How To Work From Home Without Losing Your Mind

According to an infographic recently put together by the American Museum of Corporate American History and Solvate, the average commuter spends 429 days just commuting over the course of their lifetime.

Which makes me feel relieved that I put a stop to that bullshit early on.

I mean man. What a waste.

Not to say that working in an office isn’t better for some. Office culture provides structure. A social outlet. A separation between work and home.

But still.

You can have that at home, too. In fact, you can have it even better.


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Bring In New Projects Without Lifting a Finger

Things have been awesomer than usual lately, and that’s a relief.

Because 2009 was a rough one.

This time last year, it seemed that — no matter how desperately I looked — it was impossible to find paying work.

But then, at the end of 2009, shortly after I had started a new part-time job at YourTango, Ian Kerner contacted me about co-writing an ebook with him for his new Good In Bed web project. Several months later, I was contacted by someone at AOL’s Patch about copy editing. The other month, an editor at The Frisky asked me if I’d be interested in writing a regular sex column for them. And then, the other week, someone at Psych Central e-mailed me, asking if I would be interested in writing for their site, as one of their editors had seen my LoveMom piece on depression, and had been impressed.

I’m not trying to gloat (though sometimes I like to point at my husband and say neener-neener). I’m just sayin’… it’s totally possible to bring in new projects without lifting a finger. How?

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How To Avoid Social Media Fatigue in 5 Easy Steps

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Oh my god, you guys. The other week, I asked for suggestions on what I should include in my Job Hopping for Word Nerds e-book. Heather of CraftLit provided me with a goldmine of great suggestions, some of which I deemed outside the scope of my book. Still, I thought they would make for some great blog post fodder. So today, I decided to address this one:

How can I use social media without being swallowed by it?

So I opened up my Freelancedom dashboard, typed in the title of this post, aaand… then proceeded to spend the next four hours on Twitter.


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February 2010 Monthly Goal Meetup

Lordy, it’s shaping up to be quite the month. Things at YourTango continue to get even busier (who knew that was possible?), and my ongoing copywriting project soldiers on. I’m also leading a team in Freelance Success‘s biannual Query Challenge, and I spent yesterday doing some market research at Barnes & Noble, and sending out query letters and LOIs. I’m loving my team. They’re so…motivated. It’s gonna be a trip to keep up with them!

But let’s hold off on February for the moment. How did I do last month?

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When Every Day Is Sunday

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Early yesterday, Marie Claire tweeted a link to a group of articles they have online, on how to beat the Sunday blues. Funny, that. Lately, it feels as if every day is Sunday.

Do you ever have weeks like that?

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The Benefits of Working the Off-Hours

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It’s a few days before the new year, and I’m one of just four people in the office. It’s silent. Still. There is only the muffled sound of keyboards clacking, and the occasional clanging of my spoon against my mug when I stir some soy milk into yet another cup of coffee. Despite remnants of holiday-related exhaustion, I find myself getting a lot done. I enjoy the quiet hush in the air, and don’t mind the fact that I had to walk 15 freezing-cold blocks to get here. I’ve been spoiled by two years of working from home full-time, but there’s something about the complete lack of distractions that leaves me content.

It was the same over the weekend, in the days between Christmas and the final work week of 2009. Without any wild party plans, my husband and I worked through the weekend, him at a partner’s house and me in my bedroom. I did some stockpiling for YourTango, and completed my career coaching textbook and workbook. (I also vegged out in front of an NCIS DVD and read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, so don’t think that I didn’t get in my fair share of relaxing.)

It felt good. Because, for the past month, I had felt overwhelmed, struggling to get used to my new on-site schedule while still rushing to meet deadlines for already-existing clients. It was nice to finally be working when no one else was…with no one breathing down my neck.

What are my favorite things about working in the off-hours?

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Getting It Done


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I’ve been feeling a little anxious lately. I commute into an office three days a week now, leaving a lot less time for my other projects. I have a major magazine piece I’ve been meaning to tie up for months (this is what happens when my deadline gets extended). I’ve been struggling with a project outline for another client, stressing out about getting it wrong. And Christmas has sort of snuck up on me. There are still gifts to be bought, other gifts to be wrapped, cookies to be baked, and cards to be sent. All within the next week. Not only that, but I’m already feeling burnt out, and I have major problems with procrastination.

Yesterday, I talked to my mentor coach about procrastination, motivation, and low energy levels. I told her how I tend to put off large projects, intimidated by their scope, telling myself that there’s still time, yet feeling heart palpitations every time I think about the fact that they’re unfinished. Then, once I finally tackle the project (in the eleventh hour, of course), I’m blown away by how easy it is, wondering over how I had been worrying all this time about nothing. (Miraculously, using this tactic has never caused me to miss a deadline.) I tell her how I wish I could get things done early, instead of causing myself undue stress over an extended period of time. I tell her about my low energy levels. My exhaustion. My CFS. We brainstorm.

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December Monthly Goal Meetup

I am sitting in bed with my laptop right now, desperately fighting the urge to take a nap, as I have an essay revision due today. The perfect time for our monthly goal meetup? Maybe it’ll get me in the writing mood. [Read more…]

Getting It All Done: Your Master To-Do List

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For the entire month of August, I worked 14-hour days: I blogged, did essay rewrites, researched and interviewed up a storm for several story assignments, and proofread direct mail copy.

The only thing missing was the self-marketing, which is why — as I finish up a ton of projects — I have nothing new on the horizon (nothing concrete, anyway).

No matter how much talent you have, you won’t succeed without a business-side sensibility. So. How can I get it all done? After the jump, the way my days should run: [Read more…]

Coffee Break: Working 9 to 5

I’ve been freelancing full time for about two years now and, since leaving book publishing, my lifestyle has changed quite a bit:

I’ve felt healthier, probably because I no longer construct entire meals out of vending machine snacks, and because I take the time to work out several times a week. (Not only that, but I’m avoiding the petri dish that is the corporate office.)  [Read more…]