Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Practical Points for Work-at-Home Discipline

"7 Discipline-builders for Remote Workers"
WebWorkerDaily (August 10, 2010)

"If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me they don't know how I work at home with 'all those distractions', I'd buy a few albums by bands that I know help me concentrate.

"Of course, we all know that working remotely with success takes more than a good playlist: it requires real discipline. The kind of discipline that keeps you at your desk when no one will know if you're not. The kind of discipline that keeps the television off, and your brain switched on.

"I've heard people say we're born disciplined, or we're not, but I don't believe it. Anyone can learn to be disciplined in their work..."

The main points are:
  1. Plan your day.
  2. Plan your breaks.
  3. Chunk tasks and set time goals.
  4. Develop a reward strategy.
  5. Let your chat client show when you’re away.
  6. Make delivery promises, and stick to them.
  7. Do something you enjoy.
I'm not 'giving it all away' with that list. Each of the seven points has a couple paragraphs, discussing what "chunk tasks" means, for example.

Point #5 is something I should take to heart. I spend most of my 'online community' time on Twitter, and I've gotten into the habit of logging in and staying that way until I sign off for the night.

I'm not trying to give the impression that I'm always at my desk: It's just more convenient to log in once.

But Georgina Laidlaw, who wrote this article, made good sense when she wrote that being offline when I'm not actively engaged in 'chat' creates a sort of accountability.

Yeah: I'll definitely want to think about that.

Doing Something You Enjoy, Enjoying What You Do

The seventh point is good advice: "Do something you enjoy." That's not always practical. I was born during the Truman administration, and it wasn't until very recently that I've been able to make my work something that I can say I really enjoy.

No complaints: I "enjoyed" being a radio disk jockey, delivering plants, answering phones, and all the other jobs I've had. But I can say that because I enjoy learning: and I learned something in each job.

Now, I'm finally able to go to work full time for myself, developing A Small World of Websites (links at That's a misnomer, actually. Blogging hadn't caught on when I started, and as my blogs overtook the websites I'd developed - well, I liked the name and kept it.
A tip of the hat to Gen215, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this article.

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