The biggest lesson I learned from telecommuting: Give yourself a deadline

Photo courtesy of flickr user Chris Betcher

Photo courtesy of flickr user Chris Betcher

After spending eight years commuting to an office building, I was back to working at home to begin 2014. At first the freedom was almost too much – I can do anything I want, at any time. Goodbye regiment, hello freedom.

But then the reality set in – I was busy, but not making progress on long term goals. Something needed to change.

That’s when I realized my problem. I wasn’t holding myself to the same standards I set in an office environment. I didn’t give myself a deadline to get things done.

When you are telecommuting, it is easy to be distracted. Like really, really easy.
But there is one thing that will keep you on task. A deadline. A time frame when you need to get something done.

Whether you work from home once a month or are permanently in your home office, it is important to set proper boundaries.

I can go and run errands… as long as I get this project done first. I can sleep in… as long as it doesn’t affect my ability to meet a deadline. Watching the kids isn’t a problem… as long as I deliver on time.

Deadlines are the glue that holds things together. Otherwise we are just sleeping in and babysitting.
It took me a year to get to this point. I did a lot during my open ended days, but I wasn’t always making progress toward my goals.

Forcing a deadline upon myself is the best thing I ever did.

An office environment is there to keep you accountable among other things. Who needs an office when you are in charge of your own destiny?

I put this strategy into motion in January. I vowed to launch an online education course on February 1st. I had been meaning to create a course for three years, but never made it a priority. By setting a deadline of February 1st, I was finally able to produce a Google AdWords training course I had been trying to launch for years.

If you are telecommuting, give yourself a deadline. It works!

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