The Way We Work
February 9, 2009 by Guest Blogger

Rosalina B

Whenever I tell people that I work from home I get the usual “that’s cool!” or “you’re so lucky.” But it’s not always as “cool” or easy as one would think. Although working from home gives you freedom from rush hour traffic and killer pollution, it also calls for strict self-discipline.

Procrastination is a real menace to people who work from home. With no boss to look over their shoulder to check if they are actually working, a lot of home-based workers take their own sweet time often resulting in missed deadlines, unpaid work, broken trust, and wasted opportunities. Since the environment at home is relaxed, home-based workers often have the difficulty of staying on “work mode”. We also have challenges with support. In a regular office environment when your fax starts to act up you just call maintenance, they fix it for you and you’re good to go. Your computer crashes two hours away from your deadline? No problem, most offices have LAN (local area networking) and you can access your files from a co-worker’s computer. When you work from home you are usually on your own. You are the maintenance man, the technical support guy and your very own Mr. Fixit-All.

I have been working from home for more than a year and I can say that I have mastered the tools of the trade. To avoid giving in to procrastination, my first order of the day is to create a personal work schedule. I call on my self-discipline to adhere to it. I give myself small rewards (ice cream works best) whenever I am able to follow the schedule to the dot. I made a small office for myself and keep myself confined to my office during my working hours to keep myself in “work mode” throughout my work schedule. And finally, I keep a list of websites to visit for technical support, and a log of issues I have experienced and what I did to bring the issue to resolution. It’s also helpful to keep close contact with friends who you know work from home like you. You’d be amazed with the amount of help and support you can get from people who share the same wows and woes as you.

Now, after overcoming the hurdles of working from home, it has become enjoyable and almost stress-free. This kind of work set up is cut out for me but not for everybody. Only people who can work with minimal to no supervision should aspire to work from home.

Rosalina Bayle is a freelance technical writer on oDesk and mother of three, based in the Philippines.  Since she began working from home last year, she earns twice what she used to, has more time for her kids, and feels it’s the best decision she’s ever made. If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, email

  • Mike bersinic

    can u pls email me how u got in private investigations

  • Amna

    i agree.. totally!! =D

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  • John L

    Mike: If you a buyer account it will let you clock time against it without creating any job whatsoever. Sadly pulling up time logs is slightly more difficult though as time is recorded but summaries don’t exist.

  • Mike Smullin

    I’d like to use oDesk on myself for time management purposes. I wish there were a way that I could do that. It is nice to find out where all the time goes in the day.

  • E.Annapurna

    I am a post graduate in biochemistry and also hold a degree in Bioinformatics.I have been working as a database curator for the past three years.During my work I used to do extensive literature survey and collect relevant information related to proteins and load them in the database.Now I want to start work from home because of personal problems.But I really don’t know where to start from.Can you please help me out.I have no publications on my name but still I want to enter the writing field.Is this possible?

  • nichole

    I can totally relate to this article. Everything she said is true and I can’t believe someone has the exact same idea that I have about working from home. Kudos to you Rosalina!

  • Md. Mahmud Ahsan

    I’m completely agree with you.

  • buboy

    congratulations ave. you’ve gone a long way since i told you about odesk one december night (around 2007). i’ve seen you blossomed from being a restless call center agent to a full-timw work at home mom. you are just a testament for others that it can be done to work from home and earn more than a full-time income at that.

    but as you said in your post, you are correct that one has to have enough discipline before they can be successful in this field. there are a lot of pitfalls in working from home: the temptation to lie down, watch the tv or just relax will readily take away a few hours of your day when you do not control the urge to take it easy. so if you are the type who can work alone for hours without your boss breathing down your shoulder, you should be fine working from home. otherwise, it will be one great struggle to maintain your commitments and stick to your deadlines. good luck.

  • Becca

    Great post. And I agree – people truly do not understand that “working from home” actually involves WORK. And in many ways, it can be more challenging than a regular 9-5 job.