Most days, I love working from home. But then there are those days. If you work from home, you know what I'm talking about. Those days when you realize you haven't left the house all week. Those days when you dress your kids in day-of-the-week socks just to remember what day it is—and then realize you still got the day wrong. Those days when a client refuses to pay for work you've already done and you find yourself pouring through full-time, away-from-home jobs. Those days when you eat PBandJ for lunch for the fifth time in a row.
I'm not the only one, right? Well, here's what I do (when my son's socks say Monday but it's actually Tuesday) to battle the work from home blues.
Get Out of the House
Often, the easiest way to cheer myself up is to go somewhere. Anywhere. Even grocery shopping (which I used to hate doing). Last week, I left the house after being frustrated about not being able to pay off some debt a little faster. And you know whom I ran into? A woman holding a sign and taking change in 15 degree weather. A young man leaving a fast food restaurant with a collection of pop bottles. A couple of good reminders of everything I have. When your mood starts dropping, go somewhere. If the kids are away, get some work done in a cozy coffee shop. If not, take the kids to the park or the library. Even just taking my work in the backyard on warm days does wonders for my mood.
Stop and Play
Sometimes, I need to be reminded of why I work from home. But usually my work from home blues are nothing a hardcore game of peek-a-boo can't fix. Put down your work and play with the kids. It's what you are working for anyway.
I have a weakness for Pepsi. But not just the stuff from the can. I'm talking about a nice tall fountain Pepsi with crushed ice. I try my best not to make it a habit, but on days when I'm in need of a pick-me-up, I head to a gas station and indulge in my $1.16 caffeinated weakness. On really bad days, there's chocolate involved. Don't do it every day—then it's no longer an indulgence—but reward yourself for your hard work, even in small ways.
Start a New Project
On days when I have less work than I'd like (i.e., less money), I start a new project or work on something for myself. I work on my eBook, a project that's just for me, instead of one where most of the profit is going to someone else. I redesign my marketing materials. But the key thing is that I do projects that remind me why I got into writing and photography in the first place. Reignite passion for your work by starting on something exciting, even if you have no idea how much money it will make (or if it will even make money at all).
I have numerous projects I've wanted to opt out of, but a few months down the road, I was certainly glad I decided to stick with it. Know that the best things are often the things you wait the longest for. My favorite gig right now I sent an application to—and didn't hear anything back for almost six months. There are times to say no, like if there's a project draining your energy for not a whole lot of pay and certainly zero pleasure, but most of the time persistence pays off.
Working from home, like any other job, has its downfalls. For me, it's being home in one environment day in and day out with no adult conversation. Identify what makes you frustrated, and then work on a way to combat those feelings.