Working from Home.

Drifting around the internet while waiting for the boyfriend to get out of work, I came across this article from Career Girl Daily whose title caught my eye: “How to Create a Routine When Working from Home.” Now, I feel I’ve wrangled down a pretty good routine for myself already, but I was curious what it might have to offer as far as other things I could try. Or how I match up to their suggestions. In a nutshell:

1. Set Working Hours. Check! I wake up at six thirty (nearly) every day, and I work until ten o’clock in the morning, sometimes a little later. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I also work a second job elsewhere, and I do this Monday through Sunday. Every day is a workday for me, so if I get in three hours a day, that’s still 21 hours. Match that with the 25 hours I usually have at my second job and I’m still working more than 40 hours. I just enjoy one job way more than the other. And if it’s a day where I don’t work but my boyfriend does, I also squeeze in about three more hours in the evening, too. If he’s home, though, no way. He’s too distracting. (Guess what time in the morning he wakes up…)

2. Use a Planner. Sort of check. I don’t have a planner per se, but I do have a board on the side of my fridge with upcoming deadlines listed so that I can consult it and know when deadlines are approaching. I also have several books to keep submission dates and other information in order. So not quite a planner, but I have gotten way better at keeping track of deadlines, and it’s been beneficial to me so far. I’ve been getting a lot more in on time (although there’s a lot that still passes me by).

3. Create a Workspace. Check! It’s not a great workplace, but I’m definitely the type of person who has a “place” where she can get “in the zone.” For me, it’s my kitchen table, in the corner, by the window where I can write as the sun comes up. We live in a teeny tiny studio, but it was built with a wall between the main living space and the kitchen. This allows me to work while the boyfriend is sleeping (he is not an early bird), it allows some peace and quiet, and it’s a solid space. It’s a consistent space, which is probably the bigger point. In the evening, rare as they are, I move over to the bed, where I can play a little bit of video games while I work, too. Probably not the best for productivity, but, hey, this is the extra time, not the official time. It’s okay.

4. Leave the House. This is a big one for me. Granted, I’m usually working out of the house for four days a week (sometimes five, like this week), but those other three (or two) days? I’ve got to get out and do something, whether it’s shopping, doing laundry, or walking on the nearby nature trail. It’s usually one of the two, but with winter coming, my wallet might suffer if I’m always shopping on those days. Maybe I can become a mall walker…But, yeah, staying at home all day makes me feel awful and unproductive, even if I’ve gotten a lot accomplished. There’s got to be something to break it up.

5. Socialize. Here’s the one I need to most help with. I’m not a very social person. Every once in a while, we’ll hook up with some friends from work, though it’s usually the boyfriend’s friends rather than mine. I don’t really have many friends. That sounds so pathetic, but I’m really just kind of introverted until I know someone. Does being social online count? Even that I’m not very good at.

So four out of five is pretty solid. I had no doubts, because I love what I’ve got going on right now, but it’s nice to have it confirmed. What sort of routine do you have in place for your writing, if any? How many of Career Girl Daily’s tips have you got locked down?

(Also, hey, the deadline for the World Unknown Review is almost here! Don’t miss it! Send some stories today!)


  1. I feel like I’d go a little bit insane working from home! Having a second job would definitely help me, and maybe going there counts as being social, because you’re not alone all week? Having a space is a good idea for school work or blogging though, I think I better start doing that!

    • Oooh, I didn’t even think of considering my second job as being social, but it definitely should because it’s service industry and I deal with people all through my shift. Good thinking! And having a space has always been crucial to me for sure. That’s why I can always get writing work done if I’m got some spare time at my second job, because my brain is already in “work mode” just by being there. If I’m settled down in a certain space, everything just clicks into gear.

  2. Hi Laura,

    I work from home and love it! I used to be a litigation paralegal working for large law firms and specialized in medical malpractice and products liability. I am now using another side of my brain with mixed-media and digital collage art. I no longer have that awful commute into the City on rapid transit. I now have taken over Danielle’s bedroom for my amazing studio, and when she comes home from college, she gets Steve’s mancave!

    After 9/11, I was laid off, along with many others in my firm, and I vowed never to go back to working in law. It was perfect for me to be there for Danielle while she was in school. I gradually became interested in mixed-media art when a friend of mine opened up a design boutique and I was able to help her out. Never having worked in retail, it was a great way for me to make my hours and be home for Danielle. I eventually didn’t want to do a 25-minute drive to where her shop was and decided to try things on my own.

    I eventually tried digital art, and, for some reason, I was able to work in Photoshop. I am not computer literate by any means. While I enjoyed working at home, I had a couple of wonderful friends that enjoyed going on walks, shopping and going out to lunch. One moved away to Texas a year ago, and one friend passed away in June from ovarian cancer. I fought the battle along with her until the end and I miss her so much. Losing two of my best friends was quite an adjustment. I didn’t want to walk the same route as I did in the mornings all Summer and my occasional telephone conversations with my friend in Texas just wasn’t enough. I was heartbroken.

    Fortunately, I had my work, and, I was taking online Photoshop artistry courses from an amazing photographer and digital artist. Through that, I met wonderful kindred spirits from all over the world. I would set a routine every day to include listening to tutorials and create art. I then decided to rejoin a gym where I used to be a member when Danielle was in high school. Even though it is about 25 minutes from home on a good day without traffic, I felt I needed to get out and meet up with a friend to work out or work out alone. This friend is interested in photography and working with Photoshop and we have rekindled our friendship. I am now able to walk around my neighborhood alone and enjoy the memories I had with my friend, and, sometimes, with her husband when we can. I have a scheduled massage and acupressure appointment every other week with someone I have been with for almost 19 years. It was either give up a house keeper or him after I was laid off!

    I am frequently surprised how quickly the day goes and wonder how I did it all working outside the home. I don’t mind being alone with my kitties until Steve comes home from work. There is always something to keep me busy and I am never bored. I enjoy the peace and quiet, watching my half-hour soap while I have lunch, and, if the weather is nice, sit on my balcony and listen to my tutorials or read with a cup of tea. Before I know it, Steve is home and time to get the evening routine going. I always know when he arrives because the kitties run down stairs when they hear the car door close. I love it!

    I, honestly, don’t need a lot of friends to be happy. Quality, not quantity, is what is most important to me. You have chosen an amazing path for yourself, Laura. Keep up the good work, one day at a time.



    • Thanks, Ingrid! It’s really exciting! One day, I’d like to get to the point where I don’t have to worry about the second job, too, but I’m just happy to get as much of the writing-from-home, building-an-empire part as I can right now.This past year, even with all its struggles, has completely cemented for me how incredible it is to do something you love and go at it with full speed ahead.

  3. These are helpful reminders, most of which I’m sort of doing. I have plenty of errands and interests that get me to leave the house, including working at the old job one day a week, so I love it when I get to stay home all day. It is important for me to walk out in the back yard and more important to STRETCH. As I’ve gotten older, my body really needs to stretch after sitting and typing for more than an hour. Thanks for following!

    • I’m definitely feeling a bit of that need for stretching myself! I like to get up at least every half hour or so, even if it’s just to get a drink of water or see how the cats are doing. Every so often, you get in a “zone,” and, boy, do I regret it when I get up again! I’m sure being on my feet all day at the second job doesn’t help, either, but it’s a small price to pay.

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