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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Breaking the monotony of working at home

    I'm not sure what it is but lately I'm feeling a bit confined in my home office. I'm not sure if other designers can relate, but I'm starting to feel the same ol, same ol when working at home. In order to break this habit, I'm going to go out for a walk or to a nearby starbucks or anything for that matter to just break the monotony from the daily routine of being a designer who works at home.

    Can anyone relate? If so, what do you do to break the monotny of working at home by yourself?


  2. #2
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    Walking is good for your body and your brain (clears it up and helps you think). Walk in your neighborhood or even at a local mall.

    Take off and go see a movie. (There's less crowds and more seats during the weekday afternoons.)
    Go to the gym and work off some stress. (Yoga or Pilates, too.)
    Get a massage.
    Go swimming.
    Go to a coffee shop or a sandwich shop and take a break with a magazine or newspaper.

    Working from home is great and gives you more freedom than you know what to do with. Just tell yourself it's ok to take a break and do something YOU want to do.
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  3. #3
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    I'm from NYC and I have an apartment in Brooklyn. I eventually broke down and took a cubicle space in Manhattan which is sort of a community of people just like us doing various businesses. Since being here the work I've received from people needing my skills in the space has paid my rent here, and it gives a good work/home balance. I work like crazy but once i'm home I'm home and I don't deal with much work stuff.

    If you're staying at home definitely try to take a lot breaks, get a good sleeping schedule going (get up at the same time every day). I would usually start my morning off with a long walk to go get coffee and come back home to start working. It simulates a commute which gives you a mental separtion of work/office space. Otherwise you'll just sit there in your underwear pounding out code in your laptop and that feels yucky. Get dressed up for work! It will change your mental approach - it really does! Take a lunch break. And then come home from work.
    Also check out StevePavilina.com - his blog has a lot of productivity articles I use to help me with these sort of things.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thinkaholic
    Walking is good for your body and your brain (clears it up and helps you think). Walk in your neighborhood or even at a local mall.
    Get a dog and you'll also get to know people in your neighbourhood a lot quicker (unless you're a normally gregarious sort of character anyway). Dogs are also good for a five-minute break from work - get up and play around with them for a bit.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Adholes- the site you listed isn't working?

    Regarding the cubicle space you rented, what is the official name of those places. I am considering looking for one here in the DC area as well. I'm not referring to executive suites, which I'm sure you are not talking about either. The official name for these places escapes me.

    Quote Originally Posted by adholes
    I'm from NYC and I have an apartment in Brooklyn. I eventually broke down and took a cubicle space in Manhattan which is sort of a community of people just like us doing various businesses. Since being here the work I've received from people needing my skills in the space has paid my rent here, and it gives a good work/home balance. I work like crazy but once i'm home I'm home and I don't deal with much work stuff.

    If you're staying at home definitely try to take a lot breaks, get a good sleeping schedule going (get up at the same time every day). I would usually start my morning off with a long walk to go get coffee and come back home to start working. It simulates a commute which gives you a mental separtion of work/office space. Otherwise you'll just sit there in your underwear pounding out code in your laptop and that feels yucky. Get dressed up for work! It will change your mental approach - it really does! Take a lunch break. And then come home from work.
    Also check out StevePavilina.com - his blog has a lot of productivity articles I use to help me with these sort of things.


  6. #6
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    I work from home too and it does get hard sometimes--you miss just the normal human interaction. I've got a few dogs and I will take them out and throw the ball for them. Sometimes in my lunch break I will play DDR or perhaps go out for lunch. Do you have any friends that work close by that you can get to take lunch with you? I used to meet friends for lunch once a week or so. It was nice.

    Something I also used to do was try to complete my 5 days work in a 4-4.5 day week so on that 5th day I could take the afternoon or whole day off and do whatever i wanted while everyone else was at work.

    Try taking your laptop to a coffee shop that has wireless
    Sara

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909
    Do you have any friends that work close by that you can get to take lunch with you? I used to meet friends for lunch once a week or so. It was nice.
    Unfortunately, my friends are employed corporate rats and they don't live close enough. Although, I'm kinda thinking about starting up a Meetup.com group for those interested in dining out. Of course, this would be for evening dinners as opposed to lunch. But I thought about a lunch club group as well for indie professionals like us. It probably be a good way to network and drum up business, but we'll see. I have a full plate as it is.


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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SG1
    Unfortunately, my friends are employed corporate rats and they don't live close enough. Although, I'm kinda thinking about starting up a Meetup.com group for those interested in dining out. Of course, this would be for evening dinners as opposed to lunch. But I thought about a lunch club group as well for indie professionals like us. It probably be a good way to network and drum up business, but we'll see. I have a full plate as it is.
    Meetup is a great place for that. You never know what could come out of those get togethers. You may find yourself a new partner

    Also, consider joining a networking group or perhaps a User group.
    Sara

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    Sorry - the site is stevepavlina.com. I'm not sure what you call what I have - we call them cubical farms I guess. But ours are really nice and arty. We're in Razorfish's old space so it's nicely designed. You can check it out at sunshineny.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by SG1
    Adholes- the site you listed isn't working?

    Regarding the cubicle space you rented, what is the official name of those places. I am considering looking for one here in the DC area as well. I'm not referring to executive suites, which I'm sure you are not talking about either. The official name for these places escapes me.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909
    Meetup is a great place for that. You never know what could come out of those get togethers. You may find yourself a new partner
    Partner as in business or lover? I sense you mean the later as opposed to the former. Perhaps that is how you found yours?

    Also, consider joining a networking group or perhaps a User group.
    Yeah, I belong to a couple networking groups. Though I'm just considering starting one for entrepreneurs but again, we'll see

    I'm not sure what a user group is, though. Unless you mean a group for like minded designers/developers? Perhaps you know of Refreshing? They have a lot of groups popping up all over the U.S and overseas [mostly UK] and have established a great grassroots word of mouth phenomenon amongs the designer community.


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    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adholes
    But ours are really nice and arty. We're in Razorfish's old space so it's nicely designed. You can check it out at sunshineny.com.
    Yep- that's exactly what I am referring to. The ones I've been seeing are artsy and cool as well. Good visual stimulation, if you ask me. thanks.


  12. #12
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    Otherwise you'll just sit there in your underwear pounding out code in your laptop and that feels yucky.
    How true...I'll nominate that for quote of the day.

    I go to the gym early in the morning for an hour 2-3 days/week. Was never a morning person but now, I enjoy it.

    (FREE) Wireless cafes are critical. Although sometimes I get the cafe-equivalent of feeling like a bar-fly.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    As everyone else has said, wireless cafes and pubs are great for a change of scene - I regularly have a wander if I've found somewhere free (becoming more common as added value).

    Also important to break up the day and excercise/interact. Running and cycling great solo, swimming and gym if ya wanna interact with peeps. I'm actually off for a run any minute
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    Non-Member bigrollerdave's Avatar
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    When I start to feel confined and stuff like that when I'm working I just work harder and faster because it takes your mind off of the other stuff. It's like athletes hurting themselves they just keep playing through the pain. I guess that's why everyone thinks I work too much.

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    I completely agree that you need a routine. Get up at the same time and start your day with some exercise; it'll put you in a great frame of mind and make you feel better about not having to run off to a cubicle before you sit down to crank out some work.

    I'm also lucky that one of my roomates comes home for lunch on a regular basis, it's like getting a lunch break.
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  16. #16
    Non-Member lostseed's Avatar
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    Great topic, I really need to do something to get out. I run to the gas station once in a while for a some caffein, but Im thinking about taking motorcycle breaks. I havent ridden as much as I used to and it really is great to break up the day and have a break from all the PC time.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot talash's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I am reading a book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. I was gifted this book by one of my client / friend.

    Trust me, this book can change the way you do things. I am already feeling the change in lifestyle and productivity.

    Regards
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  18. #18
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SG1
    Partner as in business or lover? I sense you mean the later as opposed to the former. Perhaps that is how you found yours?
    .
    I meant business partner. My partner is strictly business, well, he's a great friend too . But we met through SitePoint actually.
    Sara

  19. #19
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talash
    Hi,

    I am reading a book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. I was gifted this book by one of my client / friend.

    Trust me, this book can change the way you do things. I am already feeling the change in lifestyle and productivity.

    Regards
    Abhishek
    Talash- I've heard alot of good things about GTD. You are the umpteenth person to have mentioned this recently. Maybe I should go out and get this book too. I know it's a bestseller but I got the perception that it was another one of those time management books. Bleah

    Perhaps I should get the Audiobook version on Itunes?


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    > Can anyone relate? If so, what do you do to break the monotny of working at home by yourself?

    I can understand exactly what your going through. Basically it gets boring, as bad as being at an office, but without the politics so I suppose that is something

    Have you got a laptop by any chance? If not, go and get one; Something half decent that you can use convienently. On a good day, weather wise, I just transfer the files to the laptop and go away for a couple of hours, to the local park for example, somewhere outdoors if better.

    Make sure you've got a second battery for that laptop btw...

    > Sometimes in my lunch break I will play DDR or perhaps go out for lunch.

    What? You get a lunch break huh? I don't have the time for that

  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict operator's Avatar
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    I also use the wireless cafe's and it works great for a change of scenery, and for human interaction. Taking a shower and getting dressed right away sounds like a good idea, although I don't do it very often. Usually I bike up a huge hill near my home first thing most mornings - that puts me an awesome mood. When I don't do the morning bike-ride, I usually end up in the yucky-laptop-underwear scenario (like right now!).

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    I do have a laptop but it's kinda weak- 3 years old, so I prefer my desktop until I choose to go buy another one.

    They say getting out is good because it lets designers break the mold and get creative again . Staying inside tends to hamper our creativity.


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyssen
    Get a dog and you'll also get to know people in your neighbourhood a lot quicker (unless you're a normally gregarious sort of character anyway). Dogs are also good for a five-minute break from work - get up and play around with them for a bit.
    Problem with mine is that he always wants to play when I'm working!!!

    Great for taking your mind off work, not so good when you actually want to do some.



  24. #24
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    I am feeling exactly the same way. My office is in my home and the first thing I do when I wakeup is go in my office and it is the last place I am before I go to bed. Sometimes I feel really confined like you do and really bored. I need more interaction than the computer can give me. To compound this, I just moved to a different state, so I don't have friends.

    What I have been doing is going to coffee shop and I take drives and look scenery. This breaks up my day / week. I am also investing in a laptop so I can go to coffee shops or the university or wherever and work in an environment that is more stimulating that my office. Lastly, I have thought about doing seminars through the chamber of commerce as a way to educate myself, meet new people, and breakup my week.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Member seraph_alpha's Avatar
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    Working out of home office has it's advantages as well as some draw backs.
    I currently work out of a home office and I can say that i would not have it any other way, but it can be a challenge to keep motivated and not get caught up in the home style of working, we crave interaction with other people and an office enviroment provided that, so chat online, get out for breaks and lunch instead of stay at home, if you have to do some sketching out ideas go to the park to do it instead of your office.

    Anyways these are some of things I do to keep from getting bummed out.

    Thanks


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