Putting Theory Into Practice ... A Personal Perspective
© 2013 Elena Fawkner
Since July last year I have been writing about the benefits
and pitfalls of working from home. Up until now, though, I've
been preaching theory rather than practice since all that
time I was working full-time as a corporate lawyer and running
this business part-time in my spare time. Last month, though,
the company I worked for for 12 years was sold and my
request for a termination was granted. I now officially run my
online business full-time from home.
In this article, I'd like to share with you my first month's
experiences and observations in making the transition from
full-time corporate suit to full-time work-from-home
entrepreneur. If you're about to make the break, hopefully
these words will help ease you through your own transition.
1. Identity Adjustment
To begin with, don't underestimate the mixed emotions you
will experience when you leave the paid workforce to work at
home, particularly if you've been in your job for a long time.
I wanted desperately to leave my job (I'd been waiting for my
package for two years before it finally happened) but when the
time came I was surprised to find how much I'd identified with
what I did for a living. I was comfortable with Elena Fawkner,
corporate lawyer, but how did I feel about Elena Fawkner,
home-based internet business entrepreneur? Just fine as it
turned out but it took a few days to adjust to the idea.
In my job I had a 75 minute commute. Each way. Do I miss
that? Yeah, like a hole in the head.
3. Time Control
Without a doubt one of THE best things about working for
yourself from home is being able to control what you do or,
more particularly, when you do it.
I have always been an early riser and this hasn't changed. I
still get up at 500 am, the same time I used to get up to go to
work, but now I start work at 500 am and find that the three
hours from then until 800 am are the most productive of my
whole day. I use this time to read and respond to email and
to work on the next issue of AHBBO, among other things.
There is something about the peace and serenity of that time
of day that makes it ideal for thinking work.
Then at 800 am I hit the shower and get dressed, take the
dog for a walk, have breakfast and pick up around the house,
maybe put put on a load of laundry and get the dishwasher
By 1030 I'm back at my desk ready to pick up work again.
Painless, and everything gets done. Business AND personal.
Then I work through until lunch, break at 100 pm for lunch and
do a few other things around the house then get back to it until
around 500pm when I FINISH for the day (with no interminable
commute to face). None of this 18 hour day nonsense for me!
I am no longer dead tired at the end of the day, just pleasantly
relaxed. What a difference!!
4. Working With Your Body Clock
Closely aligned to the time control point is the fact that you
can organize your work so that it dovetails with your body
clock. If, like me, you're an early morning person, you can
get your most intellectually demanding work done in the early
morning and less demanding work, such as creating web
pages or whatever, during your less 'sharp' time. On the other
hand, if you're a night owl, by all means work from 1000 pm
through 400 am if that's your 'time'. You can sleep until noon
if you want (if, like me, you don't have kids, that is!).
Being able to schedule your work around your body clock
rather than around someone else's arbitrarily determined
'work day' means you are far more productive than ever
before and, as a result, you will find you get more done
in less time than you would if you were still caged within your
9 to 5 prison.
5. Blurring the Edges
Another unanticipated benefit of working from home is that
I don't have to segregate my business and home lives.
Whereas before I would work from 830 am through 500 pm
(which meant being away from home from 700 am through
615 pm by the time you add in the commute each way), I
would have to do all the other stuff of life, such as grocery
shopping, laundry and cleaning the house in what I thought of
as 'my own time'. Now all time is my own and I can do what
I want at the most appropriate time for me.
In this sense, I have integrated my business into my day to
day life and from one hour to the next I can switch between
business activities and non-business activities. After all, it's
just stuff that has to get done sometime during the day. Why
label it 'business' or 'non-business'. Why have 'business'
hours and 'non-business' hours? Why can't time be just time?
Now, it must be realized this is a double-edged sword. It
works fine now, in the early days of my full-time home
business, but as time goes on I expect that I will want to more
clearly delineate my business and personal lives if I start
having trouble turning business off for the day. For now,
though, I'm thoroughly enjoying the freedom of calling the
shots in all aspects of my life.
Another advantage that I hadn't thought of in advance is that
when the weather is foul, I don't have to leave the house. That's
more of a luxury than I ever would have believed.
On the other hand, when the weather is delightful, I CAN go out
and enjoy it. Even if I need to work, my laptop works just as
well outside in the sunshine as it does inside in my home office.
7. Grocery Shopping
OK I know this one is pretty frivolous and it may seem strange
to you that I've bothered to include it here, but one of the things
I like most about working from home is that I don't have to do
that one huge shop each week, battling with unruly trolleys,
loading the car up and then unloading at the other end. Now I
can go to the store every couple of days, buying stuff on an
as-needed basis, not having to use a trolley at all! One
obvious benefit is the ability to buy and consume food when it's
still very fresh, without having to freeze or store it for several
days before needed.
The isolation monster hasn't reared its ugly head yet but I
expect it to, sooner or later. I have found it difficult to work
a completely silent environment though, but that could just
be because I'm used to the 'busy noise' of an office. In the
meantime, I have the radio on for company (talkback station)
and find that takes the edge off nicely.
9. Activity Level
One disadvantage of this lifestyle that I hadn't anticipated is
that I am less physically active than when I worked in a
corporate office. I no longer have to go marching down a long
corridor 20 times a day to go talk to someone about something.
I no longer run up and down 4 flights of stairs 3 or 4 times a day
as I did at my office building. But with the time I'm saving
having to commute I can certainly afford the time to take some
exercise every day. Walking the dog for an hour a day will
10. Relative Economic Insecurity
There's no doubt that you enjoy a certain feeling of security
knowing you have a regular paycheck coming in. Those days
are over for me and I am acutely aware that my income now is
solely dependent upon my own efforts. Although finances
won't be an issue for some time, funds won't last forever so my
business had better be a success if I'm to avoid returning to
the corporate world.
11. Personal Discipline
This one comes as no surprise. If you're not personally
disciplined and self-motivated, don't even THINK about giving
up your day job. You need to be a self starter to work for
yourself and if you need a 'boss' looking over your shoulder
to make sure you work, then working from home is not for you.
So there you have them. The personal reflections of a fledgling
full-time home-business entrepreneur. Naturally, if you have
young children, then your ability to be home with them while
making your living would obviously make number 1 on your list.
These are early days and the novelty is yet to wear off. I have
no illusions that as time goes on other issues will arise that will
test my resolve to work for myself. In time, I may forget there
is any other way of working and begin to take it all for granted.
In the meantime though, I plan to enjoy my newfound freedom
and independence for the luxuries they are.
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Tuesday, 20-Apr-2021 14:00:18 CDT