You start talking to yourself... a lotThere's always some kind of banter or chitchat between coworkers throughout the course of a work day. It's what makes office life fun and bearable. You share stories, tell jokes, comment on current happenings and events, or commiserate over dreaded projects. Sometimes you chat with coworkers just to think out loud or run an idea by them. When you work from home, you'll still want to say all those funny little quips and share those random thoughts and stories, except there are no coworkers to hear you. It's just . . . you. So you say it anyway . . . to yourself. At first, it feels strange. But after a while, you hardly even notice when you're doing it. And that is when it becomes dangerous because now you're just one step away from talking to yourself in public, which means you're just one step away from officially crazy thanks to working from home.
Pajamas and "comfy clothes" dominate your daily wardrobeThe first few days or weeks of working from home, you'll still make an effort to get dressed at a normal time in the morning and be ready for the day. You might dress more casually than you would if going into an office, but still - you're dressed. And then, as time slowly passes and you settle in to this new work-ten-feet-from-your-bedroom routine, you start to dress a little later in the day. Then a little bit later. And, when you do get dressed, you dress just a little more casually. And then a little bit more casually, until your daywear becomes nearly indistinguishable from your nightwear. Probably because it is your nightwear. (And by 'nightwear' I mean pajamas, not going-out-to-the-club clothes. Girl, please. Ain't nobody got time for that.)
You forget to eat normal meals at normal meal timesIt's 11am and your stomach is roaring like the mighty king of the jungle all because you forgot to eat breakfast when you woke up four hours ago and immediately sat down to work. It's understandable. Forgetting breakfast is easy to do when the kitchen table is also your desk and sitting down at it means getting lost in work for the better part of the morning. Or maybe the Roaring Tummy comes at 3pm because you worked through the normal lunch hour without realizing it and your stomach has been an empty pit for the last three hours. It's understandable. Forgetting lunch is easy to do when there are no coworkers wandering past your door on their way out for a midday meal to tip you off.
Your pets become your best friends/colleagues/office matesEvery stress, every anxious train of thought, every new budding idea needs to be vented and heard out loud, and the only open ears around the home office are covered in fur. Before, I'd wander into a friend/coworker's office, shut the door, and release whatever was on my mind or stressing me out over chocolates or coffee. Now I have to bribe Molly & Gia with blueberries and hay so they'll at least look like they're paying attention to me while I run business ideas by them or vent about the latest stresses. They're not just guinea pigs anymore. They're my therapists/business coaches/life advisors, too. If only I could translate their squeaky responses.
You will develop adult ADDNo matter how much you like your work, there are some times when everything else imaginable sounds more appealing than actually doing work. In an office, those temptations are usually kept in check by the fact that there are other people around to see what you're doing and, more likely than not, at least one of those other people is your boss/manager/superior of some sort. Not so when you work from home. No one can see the rabbit hole of internet articles you've wandered down or the ridiculous number of Buzzfeed quizzes you've taken. And if that wasn't bad enough already, you also have the added temptation of all the other distractions that come with working from home - pets, household chores, things in the cabinet that want to be baked, pretty light flowing through the window just so, and let's not forget all the notification buzzes and blinks from email and Facebook and Twitter, oh my! Somehow all the distractions! become even harder to resist when you work from home.
You have no real scheduleThis might actually tie into the whole all the distractions! problem. When your office is one room over from your bedroom or living room (or in my case, actually in your kitchen), it's really hard to resist sitting at your desk first thing in the morning and just doing "one or two" (yeah right) tasks - which explains the whole "missing breakfast" thing above. Or imagine you have a few errands you need to run and rather than doing it in the evening or on the weekend when everyone else in the world will be out running errands, too, you decide to do it after lunch on a Wednesday. Yay! Avoid the crowds & traffic! Ah, the freedom of working from home. Except the never-ending To Do list of self-employment means never-ending guilt about any time spent not working--and double guilt for taking time away from a week day--so you guilt yourself into making it up later by channeling your inner night owl and burning the midnight oil. With a flexible schedule and no one in charge but you, that whole 9-to-5 business can become totally meaningless in the work-from-home world.
How do you feel about working from home? Do you enjoy it or do you prefer a traditional office environment?