My Latest Tweak to Working from Home

19 December 2019 | 14 Comments

I love working from home.

I’ve been running Stonemaier Games full time from my home office for 6 years now, and right from the start I knew it was a good fit. No distractions or interruptions (except from cats), no commute, no packing a lunch, no overhead, and the flexibility, freedom, and autonomy to work as much or as little as I need to.

My home office changed a few months ago when my girlfriend and I bought a new condo. She also works from home, so we’ve learned on the fly about working for completely different companies within close proximity to each other. It’s going great.

After writing that article, I started trying something new (some advice I found while researching for that post): To give Megan a little time to have the place to herself, I’ve been going to a local coffee shop once a week for a few hours.

That may sound like a completely normal thing for you, but it’s very new for me. I don’t drink coffee (though I’m latte-curious), I rarely feel a desire to leave the comforts of home, and I like to be by the computer while working to respond to customer needs within minutes.

That said, I’ve discovered a delightful side effect of these weekly breaks: They are fantastic for brainstorming ideas and thinking through problems.

Basically, I go to the coffee shop with pencil and paper, and I jot and sketch my way through game design. Sometimes it’s for new games; other times it’s for the next step in games that are well into the design process. I love every minute of it.

At first I did it only when I had a new idea to brainstorm or think through. But now I’ve simply made a habit of doing it once a week, and I always find a way to get a lot of value out of it. Honestly, it’s just really nice to not have my computer in front of me for a while. There’s literally nothing for me to do for those 2 hours except for think, process, and write.

These weekly brainstorming breaks could apply just as easily if I didn’t work from home, so I’m curious if you do (or have tried) anything like this. Did you find it as helpful, invigorating, and productive as I have? If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend it!

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14 Comments on “My Latest Tweak to Working from Home

  1. I’ve been working from home from more than a decade. At several different jobs, so there are many out there if you do your research. I try to head to the local diner at least once a week for a couple of hours early morning, just for social interaction, and for my best thinking I’ll leave my desk occasionally and just go in the other room. Sit on the couch, lay down in the bed and read or something, just for a few minutes. It helps me clear my head so that I can tackle any problem I’m having at work.

  2. I’ve been working from home for years and love it. At first, I wasn’t any less distractible at home than I had been elsewhere. But working from home gave me the freedom to do experiments with my attention and time that led to healthier and more productive ways of working.

  3. I’ve actually encountered that as well. A little ‘space’ is helpful for any relationship! As a side benefit, the change in scenery activates different parts of my brain and ‘jolts’ me out of my comfort zone…which is a good thing. As for at home job ideas, it’s weird and takes a little set up but I’ve actually had some success with this: http://bit.ly/10-o-freedomisreal

  4. I would love a job I can do from home . I need one now. I am not working and have been battling cancer. I also have a young daughter with autism. So I am needing to help her for everything. It’s been hard and will be hard when I return to work. I would only wish to find a job like this to help me. Sincerely Miste Hartley

  5. I used to belong to a Coworking space in my University for similar reasons, just helped to go somewhere else other then home to do work. It also had a maker lab to play around with things, make prototype pieces etc. Also helped to talk and bounce ideas for business against other like minded people. I’m betting theres a few in any major city for people to use.

  6. I work in an office most of the time, but I do work at home and on the road from time to time. There’s something to be said for looking at your work in a new environment. Something about the change in scenery opens up different thought processes and allows you to see something in a new light that perhaps you did not contemplate before in your usual space. I also like coming back to something after I have had time to sleep on and digest it. I.e., look at it with “fresh eyes.”

  7. I’ve been working from home for three years, and travel a good amount too. I’ve found that some of my more productive times are when I’m at the airport, waiting to board. I should try the coffee shop…

  8. I find that I’m most creative when I have some space to think. This applies to many of my interests, but very importantly to my job. Things like waiting at the doctor’s office provide that type of space. I would like to make it a more regular habit. Another thing I do to capture creative ideas is to keep a pocket notebook on me almost all the time so I can jot things down as inspiration strikes, then follow up when I have space later on.

  9. I experienced this just yesterday while waiting to get my oil changed. I regretted not bringing my computer at first but soon had many ideas flowing onto my notebook without the distractions. I have found that changing environments can be really great for getting those new thoughts rolling.

  10. I wish that I could work from home at least one day a week. I am an IT manager with a state government agency. They like to be able to lay hands on you at a moments notice. Very old school.

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