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Staying Accountable While Working From Home

accountabilityIn 2001 I started a job working for a music distributor. I did web design, audio editing and I also voiced and produced all their radio and TV commercials. It was a great job. All the things I loved. It also came with a new challenge. Working from home.

A New Office Environment

For those that work in an office or have only recently started working from home, you may not fully appreciate how difficult it can be. After all, you’re at home! There’s no clock to punch. No boss or manager checking in on you. There are no weekly meetings, progress reports or co-workers to keep you on task.

Instead, at home you have TV. You have a couch. There might be books and video games and computers with unmonitored Internet and email access. Maybe there’s a backyard with a patio or a bicycle to go for a ride on. Less fun, but still present are the chores. Dishes need to get washed, floors need to be vacuumed, laundry needs to get done. There’s no shortage of distractions, good or bad, when you’re working from home.

The question becomes, how does one not just survive but thrive in this brave new “office” environment? How do you resist the urge to sleep in, enjoy the ability to work in your PJ’s and keep the TV off until the work is done? How do you stay accountable when you work from home?

As a Professional Voice Talent I work from home all day everyday. I record all my demos, auditions and gigs from home. I don’t go to studios. My clients exist in the virtual world, not in offices down the street. Communication mostly happens through email with only the occasional phone call. It would be so easy for me to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it because, frankly, I’m the boss of me.

How I Stay Accountable

The first time I worked from home back in 2001, I learned a very important lesson very quickly. I needed to have goals. Measurable targets with deadlines. Being able to look at those goals daily and track my progress helped keep me accountable.

Working in voice over is no different. Each Monday I sit down and make goals. I document them in a program on my iPad and refer to them several times a day each day during the week. I track my progress so I know exactly how I’m doing with hitting my targets. If I take a couple hours off or day off, I know I have to make it up because I’ve still got targets that I expect myself to hit.

If you think you’re going to become a Voice Talent, work from home and live the sweet life I’ll warn you right now, without accountability the only thing you’ll be living is the unemployed life! It’s too easy to let life and kids and pets and toys distract you. Before you know it, you’ve lost hours or even entire days and you’ve sent out no demos, recorded no auditions and booked no jobs!

…without accountability the only thing you’ll be living is the unemployed life!

Being my own boss is a dream. Working from home is a dream. Doing something I love and making a living doing it is a dream. It’s also a lot of work. Hard work. Remember this, at the end of the day there is only one person responsible for your career and your success. That person is you! If you don’t stay accountable and get the job done, you’ll have no lazy co-worker or bad boss to blame. You’ll only have you!

Are you a Voice Talent working from home? What tips have you got for staying accountable?