How to Make Working from Home More Fun
One of my favorite quotes about making work more fun is from my friend Warren Whitlock:
“If you can tell the difference between work and play, you aren’t doing one of them right.”
The first time I heard him say that, I wrote it down and then sat back in my chair, puzzled but inspired.
Warren is cool like that. He hits you with those blurbs that make your eyebrow go up and then you smile.
On that note, if you can tell the different between work and play then this blog post is for you!
The question I asked our entrepreneurial experts today is:
What are some of your favorite ways to make work fun?
For instance, how do you fight boredom when working from home?
And, here are their responses…
Alice Seba of Contentrix.com says:
For me, even when it comes to work, if it's not at least a little bit enjoyable, it's not worth doing.
- Keeping my business focused on topics and delivery of products/services I find interesting.
- When it comes to actual tasks, delegating the ones I don't like to my contractors. For some reason, they seem to love this! 🙂
- Forming partnerships that combine skills and interests in such a way that we share the load in a way we enjoy.
But that's not really the FUN part. The fun part is the great people I meet and the time/luxuries an online business schedule provides me.
My work time is very focused and I always have a plan or to-do list ready. I limit distractions, delegate where possible and get ‘er done.
When the work is done, the fun starts.
It might be chatting it up on Twitter or Facebook with the great people I've come to know over the years or visiting their blogs, I really enjoy the connection to other like-minded individuals. But this activity is always separate from work time…work first, play later. By following this rule, I ensure my business grows and I can afford more fun time.
And outside of the Internet world, keeping a strict and minimal schedule means for more time with friends, family and other interests. I love that!
Overall, I love work and I love being productive…so that makes it enjoyable. But what's most important is what I can do when the work is done. Now that's FUN!
Kelly McCausey from KellyMcCausey.com says:
The best insurance against boredom in my business life is variety. If I had to do the same thing day in and day out I would have lost it ages ago. Having some work that calls for high social interaction and some work that calls for quiet attention and everything in between helps to create a nice ebb and flow of listening and talking and doing that suits me really well.
I'll admit that I'm a sensory input junkie. Just like the high school student who listens to music while they study, I love to have the television running while I work on design or coding issues. I watch a ridiculous amount of television via Hulu.com, not to mention the podcasts and other audio resources I consume while I work.
Even when I am writing, I have to have something coming into my ears. I choose instrumental music of course since listening to words would be distracting. (I wrote most of my book while listening to the Superman soundtrack in 2008.)
Shannon Cherry of The Power Publicist says:
Can work be fun? Of course it can, if you understand a few thing about how the mind works.
You see, we humans only can work in 45 minute time periods, then need a rest. (See there was a reason why high school classes were only about 45 minutes… our brains can only take on so much!) After longer periods of time, we can get bored, distracted more easily or simply slow down.
So what do I do? Work in 45 minute chunks then reward myself with a quick walk, a check on my hubby (who also works from home), grab a snack, chat with a pal online, or even watch TV for a few minutes. I'm then refreshed and ready to work again.
I also try to get the tasks I hate out of the way first, so I can work on more ‘fun' things that I enjoy: like writing and mentoring others.
Oh yeah, Pandora for me is a MUST. There's nothing more enjoyable than listening to the tunes I like while getting work done. (Wanna see what I'm listening to? Check it out at http://www.pandora.com/people/shannoncherry)
Connie Ragen Green of ConnieGreen.com says:
There is a quote from Confucius that says “If you enjoy what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.”
That's exactly how I've felt since coming online in 2006, but I must say that sometimes it can become tedious when I'm sitting in front of my computer for several hours.
To break up the monotony I keep Twitter up on my second computer. After I finish writing a blog post or an article, or some other task that must be completed, I spend a few minutes to catch up with my virtual friends. We share photographs, favorite quotes, and answer each other's questions on what we are doing in our business. I'm not the most sociable person, so this type of interaction is perfect for me. When I need to get back to work, I simply swivel my chair 90 degrees to the right to get back to what I was working on previously.
I also have little dogs that play in my office while I am working. About every ninety minutes or so they begin to cry or bark, so I spend some time playing with them to give them the attention they want and need. Then we all go outside to play for awhile. This is lots of fun, and I can't imagine ever leaving the house to work somewhere else again.
Melissa Ingold of Internet Marketing Sweetie says:
For the most part, I love my business and enjoy all the work that I do, so it's not really not fun. But working at home can certainly isolate you from the outside world, so it's nice to shake things up by taking your work away from home.
Fortunately, our amazing technology has made it so easy for us to work on the go. Grab your phone, laptop, or iPad and:
1) Hit a local coffee shop and work
2) Take your kids to play at the park or beach and work while they play.
3) Go for a walk or to the gym
But if you can't go out, there are other ways to fight work boredom. For instance, take frequent breaks from working and chat on twitter, visit forums, or grab a friend on IM. Or even better, get away from your computer altogether and play with your kids, watch a movie, read a book or exercise.
Sounds simple enough, I know. But far too often we don't take enough time away from work, and then our motivation, inspiration, and the enjoyment our business brings us, starts to wan. When that happens, it becomes a struggle to even get to the computer and work.
So it's extremely important for you to break out of work mode as often as you can, in order to keep to the spark of fun in it all 🙂
And, here's my 2 cents. I wrote this before reading the others just to make sure I wouldn't let their ideas sway mine.
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
As a parent, you may remember the song “Clean up, Clean up, everybody do your share. Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.” It makes cleanup more fun.
Humming the ABC’s twice when you’re brushing your teeth helps the time fly and lets you know when your time is up.
What about work? What can you do in your business to make work FUN?
These are just a few of the things I've done to keep laughing.
1. Embrace your inner goober and have a sense of humor.
Don't make “work” a four letter word. When I first started out online I tried so hard to be professional to be taken seriously by my peers – and I hated it. Oh Lordie Lordie was it ever hard. I grew to dread walking into my office.
As you can see – I've since then embraced my sense of humor. I now strive to make everything I do warm and light hearted, while still providing value and helping others. Weird Niche Wednesdays is obviously one of those attempts. My Online Success Podcast is full of laughter. Heck, even if it makes you groan instead of laugh – if you keep coming back, then it does its trick because I want my “peeps” to be those with a sense of humor.
Sometimes I reach my goals – like with the undies in “Expert Briefs” and sometimes I miss it. But, it's there and it's made blogging SO much more fun!
2. Make your office environment a place that you enjoy.
For awhile my desk was in a really dark room in the house and I found avoiding my desk. Now, I have a great room with a big window. I have hilarious “Demotivators” on my wall, an 8 foot by 6 foot whiteboard behind me, and I have a variety of other bizarre things in here that make me smile – including lots of bright artwork created by my children. I also have a plant in my office. I'm considering a fish tank, but haven't quite decided whether it's worth the extra work or not.
3. I’ve ONLY chosen to work with people who make me laugh – or at least smile, a lot.
I’d previously taken clients who were not fun, and I grew to hate doing the work. That’s when I realized that I was creating a job, rather than the lifestyle that I dreamed of. Adios to them. This includes my private coaching program, which is why it's “by invitation only”.
4. My staff members are encouraged to communicate their favorite activities (and their least favorite).
I do not want to give a creative person the job of researching for me any more than I want to stress out a very analytical person by giving him/her a highly creative job. I want them to be doing tasks that they find FUN!
5. Along the same lines – I personally avoid certain tasks like the plague.
If it’s tedious, I outsource it.
If it’s tedious and I can’t outsource it (like laundry) – then I play loud music while I do it.
6. My mentors are funny.
I have made the mistake of buying products from people who I either didn’t respect, or who were dry and not very fun to listen to. What do you think those DVDs are doing now? I can give you a hint. They’re getting dusted weekly — and that’s about it. Now I choose to learn from people who I respect AND who I am entertained by. And, I strive to offer both to you – for instance with my How to Guest Blog Guide. Hope it’s both interesting and informative.
7. I try to Do Something Silly Every Day.
If you need ideas, here's a quick brainstorm list for you.
- Put a hat on your cat and take it's picture. (They hate that.)
- Make a smiley face out of your mustard when you make your sandwich.
- Turn on some 80s music and sing – loud! You can't be unhappy when singing “Don't Worry, Be Happy”.
- Look at your first website in the WayBack When Machine. THAT always cracks me up!
- Change your screen saver to something hilarious. Mine cracks me up every time my computer starts!
- Read the archives for Weird Niche Wednesdays. There are some WEIRD things out there on the nets.
- Wear a costume while you work. Heck, why not? 🙂
- Work naked. THAT's silly! lol.
Life’s got too many actually “serious” moments. Work can not be one for me.
Throw your “How to Make Work More Fun” ideas at me. I want them!
Smile. It’s just internet marketing, guys. We’re allowed to have fun. Really!
PS. Please add your suggestions in the comments, and I’ll add mine, too.
I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.
Lisa Marie MaryAugust 19, 2010 at 9:06 am
This is by far my fave Expert Briefs yet! Love it! “Embrace Your Inner Goober” – awe- some!! We need posters of that with your picture on ’em!! Hee!
I do a lot of the things that people have said here, listening to music, taking breaks for TV or podcasts, definitely Twitter! But I’d have to say that right now, my favorite way to make working at home fun is Skype. Hanging out all day with fellow WAHM’s is awesome – they keep me motivated, on track, or make me laugh, or talk to me when I’m down, or we help each other out with projects we might be working on.
We just kind of hang out all day, it’s easy and relaxed, not like being on the phone where you have to be there for the convo from start to finish. I might say something to a friend and she answers right then – or she’s busy and she answers in an hour or something. Whatever – totally easy. Love it.
Just yesterday someone was stuck on some detail of a project and I said, “Well, can’t you maybe do it like this?” and that totally helped her out. So we’re there to help each other get unstuck, too – and that’s awesome!
The MomAugust 19, 2010 at 10:03 am
I agree LMM! Nicole needs to create a poster “Embrace Your Inner Goober” That would be so awesome. And, Nik… you know it’s possible. I can think of a dozen “goober” moments you have goin’ on in your day-to-day life. 🙂
The HappypreneurAugust 19, 2010 at 11:35 am
Life is like a box of chocolates…that’s all ;^)
LorettaAugust 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm
“Look at your first website in the WayBack When Machine. THAT always cracks me up!” – I just DID THAT and OMG I cracked up so hard I nearly fell off my chair! It was a good reminder of the journey from then to now and reminded me that I’ve learned a lot, I’ve done a lot, and it’s all been great fun even on the day when it seemed like it wasn’t.
Lain EhmannAugust 20, 2010 at 6:18 am
YOU make ME smile! 🙂
Andrea PreeceAugust 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm
I really enjoy the content I have purchased so far, it has saved some time and though odten I have not used the exact article it has given my food for thought and a starting point for some of my sites.
If you write from the heart then you shall nevet go wrong,
Camille GainesAugust 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm
I LOVE to sit outside by the pool with my laptop and “work”. This works especially well with writing projects; I get so inspired and motivated surrounded by the cardnials, hummingbirds and beautiful dragonflies I see around me!
Tishia LeeAugust 27, 2010 at 7:07 am
This was my fave expert briefs so far! I loved your list of silly things to do everyday Nicole. In fact I can’t wait to make sandwiches later this afternoon for my son and I so I can make smiley faces 🙂 I need to start embracing my inner goober and silliness way more than I do! Thanks for reminding me that this is just internet marketing and I can have fun! I tend to forget that sometimes.
BarbaraAugust 27, 2010 at 9:13 am
Great briefs. I tend to go along with Shannon. I can only work in intervals of one to one and a half hours. If I engage in work longer than those periods, I get distracted, bored or loose my sense of concentration. I usually get up from my desk and have a little walk around the house, water the plants or simply look at the traffic on the streets. I also use those times to tweet or read a few emails or check Facebook. Everyday, anytime between 2 and 4 PM, my husband (works from home also) and I have a break together with a snack, glass of wine or cup of tea. We spend about an hour and a half chatting and catching up. Just one of the joys and fun of working from home!
SandraAugust 27, 2010 at 9:16 am
This was a great article and it made me SMILE 🙂 Loved it!
Dan ReinholdAugust 30, 2010 at 10:47 am
I used to whistle while I worked, but the rest of the orchestra didn’t appreciate it. 🙂
What a great bunch of tips from adding fun to work! There’s nothing like a well-timed distraction to pep up the brain cells and enrich your life a bit to boot.
Congrats on another top-notch Expert Brief, Nik…I have to admit I’m a bit jealous though. My “Underwear Wisdom” column never really caught on, at least not with the crowd I was expecting.
The most fun of it all is that there’s work at home and work everywhere else you could want to be. If it’s fun (and legal!) to you, any short break anyplace and anytime can do the trick!
MichaelSeptember 6, 2010 at 2:48 am
An awesome list of things to try. I’ve never seen http://www.archive.org/web/web.php before, and I’m feeling a little bit traumatised by all the terrible layouts I used to have! Article made me smile – tank you 🙂 (although not sure I could wear a costume!)
SigridOctober 22, 2010 at 4:21 am
Love this article. Thanks for sharing it. I agreed, I’m currently working at home and I’m enjoying it.
NadeshikoAugust 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm
Thank you for nice tips. Currently I am working at home, and I put essential oil diffuser and nice music in the room. Sometimes my cute cats comfort me!!