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No More Commute: Working from Home

Tomorrow starts a new phase for me. I finished up at Georgia Tech last Friday, and now I will be working from home. Like any other developer, I have done a great deal of work at home – but that is drastically different from working from home. Any tips from the home working crowd?

15 Responses to “No More Commute: Working from Home”

  1. Dave says:

    Because of school, I have been doing freelance to support my family for over a year now. We live in a small apartment, and instead of having a real office I essentially sit in the kitchen all day. Working from home, as with most everything, has its ups and downs. Ups include no commute, the ability to have a flexible schedule, and, in my case, extra time with my family. The downs include a tendency to let the line between work and home (or work and relaxation) blur drastically, distraction, and not really “connecting” with anyone in person.

    So, my biggest tip would be to get out as much as you can. Go to a park, go the a library, heck, even just go for a walk. I would also suggest making sure the line between work and home is clearly defined. If possible, us a spare room and dedicate it to work only. Use a different computer (desktop for work/laptop for leisure) and resist the urge to work in your pajamas. You may have a stronger will than I, but I work my best when I dress like I am going in to the office.

    Again, it helps to distinguish the line between home and work. I have a further disadvantage in that I also have school work. So between freelance, school, and family life/personal projects I could sit at a computer terminal 24/7 which is pretty unhealthy. Having clear objectives is crucial.

    I also suggest keeping water near your desk. Don’t ask me how, but even if I don’t drink it I seem to be more productive. Must be a mental thing.

    Best of luck.

  2. Leif Wells says:

    The first thing I tell people when they say that they are starting to work from home is that not everyone can do it. It takes focus and drive. If you find that you are not capable of doing it, don’t worry — 80% of people out there just don’t have what it takes. It’s not a big deal.

    The previous comment mentions getting out as much as you can. I agree, but I would add that you need to try to be social. One of the things that people miss from working from home full time is that interaction you get in your office environment. To some, that interaction is exactly the reason to work from home ;-) But I suggest that whenever possible, schedule a lunch break with a friend and mentally take that time off from work. De-socialization is a problem that can happen when people work from home (especially people like me who have no humans living with them).

    I like the water suggestion as well — for me it’s a reason to get up from the desk every hour or so (to use the restroom).

    Good luck and let me know the next time when you are in Atlanta so I may buy you dinner!


  3. Lawrence says:

    Consider yourself lucky. I work next to GA Tech and when that bridge closes tonight, traffic will be hell leaving work tomorrow.

    When i did freelance a lot, getting out and socializing was something you really lose. I would go to the store 5 times a week just to be out of the house. I would go places during lunch hours too, increased activity hours. Just try to keep a schedule similar to work. Get up and an prepare like any other work day. Start off half assed, you will likely have similar results.

  4. Nancy says:

    Stay out of the refrigerator. :)

    Seriously .. it takes discipline .. it’s very easy to just get to something in a few hours, which quickly becomes a few days and then weeks. Don’t go the other way either .. you are more productive if you take a 20 minute exercise break in the middle of the day.

    Beyond that, write out some goals and note your progress once a week for the smaller things and once a month for general goals and how you are progressing to get to where you want your business to be.

    Best of luck!

  5. Jose Duran says:

    I agree with all the comments. I would add to them that when you can afford to have an office, go for it! as previously said the line between work and your personal life blurs dramatically, and you can tend to be extreme: rest too much or work too much. That’s why I recommend getting out of home for an office as soon as you can afford it. It doesn’t have to be a real office, only a place different than home, where you can work at normal office hours.

    Since I work at home, my personal projects, or hobbies tends to mix with the work projects and that can be an issue. When that happens you begin to spend a lot of time working… that’s why all the comments try to make a point: differentiating work from your personal life, keep your personal projects or hobbies in the appropriate hours as the work, that will keep you organized! Gook luck David, there is more good things than bad things with this kind of life!


  6. Book your holidays now. I found I kept on putting them off and even when I did take them I worked during it.

    The rest of the comments sum up everything else, but I felt the holidays thing was one thing they missed.


  7. Matt C says:

    Cool man!
    So I guess you’ll be very intersted in easy moeny making with basic Flash skills – & are running games development contests. In it’s all about multiplayer, however in XPOser 2008 it’s all about the simple Flash and casual games for casual gamers.

    They’re the next YouTube I guess, check it out:

  8. funkyboy says:

    Try to schedule some sports. Ask your friend to ask you hang around and have fun. Don’t not buy beers and if you do drink them all before the morning after comes ;)

  9. Gerry Engen says:

    That’s great David!

    I resigned from my job last year and have been working at home for a year now. I’ve been learning flex, coldfusion, and mySQL for a project that is almost complete. Your tutorials on Cairngorm have helped me immensely and I couldn’t have done it without you!
    Initially, staying focused on my work was difficult (maybe from the fact that I was preparing a grant proposal vs. programming … which I like) but it got better. I use one of my rooms for an office and keep a good routine now:

    Work: 7 to 3:30
    Breaks: breakfast with my wife (she heads off to work) then a prayer period,
    lunch with my wife (she heads off to work) then a prayer period

    I try and balance drinking coffee with water, though I’m not always so good with that even though the kitchen is just down the hall! I also should put a bit of exercise in somewhere but I’m not so good with that either (I have a bowflex and a treadmill). It always seems like I just need to solve something critical in my programming however bit by bit I’m learning that it will come in time. If not today, then maybe tomorrow and maybe the solution will be even better and come to me quicker.

    Good luck and thanks for the help!

  10. Keith says:

    First off thank you so much for posting your tutorials on Cairngorm, they are a life saver.

    I’m not doing any freelance work right now but I do work from home 3 days a week and go into the office 2 days which is a great deal for me with the gas prices as they are now. My one piece of advise is to communicate with your co-workers and your boss on a daily basis when working from home, sometimes I just send an email to say good morning, I do this so that I don’t start feeling isolated from the rest of the team, it keeps me in check.

  11. Eric says:

    My first piece of advice would be don’t get a cat. Cats will climb up on the keyboard and try their best to ruin your productivity. Dogs are OK but still not recommended. Small high-strung breeds of dog are really just cats. Stay away from them. The second piece of advice is make a rule that you can’t do ANY type of household chore until Saturday. If you need to get up and pour another cup of coffee that’s fine, but DO NOT touch the kitchen sponge. You will find yourself cleaning the ceiling (something you would NEVER do on Saturday) in no time while you’re working from home.

  12. Let me remember those nice times, when I was working from home …

    1. Start working in the morning, after breakfast … if you postpone, your day is ruined.
    2. Make set in stone hour at which you finish working, it people really tend to overwork when doing that at home… so … say from 9AM to 6PM and that’s it
    3. Keep in touch with your friends, go to have lunch with them at their lunch break and go have a beer with them after they finish work in the office
    4. Sports is good idea, even a wii fit will do the trick

    good luck,

  13. Venkateswara Rao says:


    Its sometimes very difficult work from work, office environment makes the work more pleasure than work from home.

    1) Never sit in a TV room
    2) lock the door of ur room till lunch
    3) never start lazy, if you, then you will definitely post pone things.
    I used to see more tv and do personal work and post pone things. Bad very bad.
    After some months I really felt frustrating sitting alone and working.

    Its good to work from home for a while, but not all the time.

    Hope this help you.


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