Working from home is not new to me. I’ve actually worked from home the entire time I’ve owned my own business. In fact, aside from a few internships back in college, I’ve never had to report to an office everyday.
At this point in my life (mid-30s), I can’t even fathom what it would be like to wake up before the sun rises, get dressed in office appropriate clothes, commute to work (at least 30 minutes because traffic is a mess where I live), work around a bunch of other people (while my old blind dog is home by herself) and then commute home during the 5:00pm rush hour.
I’m going on ten years as a wedding planner and business coach for wedding planners, and I’m about to tell you what no one else talks about when it comes to working from home.
#1 – SET BOUNDARIES WITH HOUSEHOLD TASKS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME
Working from home means I’m physically at the house all day. Because of that, I’m the person who waits for the AC repair guy while I’m working. I unload the dishwasher while my lunch heats in the microwave. I take the dog to the vet in the middle of the day because I’m already home with her and the vet is just around the corner. I’ll start the laundry in the washer before work and on a break, move it to the dryer.
It’s a slippery slope taking on the household tasks while working at home. Boundaries are key.
When I’m working, I don’t jump back and forth from household tasks to work. I only do the household tasks that are fast (less than three minutes) and can be done during a break.
Let’s talk about those boundaries. Just the other day, I had a fight with my husband. He walked into my office and asked me to write a check for our taxes, while I was working. I said no, because I was working. You can imagine how it went from there.
Sure, I could have taken five minutes to review the taxes and write the check, address the envelope and put it in the mail. But the fact is that I don’t walk into his business (which is a retail brick and mortar store) and ask him to write a check. And that’s exactly what I told him.
My business hours are for working and before or after is when I tend to household tasks.
#2 – WORKING FROM HOME IS PRODUCTIVE BUT LONELY
Working at home means lots of uninterrupted time. No one is walking into my office to ask for my opinion on something. I don’t get pulled into a meeting when I’m trying to finish a table diagram.
Working from home is quiet too. There are no phones ringing from co-workers or trying to concentrate while someone two feet away from me is on the phone. There are no distractions like birthday cake in the break room or taking bets on when Karen’s baby is due.
On the flip side, working from home can be lonely, very lonely.
There is no gathering in the hallway when Karen brings her baby in to visit for the first time. There is no card to sign for a birthday followed by cake in the break room.
Not having a group of co-workers you see every day also means it’s hard to make friends. Let’s face it, if you don’t see someone multiple times a week, it’s hard to make friends with them.
#3 CREATE A DESIGNATED OFFICE SPACE
Whether you have an office with a door or are using a corner in the dining room, you must have a designated office space.
The desk I started my wedding planning business from was a roll top desk in our tiny one bedroom apartment above a garage. It was perfect because when I didn’t want to think about work, or when people came over, I just closed the desk. It was like closing my office door.
When we bought our first house, it was a requirement that I have a room for my office, with a door.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of desk in the corner of a room or an office with a door, there are a few things your must have: have a desk or table that is just for you. That desk is not for your kids to do their homework, it’s not for assembling your Christmas cards and it’s not for letting the household mail pile up. That desk is just for you to do wedding planning work.
Be sure you have office supplies and tools like a printer, extra printer paper, extra printer ink, extra of your favorite pens (I love the Pilot G-2). There is no longer a supply closet to get items as needed, so you have to plan ahead and have your own stash. This is where Amazon Prime also proves to be very convenient and time saving.
For all my fellow wedding planners working from home, I have a FREE mini course just for you. It’s called: How to Stand Out in a Flooded Wedding Planner Market.
I’ve heard so many of you say your market is saturated and what used to work isn’t anymore. I created this free course to help you stand out and get more inquiries.