An article by Amy Trang of the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times gathers the wisdom of several successful work-at-home types in and around St. Cloud, which is a little more than an hour northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
IÕve bold-faced the Work at Home tips sheÕs collected.
Stick to a schedule:
John Taylor of St. Cloud said keeping a regular schedule is key. Taylor has been telecommuting from home for his job at a Twin Cities technology firm for about two years.
He sets his alarm for 6 a.m. to get into his home office by 7 a.m.
He takes an hour break for lunch about 11 a.m. and then continues to work, setting up conference calls for the afternoon.
ÒIÕd much rather be able to finish my work by 3 p.m. and have the evening to spend with the family than have to do work when my kids are home,Ó Taylor said.
He said having a routine reminds him that he is still a working professional and needs to get tasks done, even if a nap sounds tempting.
Make a task list:
Between shuttling the kids to day care and school, Work At Home freelance small business software developer Ryan Wateland makes to-do lists for work so he can complete his tasks. The list gives him goals to work toward each day.
And if he doesnÕt complete everything, he doesnÕt beat himself up.
ÒWhat you donÕt get done one day will get the next day,Ó Wateland said.
Dress for work:
There are no pajamas, no sweats or rolling out of bed with messed up hair for June Michalski, owner of JuneÕs Interior Design in St. Cloud, during the work week.
She said she dresses professionally each day because she meets with clients daily, and it helps get her into the mind-set that she is in a working environment.
ÒYour mind is functioning in a professional way when you are surrounding yourself in a professional setting,Ó she said.
Wateland leaves his home office often each week, meeting with his partners at a local coffee shop, attending networking luncheons or meeting with clients.
It allows him to clear his mind and get encouragement from his partners when meeting them face-to-face.
Taylor will bring his laptop to local coffee shops to work occasionally because he likes to have the human interaction with people, even if itÕs not direct.
ÒI like being surrounded by people, even though I may not be talking to them,Ó he said. ÒFor some reason, it just makes me feel more motivated to work.Ó
Keep them separate
Michalski said she closes her home office door at the end of the day and does not enter until the next work day, treating it just as she would if she had an outside office.
Even though Wateland has a flexible schedule, he found that he was still on call for work at all hours, cutting into family evening time.
He has decided to turn off his work phone after 6 p.m.