that it’s always hard. Some weeks, I pull unhealthy shifts and I obsess over work constantly. Some weeks, I can finish my work before noon and spend the afternoon continuing my education for my career or just enjoying the natural beauty of the island that I live on.

The truth is, working from home can be a lot harder than otherwise because usually…

1. You’re your own boss

You don’t have anyone to tell you what to do or when to do it. There’s no one to supervise you and make sure you’re staying on task. If you make a mistake, there’s no one to swoop in and help you fix it. You’re all on your own. While this can be pleasant and preferred for introverts and those who work best in solitude, this solitude comes with some downsides. You absorb all the negative consequences of risks that you may take, poor decisions or simply bad luck. Being your own boss isn’t only about keeping yourself in check and reaping rewards. There are very real, negative consequences that you can face.

2. You’re scarily good at pretending you’re not working when you really are

I can’t tell you the number of times I will “sneak work” outside of work hours. I mean, it’s easy when my work is on my cellphone and on my laptop, neither of which leave my side. It’s so simple for me to check my work Instagram and justify it by saying “Instagram isn’t really work”. Hint: If you’re looking at analytics of any kind, you might just be working. The boundaries between work and relaxation are so thin that sometimes you feel like there’s something wrong with your obsession. A lot of entrepreneurs glamorize this, but I want to acknowledge how unhealthy this behavior is! When you work from home you can fall into this trap and since you’re your own boss, it can be harder to get out of. (Which boss doesn’t try to sneak in extra over time?) 

3. You struggle with perfectionism

This isn’t specifically caused by working from home but it’s something I’ve noticed in a lot of millennials who work from home. We struggle with perfectionism. We put off new projects and we reject new ideas if we think they don’t measure up to what our idea of “perfect” is. Given that online spaces are so prone to comparison, we may spend an excessive amount of time comparing ourselves to our “#goals” on social media. This struggle with perfectionism may pay off in some ways. This means we are usually high achievers and our work reflects that. However, our perfectionism can mostly be negative as it leads to excessive self-criticism, stymies our creativity and can hack away at our self-esteem. 
4. You (might) struggle with a social life

When you work at home, your routine tends to revolve around your home. You have no commute, you don’t stop in at the coffee shop on the way to work and you technically don’t have to leave the house thanks to Amazon Prime. The downside to this is the intense cabin fever you can get from staying “locked up” in your office. Socializing doesn’t happen unless you make it happen and making it happen takes an extra effort. I’ll have to be honest, this can be a major struggle for me. I have seen in a lot of online communities for people who work at home that many struggle with the same thing. 

It’s not all fun and games and while working at home has many rewards for me including flexibility of work hours, flexibility to travel, flexibility with my time off and an income that allows me to enjoy all of that and more, I do want to acknowledge some of the difficulties that people who work from home face. Not all of us are rich and not all of us have it easy. Most of us are just working with a vision and a dream and we will fight as hard as we can to make that dream come true.

What about you? Do you work from home and experience any of these struggles? Comment down below if you’ve shared in this experience. PIN this post to share with friends, family and relatives who need a little more education about what it truly means to work at home.

Wednesday: My Remote Work Routine - 5 Tips For Digital Nomad Productivity

I travel back and forth between the United States and St. Lucia a few times a year and in the past two years I’ve been to Martinique and Barbados during times when I’ve also had to work. Since I’m a full-time writer and I run my business from home, I’m a kind of “digital nomad” so my office comes with me wherever I go.

I have five tips for remote work that I always incorporate into my remote work routine when my office is on the road…

1) Noise-cancelling headphones

These are a must for traveling and working since you can turn any environment into a workspace and really get into the zone. I also use noise-cancelling headphones to wear on airplanes, and for help falling asleep. Currently, I’m using this brand of PLT headphones which work really nicely and can transition from wired to wireless so even if you lose your charge, you can still use them. The only thing I don’t love about them is the fact that I need an adapter for my iPhone but it’s a minor issue. I’ve tried a lot of Bluetooth headphones in the past and these have the greatest range by far out of any cheaper options I’ve tried.

2) Schedule work that doesn’t require an internet connection

This tip I don’t use within the United States as much, but when I work on flights or when I go to countries with notoriously bad internet connections (like Martinique!) I plan ahead this way too. Since as a full-time writer I balance writing 3-5k words a day with marketing and social media tasks that require an internet connection, I use this to my advantage. Before I travel, I schedule all my social media posts and emails so I can focus on writing the old school way — just a word processor, no internet connection.

3) Book a place with dedicated workspace

I have had some great workspaces in my recent trips, including a Capitol Hill studio in Washington DC as well as a my brief one night stay in the Crystal City Hilton. I require a table for focused work and I make it a priority to book a place that’s business friendly. Traveling is usually business related, and I rarely stop working when I am traveling, so it’s a priority to have a dedicated space. Working from couches or from bed really throws me off so I avoid that if possible.

4) Pick optimal work hours for the situation

I prefer working a typical work day, but on the road I have to be discerning about when I get my work done. If fitting 6-7 hours of creative work is impossible, I hit at least 4. If I’m visiting night owls, I schedule my hours in the morning as usual so I can go out at night. If I’m on a family related trip, or traveling with my fiancé, I schedule later hours to accomplish daytime activities. Just because I’m working during the trip doesn’t mean I have to miss out on enjoying the blessings and opportunities traveling has to offer. Making adjustments to my schedule sets me up for success.

5) Plan activities outside of work to look forward to

I always plan something to look forward to whether I’m traveling to Upstate NY or Martinique. I can’t focus on work 100% of the time and balance is so important to me. I always plan specific activities I can get excited about and “work for” during my trips. I like doing this because it keeps me focused and working on a tight schedule with greater efficiency.

The great thing about my remote work routine is that none of it is rocket science. Simple changes make a big difference and these easy adjustments allow me to enjoy both work and travel when I am working and traveling.

Do you ever work when you travel? Let me know in the comments. Pin the image below to save these remote work tips to your favorite board for travel and entrepreneurship. 👇🏼

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