Working From Home: The Readers Respond

by Our Gentle Readers

30 Reader Comments

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  1. What I’m hearing over and over in this article is that discipline is necessary to foster creativity, and that creativity fuels our discipline. And that both are essential to working from home. This is a very insightful and personal article – thanks for culling the thoughts and passing them along in this form!

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  2. I’m going to use some ideas to write an article in Italian on my blog about this topic. Of course I will put the URL to the original article as source.

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  3. Quite a nice approach to an article, multiple people’s input and opinions, and many of them which I can totally agree with, and learn from. Even though I’m a still a student I have quite some projects which can use their share of time, focus, and love.

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  4. I find the hardest part of working from home is relatives. They just cannot get it in their head that this is a real job. Several times I’ve laid it on the line that they are not to interrupt me during working hours, if they want to drop round for a coffee or phone me for a chat then after 6pm or at weekends is the time to do it.

    The success lasts for all of a few weeks then I start getting the pointless phone calls and the knocks on the door again.

    Neighbours get delivery people to drop parcels off to me if they’re not in. One regularly calls me to ask if I can just nip round to see whether they forgot to lock their back door/ left the oven on/ locked the cat out… I tried to put a stop to that by telling her the back door was wide open and the cat was on fire in the kitchen. She just thought it was funny.

    Even my other half, who knows how much all of this annoys me but commutes to work each day, will happily ask me to just pop down the surgery to file his repeat prescription before 10am, pick up his dry cleaning at 3pm, take the car in for its MOT on Wednesday…

    It’s not a real job after all.

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  5. This is one of the most useful compilations I’ve seen in the past 3 years – fantastic work ALA and everyone who contributed!!

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  6. I enjoyed the helpful info on working at home. I admit to being distracted and try to stay on task by using methods and techniques from my friends at Adaptive Path. Kim Lenox uses sticky note freelisting for Interaction Design Strategies. I like the method and use sticky notes on a white board to keep me on track by rearranging the notes in the order of my most important work. I keep my board portable so I can move it around to different work stations in my home. Sometimes my guy works from home in the main office and then I move to another work station in another part of our home so he (and I) can work without interruption. Lucky we have 3 network areas to work at.

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  7. These are even better tips than the original article! ;) Seriously, I LOVE the paying mom idea, if my mom were close and didn’t work. Although the earth mail thing? I feel funny about letting someone open and scan my mail. Still, I’m saving this page for when I go back to work full time.

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  8. Since you’re home anyway, take the time during lunch and cook yourself something nice and healthy to eat. Grill some chicken breasts, make a salad. Take advantage of the fact that you have more than a dirty kitchenette shared by the other 50 people in a cube farm.

    Cooking a nice meal doesn’t have to take long and it is a nice way to break up your day. And your co-workers will be jealous when you tell them you just had stuffed salmon for lunch. ;)

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  9. Over the years I’ve done a couple of things that help a great deal.

    I make a list the night before of the things to accomplish the next day. The next morning I decide on the order. I helps me focus.

    I also can’t stand being at my computer all day long. I try to get out as often as possible for a ride on my bike. It really helps when I get back at it.

    Thanks for the great info! It’s great to hear what others do.

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  10. Great article, always interesting to read other takes on home working. For me, home working clicked when I set up my office in the garage, away from the house. I get that “going to work” vibe walking from the house down to the office at the bottom of the garden. Plus kids and family respect the fact that I’m working and shouldn’t be disturbed when I’m there.

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  11. Is it me or does Angela Vangalis’ comments sound like the track Fitter Happier off OK Computer?

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  12. Its wonderful to see how all the readers come together and create magic. Awesome post!

    Cheers!

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  13. And now for something slightly different – a man with two offices. I work at home until early afternoon and at a shared, low-cost office in the late afternoon into evening. A couple of things about this setup: (1) Beware of desktop application synchronization issues: leave mail on server checked on all computers and bcc: yourself on important sends; document save to microdrives and upload to ftp just in case; (2) Where possible, use web-based apps: Freshbooks and Basecamp for me. Freshbooks has been a revolution in time tracking and invoicing for me, and is reasonably priced. (3) Print work I reserve for the office, as that’s where my G4 with Illustrator and InDesign sits. (Yes, I do want a new Mac, but of course). (4) Commuting at unclogged freeway times rules – fool the commuters. (5) Buy a pair of headphones for each setting. (6) Coming home at night has that “kick your feet up & relax now” vibe.

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  14. This was a very informative post. Please keep this up! It is great to hear from the community like this.

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  15. Keep your office door open! Make space in your space for your kids. Encourage “the sunshine of your life” Stevie Wonder, to work with you. Kids learn best from their role models, that’s you! “Teach your your children well,“C.S.N.Young In a heart beat, they will have grown and be gone. One other though, hire a college intern. They are always amazed by the discipline of professionals, pass it on.

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  16. Great post guys! Some great advice here. Keep it up!

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  17. This seems more like “Memoirs of a Lazy Contractor,” rather than great advice for those who wish to work from home.  Being disciplined and focused about your work should be inherent to working on something you care about.  These people make it sound like something that you have to trick yourself into doing.  At lot of this “advice” seems to be geared more towards creating free/fun time than being successful.

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  18. noise-cancelling headphones with minimalist/ambient music. and never watch the news.

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  19. I do a lot of freelance work through www.oDesk.com, and the screenshots being taken every so often really keeps you on task.  It’s so easy to get distracted when you work out of your house, sometimes it’s nice to have the watchdog there to keep you on track.

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  20. I find that it’s really helpful to listen to radio and podcasts on professional topics to keep my mind in touch with business language and big picture issues. A lot of times the first words I utter on a given day are answering a client’s phone call. Without having office colleagues around to talk to, I’m not warmed up and it can be difficult to express myself on the spot. Hearing other people speaking on the podcasts helps me to stay prepared and in touch with business language.

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  21. If you heard about TemplateHelp’s “designer only” affiliate network, (the supplier for TemplateMonster and Perfectory) you’ll know its next to impossible to get accepted and start making money.

    LinkTogether, www.linktogether.com, which was surprisingly created by Network Solutions, has created an area for web designers to sell their life’s work, set their own price and make 85% rev share. Kicks ass man.

    Clean out your hard drives and put up all your old clients stuff, the average “good” site is going for $50!!!

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  22. Great article. Very useful tips. Thanks!

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  23. A very entertaining and insightful article for the ‘work at homes’ like myself. It’s hard to keep disciplined when working from home. The misconception that there are no rules but that would probably be the biggest mistake to be made.

    I must admit I laughed at the dress code bit. I like to dress up for success even at home sometimes but when I get too immersed in a project, I tend to stick to whats most comfortable versus what makes me feel confident.

    I’ll be bookmarking this one.


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  24. Excellent Article and tips!  Thanks for sharing.

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  25. My neighbors are the worst for interruptions. I tend to get started working right around the time they get home from work, and on the weekends – which of course is when they have free time. The best advice though is the eating well. Unfortunately, I end up just not taking the time to eat. Then get really hungry and snack on junk – which makes it har to think.
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  26. My neighbors are the worst for interruptions. I tend to get started working right around the time they get home from work, and on the weekends — which of course is when they have free time. The best advice though is the eating well. Unfortunately, I end up just not taking the time to eat. Then get really hungry and snack on junk — which makes it hard to think.
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  27. If you have family and at the same time a work, you should set up a time to spend with your family. Go to a place where all of you can spend together, cook for your kids and husband, try to forget work for a while and give time for them.
    Try to relax for quiet a while with them even not so much.Try to do this especially for working moms.

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  28. Thanks for the advice/info!  People always assume it must be so great to work from home, but it can actually be very isolating, depressing, and distracting.  It’s great to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way, and I will definitely incorporate some of these tips/habits into my routine.

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  29. It’ the best decision I’ve made, to work from. I get to spend time with my wife and kids and that just can’t be bought and paid for by weekends and holidays.

    It’s not always easy as it can be distracting and children don;t always understand that dad needs to work. But in the final analysis I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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  30. i agree with you. working from home sometimes can be so comfortable and useful, and also it can be so difficult to.

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