Telecommuting Advice?--THANK YOU!!!

Subject: Telecommuting Advice?--THANK YOU!!!
From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 10:32:05 -0500

Many thanks to everyone who responded both on- and off-list. Your advice is invaluable. It helps to know that others have been where I'm about to go and have been successful at it. At the beginning, my situation is going to involve some struggling because I'm going to be bouncing back and forth between Chicago and northern lower Michigan until our house in Chicago sells. Then I'll be able to telecommute full-time with just some occasional visits to the office.

The house we're moving into (temporarily until we buy or build a bigger one within the next year) is *tiny*, so I have to set up my desk in the main living area whether I like it or not. Based on the advice I got from everyone, though, I'm going to create a secluded work area by strategically placing some bookshelves alongside my desk in a corner of the room (near a window to keep it from feeling like a jail cell). That will be my work area, and I'll make sure that my family knows not to bother me while I'm there.

Every morning, our boss pays a short visit to each of us so we can briefly update her on what we're working on. I will continue that daily meeting via the phone because it helps me to set my priorities for the day and gives her a chance to shift priorities around as she sees fit. It also gives me daily contact with her so she knows that I'm actually working. Then, for the rest of the day, I'm free to work when and how I please, as long as the work gets done. I like the little bit of guidance so I know what she expects of me and then the freedom to do the job.

Self-discipline is going to be crucial. I like the idea of using some sort of a program to log my hours, so I will get something to do that with. I don't have a Palm, so maybe now is the time to break down and get one. What I also think will work for me is to chunk up my work time and allow short breaks between. If I know that I can goof off for 15 minutes after I put in 90 minutes, I can make it through that 90 minutes easily. During these (in)sanity breaks, I can water or weed my garden, play a game on Pogo, rearrange the living room, start dinner or a load of laundry, watch the hummingbirds outside my window, or whatever else strikes my fancy. I think a simple cooking timer will help me keep on track so I don't forget to go back to work--or to forget to stop working for a while, for that matter.

If I plan my work days, allow myself to earn some occasional sanity breaks, and stick to my schedule, I should have more free time than I have in the last few years. That time and the 10+ waking hours that I would otherwise spend hung up in traffic during the week will be better spent playing with my kids, working on my garden, or doing some new hobbies that I plan to take up. You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to this. :-)

Thanks again, everyone!

Donna L. Jones
Technical Writer II
Zebra Technologies Corp.
Vernon Hills, IL
djones -at- zebra -dot- com

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