Working From Home: What It’s Really Like
Big Takeaway: Working from home is not for everyone …but if you’re not an overly social person, you like being in control of your own time, and you have the discipline to actually get important stuff done even when things go wrong, it could be one of the most awesome decisions you make in your life.
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Working from home is awesome… boring… and perfect.
It’s exactly 8:25am as I type this sentence.
I’ve been awake for 27 minutes.
In that time I’ve:
- Helped my wife make breakfast,
- Prepared my daughter’s lunch bag for school,
- Dressed my son (and changed his nappy),
- Made two cups of tea for me and Alex,
- Cleaned the kitchen,
- Showered and dressed,
- Ate my breakfast,
- Planned my day,
- And now started writing this post.
Not bad for 27 minutes.
Most mornings all of that takes us about an hour.
This morning I got up late, so I had to rush it.
Now I’m alone, whilst Alex takes our daughter Emilia to school, and drops Zach at the Nanny’s house.
On the way she also has to stop to buy some fruit for Emilia, and have her passport photos taken so we can update Emilia’s passport (…we’re going to the US in 8 weeks for a speaking gig I’m doing in San Diego).
Yesterday we struck a deal to sell one of Alex’s businesses; International Ballet Workshops — so today I’ll be talking to our lawyer to have the contract drawn up.
We do that each morning over Voxer.
When Alex gets home we’ll probably both be so excited to have 4 hours completely child-free, that we’ll spend half of that drinking coffee and chatting on the lounge. Other activities may also ensue… but I’ll leave that to your imagination. (Clearly I’m talking about this).
Morning rush = done… What’s next?
My plan for the morning is JV partner outreach for one of my businesses – Strike Team.
- Researching who would make an ideal partner for us,
- Finding their email,
- Getting in touch,
- Negotiating a deal,
- Setting up the tech for them (custom links… maybe custom landing pages too),
- Organising promotion (usually email blasts, webinars or interviews),
- Tracking everything and reporting to the partners,
- Paying commissions on referred sales.
After lunch, we’ll pick Zach up… and then my workday is done.
My usual afternoon…
Once Zach comes home, I’ll spend about an hour playing trucks, or Ninjas & Pirates, or just good old wrestling (with a BJJ slant on it — never too young to introduce basic concepts).
Then it’ll be time to pick up Emilia.
And after that, there’s the usual parent-life afternoon, which typically involves taking kids to activities, helping with homework, reading books, playing games, cleaning up endless mess (how the hell are kids so messy, right?), getting dinner ready, bathing the kids, and finally putting them to bed.
Not sleep… Bed. (Zach will scream out “I’m scared” for about 20 minutes to scam more cuddles, and Emilia will ask me endless science questions to scam more awake time. I’ve got you both figured out!)
When my kids are finally asleep, I’ll either get another hour of work-stuff done… or I’ll chill out with Alex and watch a movie, or read a book.
It’s not always like this though.
Today is likely to be a ridiculously calm day.
Most days, there’s some mini-hurricane to sort out.
This week it was food poisoning.
Everyone but me ate some dodgy KFC, and they paid the price for the next 36 hours.
Which meant I got zero work done, and spent the entire time trying to figure out who was next in line to vomit.
Other days, I don’t want to be at home (honestly, it gets boring to spend almost all of my work and leisure time in the same place) so I’ll go to a local cafe with my laptop, notebook and pen.
Then there’s my own training each week. I like to go to the gym at least 2 to 3 times a week to lift weights and swim.
That’s happened once in the past 2 months though — and that was because I was on holiday in Melbourne for a few days.
Most of the time, life gets in the way.
For example, I might get up at 6am pumped and ready to rock the squat rack… then discover that Zach has over-filled his nappy during the night, and he’s now dripping wet. And his bed has to be stripped… sheets washed… and bed re-made.
I could always leave that for my wife, but, I’m not an asshole — so I choose to be helpful over getting to the gym.
By the time it’s done, everyone else is up and we’re in “morning madness mode” as usual.
I also like to go to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class twice a week.
That’s also happened once in the last 2 months.
So not everything goes to plan.
Here’s what I like and dislike about working from home…
Why it sucks:
- Not very social.
- Easily distracted by “life” stuff.
- Super easy to procrastinate.
- If one of my kids gets sick, they stay home and I get nothing done.
- Can be difficult to switch off after working, because it’s the same environment where I relax.
Why it’s awesome:
- I’m in charge of how I use my time.
- I have the freedom to work wherever I want (even though I usually stay home because the internet is better here).
- If one of my kids gets sick, I can be here for them and give them the care they need.
- I get to take random coffee breaks with my wife whenever I want (she works from home too).
- All my stuff is here — which means if I need a book to find a quote, I walk to my bookshelf. If I need to disconnect for a few minutes and re-set my brain, I can pick up my guitar.
- Even though it’s repetitive, and sometimes I get sick of it… I get to take my daughter to school each morning, and pick her up every afternoon. Which she LOVES.
The other awesome thing about working from home is… TRAVEL.
The way Alex and I have set up our companies allows us to work from absolutely anywhere in the world (as long as there’s wifi).
That’s not a freedom we take for granted.
And it really is one of the best things about working for myself.
Just 2 years ago we had an amazing trip to Europe.
We packed up our kids and headed overseas for 2 months.
We had a week in Rome… a week in Paris… a weekend in Toulouse… a week in Scotland (where I got to see Derren Brown live on stage)… a weekend in the Pyrenees — where I had a private archery lesson from one of France’s top archers… a week in the Alps… and a couple of weeks with Alex’s family outside Lyon.
We did a little bit of work in each of those places.
For example, I filmed this 4 part video series (just watch the start, unless you need more clients!).
- Video 1 (Colosseum, Rome)
- Video 2 (Pantheon, Rome)
- Video 3 (Stirling Castle, Scotland)
- Video 4 (Loch Ness, Scotland)
Working from home is not for everyone.
…but if you’re not an overly social person, you like being in control of your own time, and you have the discipline to actually get important stuff done even when things go wrong, it could be one of the most awesome decisions you make in your life.
Let me know in the comments why you do, or would love to, work from home — or why you don’t, or wouldn’t want to do it.