What I Learned My First Year of Working From Home

Running a Business

It’s officially been a year since I started working from home, and I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot. It was definitely not what I expected and I had some real lows but I’ve also had some highs. 

If you’re considering working from home or currently do and are searching for some perspective, you’ve come to the right place! I suspect that 2020 will be different than 2019 because now Halyn Marketing is a lot bigger and I started a second business called BASICS. But…this post is about 2019 and not 2020, so buckle in to read what I learned after my first year of working from home!

The Loneliness is Real

I’ve always been content with staying home curled up on the couch and binge-watching a good Netflix show (I mean isn’t everybody?). At first, working from home is awesome because you get the freedom of not having someone breathing down your neck and micromanaging your day. You don’t have to interact face-to-face with annoying coworkers or managers who hate their life.

Because of this, it’s easy to indulge in not contacting anybody for extended periods of time. Let me be the one to tell you that this is actually a really horrible habit to start. What started as me enjoying my alone time turned into me becoming crippled with anxiety and not being able to leave to drop off a package at the post office in the fear of seeing people. I wish I was over-exaggerating, but it’s the truth. 

What I should have done from the beginning was take little trips here and there to get used to venturing out into the world alone during the day. I also should have tried to communicate with friends better and be more open to things like grabbing lunch. I was so stuck in the ‘hustle’ that I completely disregarded my instinctual need for human interaction.

Things are a lot better now because I’ve recognized this behavior and am actively trying to get out of the house and socialize. I’m also moving back to California to be closer to family, and for my husband’s career. This means I’ll be closer to friends, family, and have a whole lot more to do than I had here in North Carolina. 

Working From Bed is Bad

This is yet another embarrassing habit I’m admitting to all my readers, but I have worked from bed more times than I can count. It starts out being something to subtly brag about to all the unfortunate souls that have to wake up and head to an office for work. It then becomes something you do in the middle of the day when you get tired. Next thing you know you never work from your desk and take business calls while cuddled up next to your dogs.

I can assure you this is not as fun as it sounds, and quite frankly it’s extremely unprofessional. Working from home is hard because you have to catch yourself when you start doing ‘unprofessional’ things that would never happen if you worked in an office.

What I recommend is spending the time and money to make your office a place where you feel motivated to get sh*t done. If that means buying a comfy chair and putting up motivational posters, then so be it. At the end of the day, you need to do what’s best for you and your job. 

If you need some office inspiration, check out my Pinterest board here

Daily Exercise is a Must

I moved to North Carolina in 2018 to be with my fiance ,now husband, and the first 6 months weren’t too bad, weight-wise. I was working regular jobs that required a light amount of physical activity and I was getting out of the house. I was eating like garbage but at least I wasn’t sitting at a desk all day. 

Fast-forward to January 2019 when I began working from home and I lost all motivation to work out. I was eating like garbage (still!) but this time I was spending my days either working at a desk or working from my bed (see 2 paragraphs ago). This resulted in me gaining a ton of weight and becoming extremely lazy. 

I wasn’t sleeping, I was grouchy, my clothes didn’t fit, and in general, I just wasn’t feeling good at all. Well, I’ll be honest, I am still slowly trying to get myself back on the wagon with daily exercise but I have been hitting small milestones. 

Now I walk my dogs twice a day, do at least 1 workout even if it’s a 15 minute circuit, and I eat a lot healthier than I had in the last year and a half. Working out and getting outside completely lifted my moods. I was motivated to start the days, I was sleeping almost all night, and I started feeling a lot better about myself.

If you don’t have access to a gym, I highly recommend going for 30-45 minute walks, downloading an exercise app, or following an at-home workout guide. Heck, if you have the money to do it I would even hire a personal trainer to come to your home. Not only will it give you a chance to clear your head but you’ll be doing at least 1 thing every day to work on yourself.

You Need Boundaries

Boundaries, in general, are good for just about anything but you need a whole lot more when you work from home. 

Set Working Hours

This was something I didn’t learn until the fall of 2019. You really need to set some working hours. This doesn’t mean you have to be at your desk from 8 am to 5 pm, but you should have a general idea of when you’re going to get work done and when you are spending time with family, working out, or eating. 

You should make sure anyone that lives with you understands these hours and that your clients do too. I love every single one of my clients but I would often get messages at 8:30 pm asking me to check on something. Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I need to pause a movie my husband and I are watching to look at their Google Analytics. 

You have to learn when to push work into the next day or you’re going to be working 14 hours a day which is seriously nothing to be proud of.

Have a Designated Working Space

As I stated before, I had a habit of working from bed but I would also work in my kitchen, on the couch, and in the backyard. For some people, this might be fine but it really threw off any consistency I had and made my desk seem like a jail. 

You need to have a designated working space where you get the bulk of your work done, and anybody that lives with you should respect this space, especially when you’re working.

Get Ready for the Day

The last thing I learned was you really need to get ready for the day. My mornings are my sacred time and I get the bulk of my work done then. But the problem was that I would wait until 11 am to shower and walk my dogs because I was way too focused. 

This left me feeling gross and unmotivated to finish the rest of my tasks. Just suck it up, and get dressed and brush your teeth before you sit down to bust out 4 hours of work. You’ll thank me later. 

What Now?

I didn’t make this blog post to glorify working from home. I wanted to share the harsh realities of what working from home entails, but also share some advice on how to never fall into some of these traps. I still have a lot to learn, especially now that I have more employees at Halyn and BASICS launching in the spring.

If you have any tips or want to share your story about working from home, drop them in the comments or connect with me on social media! 

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