I’ve worked from home at least part-time for years now. However, up until I lost my outside job over a year ago, it was only off and on, an hour or two here or there, and I was still gone from the house three days/week after cutting back my hours when Luke joined our family. My long-time job was my main income and everything else was just on the side for supplemental income.
Once faced with the big change of losing that job last fall, I knew I wanted to work at home more than outside it. I took some time off while figuring things out, but by early this year I was doing bookkeeping work from home again, and then we started the poultry farm and I began to make products to sell alongside our fresh eggs. With the things I do now, I try to focus on work for at least 3-4 hours at a time.
We had both our beagle Cricket and Luke, along with our cat Sam when I started all that earlier this year. It was an adjustment for all of us. I had to figure out what kind of schedule worked for me, and Cricket and Luke had to understand that even though I was home, I was not here to entertain them all the time!
Have you ever considered working from home, so you can be with your pets more? Who wouldn’t want to be? I know it’s not for everyone; some people prefer to be out with people and in social atmospheres more. Since I’m an introvert, I don’t miss the social aspect of being in the workplace at all, I would much rather be home with the dogs, Sam, and on the farm. I still do some outside work though, and I think I’ve been managing to find a good balance so far, even though I’m still figuring things out as far as work.
Here are some things I’ve learned that help when working from home:
Get yourself on a schedule. Some people’s work from home jobs, like one of my sister’s, require you to be on a schedule anyway. I’m self-employed which makes it different. Even though most times, other than an occasional meeting, I don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time, my alarm goes off almost every day at 6 am, and I have a plan for the day.
Find a routine that works and stick with it. While I’m doing several different things (blog, bookkeeping, running the farm and making homemade products to sell) and I can be flexible with what I do each day, I still have the same morning routine almost every day. I have a cup of coffee while lying in bed with Luke for a half hour before getting up. I like a little time to wake up before jumping up and starting my day. Lately Luke often leaves me and goes out to lay in front of the wood stove, which is funny because that’s exactly what Cricket used to do! Then I get up and feed Samantha, then Luke, and then hit the shower. After I shower and dress, I put the eggs out for sale by the road and check on the flock to be sure they have food and water (they almost always do since the Dadz handles that the evening before). I let them out into their fenced-in run area.
Then I have breakfast and Luke and I go for a walk. When we get back, I’ll start whatever work I’m doing that day, whether it’s bookkeeping, baking cookies, making skincare products, tending to gardens in the summer, or blogging. I’m still looking for a little bit of outside work, but whatever I find needs to also fit in with that routine. While I was working at the farm stand two days/week over the summer, sometimes Luke’s walks were shorter, but we still took them, and I still had my same morning routine. Weather can sometimes throw things off, but we try not to let it affect us too much.
The Dadz is home two days per week normally now (at first he worked 6 days/week, so I had less help), so sometimes he might feed Sam if she starts demanding it before I get up. Then I take an extra few minutes to relax. If I have errands to run or places to go, I try to do that on those days so Dadz can walk Luke and I can get going earlier.
Try to avoid distractions! It took Luke and Cricket a bit of time to understand that I was not home to play ball all day, or to let them in and out constantly. They got better, and now that Cricket is gone, Luke settles down quite well, though there is the occasional squirrel drama and it’s urgent that he goes outside! He occasionally forgets, and I get what you see in the photo below, but for the most part he’s good.
He actually does that more in the evening, which is often my blogging time. He just wants attention, and if Dadz is free he’ll sit with Luke on the couch and he’s happy. I also try to spend some time doing that when I can, since I like to watch the news too.
If you have pets, tending to their needs – meals and exercise – before you try to work can make a big difference! But there are still going to be distractions – squirrels, the UPS driver, anyone going by the house! Sometimes Luke likes to stand by the doors and look out. It’s often unclear to us whether he wants to go out or he’s “just looking”. So, when I’m working, I have to learn to ignore him. If he persists in standing there he might really need to go out, or he will also paw at the door. I don’t need to be getting up and down and opening the door only for him to just keep standing there looking (I do that plenty when I’m not working)!
Since Samantha is an elderly cat, she doesn’t have a lot of demands. While I work at the dining room table where I can spread my papers out, or in the kitchen when I’m making things, I still go down to my office which is her room quite often to print things or get supplies. She distracts me with accidents on the floor (luckily she has most of those in the morning so clean-up can happen before I start work), or the temptation to pet her all the time. She’s also pretty scruffy these days, and I have to brush her all the time to try to keep the mats down. I have to learn not to look too closely at her when I’m in the middle of something (because I’m compelled to brush her!), but to mentally remind myself to brush her and give her some attention later!
I don’t think I’ll ever perfect the whole aspect of ignoring distractions – e-mail, texts, phone calls, instant messages, etc., distract me too. I have a hard time ignoring those little pings and notification noises coming from my phone. I try…..but I still keep working on that one. I do at least avoid social media, so that’s one thing.
Then there’s the crazy birds! I try to keep them inside the coop and run at least for the morning, so I’m not constantly running to the window to check on them when the guinea hens start making a racket! My spot at the dining room table looks right out at the coop/run so I can make sure they stay safe, and that works out well. Dadz gets home early in the afternoon, so if I let them out just before lunch that usually works. They get their free-range time, but I also get a break from constantly watching them in the morning.
Things needing to be done around the house are distracting for me as well. So when Luke is eating his breakfast, I do any kitchen clean-up needed, and generally straightening up around the dining and living room. I’m a little obsessive-compulsive about things being neat and where they’re supposed to be so getting things like that out of the way is important for me as well.
If you work several jobs like I do, it’s also easy to forget to relax sometimes! That’s when it’s nice to have Luke remind me to pour a glass of wine and sit with him to watch the news in the evening.
I think those are the three major things that help – get on a schedule and routine, take care of the animals ahead of time, and then try to focus and avoid distractions. There are days I keep so busy at home and so well-focused on what I’m doing that I feel like I’ve neglected the animals! But I really haven’t, and I think given a choice, they are happiest with me here, even if I’m not always at their beck and call. 🙂
Lynn LaChance says
Working from home is not a piece of cake as some might think, it does take discipline and schedules, but you have it mastered well and make it work, kudos to you!
Thank you, Lynn!! ♥
Monika & Sam says
Good advice. I must be a tad ADHD since distractions happen whether I’m working at home or the office. But I like it soooo much better when those happen from my studio where I can create, read, work, whatever. Having the pups napping near me helps keep me grounded.
I’d rather be interrupted by a dog needing to go out, than by some of the humans that would interrupt me with way more stupid stuff! LOL
That’s fun to read! You have a good routine… and that helps so much! I’ve worked from home for years and years now so the pups know that I will generally ignore them while working. The hardest part for me is dividing my time among different tasks in a reasonable way. I tend to get engrossed in one and forget all the others… But I love working from home, just like you do (I’m an introvert too). Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Thank you! We had a nice holiday and hope you did too.
I think Luke is getting more used to me ignoring him while I’m working. It also helps that we’re in winter and there’s less things for him to see outside that he thinks he needs to go chase! 🙂
I get engrossed in things blog-related, but when it comes to my bookkeeping work, I’m easily distracted since I find it so boring. LOL!
I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me the flexibility of working from home. It’s wonderful when I want to be away from the drama of the office, or want to be home to watch Raven when she’s not feeling well. I’m fairly disciplined about staying focused, but I don’t have an active dog and squawking birds to distract me!
I don’t recommend getting any then. LOL. It sounds like you have a good balance going there. I think it is good to get out of the house too, which my current bookkeeping job gets me since I do go to the office for meetings sometimes. My sister is like you, she spends more time at the office, but she can work from home too. That’s especially beneficial when you live in our area where there’s a lot of bad weather in the winter.
Melissa Clinton says
Working from home can be tricky. I don’t set a schedule as I should but we make it work.
As long as the work gets done, I don’t think the method matters. 🙂
caren gittleman says
Ok so you obviously aren’t playing Song Pop and Words With Friends like I do which TOTALLY eats up large portions of my day. No wonder I am so unsuccessful lol. YOU are disciplined!!! This was a fabulous post!
Thank you, Caren! I specifically avoid getting involved in any of those on-line games, because I know they could be a huge distraction for me! 🙂
Bell Fur Zoo says
One of my goals for the new year is to have a better routine. I am so easily distracted especially when I am working on something then think about another thing I need to do then another and by the end of the day I never fully completed the first task 😉
Bell Fur Zoo Mama
I hear that! I need to stay seated at my computer and work, because as soon as I start walking around the house, I see something else that needs to be done (and that I’d rather be doing than sitting at my computer!).
LLB in Our Backyard says
I agree, routine is key! Great advice on how to make thing work..at home 🙂
We’ve been thrown off our routines due to unforeseen circumstances recently, and it is NOT a good thing!
The Island Cats says
Working from home can be rewarding…but it does take some discipline. When I was working, I couldn’t work from home often because I just wasn’t discipline enough. ~Island Cat Mom
I can see where it definitely wouldn’t work for everyone….you have to have the right personality to pull it off!
Shadow's & Ducky's Mom says
I remember the days when we had our snack vending machines (never again, thank you) – I had a pretty good routine set up, but I didn’t miss it by the time we sold the business. I’d have preferred to work from home, but it just wasn’t an option back then. Now that I’m retired, I enjoy not having to stick to a routine even though I have one to some small degree.
I really do like to take a day here and there where I just let go of all the routine, and just relax and do what I feel like in the moment. If we ever get to retire, I’d like to find that balance too.
Brian Frum says
Good advise and finding that routine sure isn’t easy!
Life tends to throw in a lot of challenges when it comes to routine!
World Of Animals, Inc. says
We agree that when you have a business schedule it’s always best to have a routine ready to go. It will make everything go much smoother and with fewer distractions. Luke must be a wonderful couch buddy for when you want to relax. Thanks for the share. Have a wonderful rest of your holiday week.
Thank you! Luke is definitely a great couch buddy!!
we still look for a kind of routine… we want to help the mama with any work… but too many chefs spoil da broth ;O)
Ha ha, too true!!
My GBGV Life says
Mom loves working from home. We have our routine, and we are mellow, so we just hang out in our office room with her most of the time. Occasionally, we want to go out and play in the yard, so we will do that. Nothing is better than being able to be together with mom all the time. I’m sure Luke and Samantha love it too. Madison
I think they are pretty pleased to have me home more. I was recently gone for a couple days here and there, and Sam didn’t eat well, and Luke seemed a bit out of sorts. I’m glad things have settled down now and we can get back to our routines, and so are they!
Working from home isn’t for the feint of heart. ESPECIALLY when you have company in the animal form. Bear isn’t as bad as he used to be – but there were days I’d end up sobbing because I just couldn’t keep up with him and what I was working on. Boredom is the root of all evil!
Oh, there are days when I don’t think I can stand another distraction. I get frustrated if I can’t stick to my routines, because I know I’m so easily thrown off (and yes, there have been tears).