October 17, 2006
Working From Home on Joel’s forum.
Some quote’s on which I’d like to comment:
Am I the only one that is struggeling to work from home? Here are my symptoms:
* A complete lack of structure of the day
* F*c**d up sleeping pattern… Getting up way to late, staying up way to late.
* Don’t know when work begins and don’t know when it ends.
* Lack of motivation…
* Extremely hard to build discipline
* Can’t concentrate during the day… alot better at night…
* Feelings of frustration because you can’t get to it…
Structure: Why is it bad to have a ‘freeform’ structure? I enjoy it.
Sleeping pattern: Why not sleep as your body tells you to? What is wrong with that? I find it much more discomforting to be bound by office times. I prefer adjusting my sleep to the day/night cycles. Longer days in the summer. Shorter in winter. In winter I usualy work a lot more at night because I hate the grey colors of the days.
Begin/end of work: I think this is related to structure. If you feel like working, work. If not, don’t.
Motivation: This – imho – is the central point. If you’re not motivated, then you’re not doing something you like. I try to select my work based on this. If I have to, I add a second – motivating – project ‘just for fun’. (In my case this often is a small retro style arcade game for a platform like J2ME for example.)
Discipline: Hard to build? Sounds strange to me. Discipline is something you have, or not. If not, work in an office.. :) Or make yourself change. If that’s what you mean with build, I’d say this: Related to motivation. If I do something I like, motivation and discipline are there.
Loneliness: How is that related? Just spend your days and nights in cafes and bars. Take your notebook with you. Work if noone interesting is around. Put it aside if you see someone nice to talk to.
Concentration: All related stuff to what has been said before. Maybe you prefer working at night. What is the problem? I prefer the night, too. Everything is quite outside. A nearly zen-like state.. :)
Frustration: Probably the only real problem is that you usually work alone. And not having someone else around can really be frustrating. For this I’d really prefer to some guys around somewhere. But this could also be some kind of user group. But I admin: Working alone and then being stuck somewhere is a real problem.
I don’t think there’s any magic to it… you need to condition your brain to Go To Work and then to Go Home at repetitive times, and to make that work place somewhere other than next to the kitchen, or the living room, or even the laundry room. The isolation thing is something else, but for me I keep it at bay with my Mental Health Hour.
I don’t think so. This is only true if you’re a person like this guy. But not everyone ‘works’ the same.
One thing you could try is finding a new place to work. For instance, youe local library, or a coffee shop. If you have any state colleges nearby, you may be able to get library access based on your state residency, and hang out on campus.
This is something I do, too. I have a cafe and a pasta place where I sometimes sit for hours and work. I also don’t mind going down to the river – during summertime – and sit at the water with my notebook. Just make yourself comfortable. And make sure you work on something interrsting. (Or something that pays really good.. could probably be motivating, too.. :)
I am starting to see signs of hope. I have been able to make the gym twice a week (shooting for 3-4 per week) and in the last couple days I have forced myself to go to sleep at a “normal” time (~11pm) even though, like the above poster I am more of a night coder.
Here’s what I did: Instead of wasting between 50 and 100 EURO each month for the gym I invested about 350 EURO into a set of weights and bars and a bench. I have this next to my computer. When thinking about problems I lift. When playing Counter-Strike and I get killed early, I lift. During summer I take one of my bikes and hit the road. Sometimes I take the notebook with me and spend an hour or so at some nice place working. If I get stuck, I get back on the bike. I love it. (To be honest: I have also spent about 2000 EURO on my bikes.. :)
Hmm, I suffer from most of the symptoms and I work in an office.
This is right at the heart of what I’m trying to say here. It’s not really about being at home or in the office. Other things are making you feel bad.
“I go through spells where I get up, surf the net, then see it’s close to lunch time, so I got out to the kitchen a little early and flip on the TV. Get sucked into the afternoon movie, putter around the house a little, try to get some work done but then it’s time for my favorite primetime shows, then try to do some more work, then it’s bed time. As I’m falling asleep, I’m thinking “Crap, another wasted day. Tomorrow I’m gonna get right to work and get some stuff done!” But it doesn’t happen…”
Two remarks here: 1) I don’t have a TV at all. I download TV shows I like (which is one right now, Boston Legal) and watch them whenever I like. Not being bound by the stupid schedules of stupid TV stations.. :) 2) I don’t think there’s anything bad with wasting a day or two each week. Just make sure you stay on schedule.
I go in waves of intensity.
Sometimes I’m so burnt out I get in George Jetson mode (“I had to puch 5 buttons today!”). Even trivial tasks seem to be a monumental burden. DVD binges are a must. My recent favorite recommendation is “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”. Another option is to draw the blinds, unplug the phone, forget about shaving, and watch every season of 24, Lost, and The Wire in your underwear. Make sure to give the pizza guy a good tip.
Very understandable. And not a problem at all.
I really like that I don’t have to commute. Thats seems like such a waste of time and money.
And the environment.. And.. And.. People are so stupid.
You need structure in order to be able to sustain your productivity at home. Get up at the same time, go to work at the same time, go to bed at the same time. Your body needs a schedule in order to function efficiently.
That is just BS. So 1990s.. :) But hey, it looks like in the state evolution is being wiped out anyway. So why should ppl evolve? LOL to that.
To me being able to get up when I like and wear what I like is one of the attractions of working at home. so I am surprised to hear people say that they set their alarm clock and dress as if working 9-5. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
Looks like it. Yes.
never ask for a raise
This can be a problem. It is a problem for me.. :)
As a software developer, the lack of human interaction is the biggest problem. The second one would be the constant temptation to see what new stories have been posted to Digg or Reddit, leading to a big decrease in productivity (in fact, I found this off Reddit, and I should be working!). Personal hygiene gets interesting too.
Not sure about what software and human interaction have to do with each other.. No, really. Not having some other developers around can be the probably biggest problem. But having social interaction is a totally different matter. Sick if you get your social interaction from an office..
Digg and Reddit? I use bloglines to collect the stories then spend about an hour or two each day to read the stuff. I adapt the time to what I need/can/want.
And taking a shower from time to time is not a problem for me.. :) Let me ask this: Is a daily shower really necessary? What about the water use? What about the stuff you put on your skin ‘for cleaning’?
I love working from home! My success however centers around the following:
2) I am an active guy and live in a beach destination location. People come here for vacation, I live here!
All in all, I have been teleworking for over 5 years, and much of that time has been full time. It would be hard for me to go back to working full time in a regular office!
This is some lucky guy! I’m actually thinking about this, too. Find a place at the beach. With nice weather all year long so that you can workout or ride the bike whenever you want. I envy these ppl who where somehow ‘born’ into these places. For me it’s a lot of trouble to make this transition from where I am right now (Berlin, Germany). And money is only one part of the problem.
I, too, would have real trouble going back to an office. I’m sure of that by now.
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Go to the gym at least three times a week (in the morning helps) and take at least one walk around the neighborhood every day.
This is really important. But I would argue this is true when working in the office, too. Don’t you think? I’m still not doing enough. Damn! How I wish there was no winter!
Try to avoid working from home if at all possible. Or you might find management starting to think along the lines… if the job can be done remotely from home, the job can just as easily be done by someone in Bangalore for US$5000 a year….
Funny. Some ppl are really funny. A friend of mine, working from home, too, is tasked with insourcing a project. Outsourcing is a stupid idea. And anyone who knows a bit about software development knows this. You can outsource all the simple stuff. Yes, maybe. But this wouldn’t be motivating work for a real developer anyway.
In fact: Outsourcing and working from home are not really related at all. The tasks and topics are different.
I’m another person with similar experiences. In my case, I bought a laptop with a big battery and now go and sit in one of the local chain-store cafes to work. Just getting out of the house improves my spirits, and somehow there are less distractions at the cafe (or at least, the distractions that do exist – like talking to cute girls at the table next to me – don’t feel like “wasted” time compared to the distractions at home).
Amen to that. Now: Anyone wants to tell me that working in an office is better than that? :)
I’ve been working from home for about four years now. Maybe six, if you count living in an office, too. But that’s another story. To be told on another day.