Since I’m still looking for full-time employment, a great way for me to still raise some funds has been to work from home for Lionbridge. Lionbridge is contracted by Google to rate and improve their search results. For between 10 to 20 hours a week, I can get paid to rate searches, mobile pages, and other Google services. This has worked out great, because I can still take substitute teaching jobs, run errands, and clean the house while earning money during my “down time”.
Working from home can still have some unique challenges. Here are a few tips for anyone working from home, especially people doing internet jobs like Lionbridge.
1. Give yourself credit. I had a hard first week with Lionbridge because although I fulfilled my minimum number of hours, it didn’t feel like I had done any work. It felt like I had sat at my computer all day. So my first piece of advice is to take time to pat yourself on the back for the work you do, because it is work, and it is valuable.
2. Take active breaks. Sitting at the computer can be rough on the human body, so make sure you take breaks (5 minutes for every 55 minutes of sitting) and make sure they are active. Vacuum a room. Do some plyometrics. Walk up your stairs. Get a drink of water. These will help keep your energy up.
3. Find a good podcast. I listen to podcasts and sermonds while I rate. Because most are an hour long, they are also a good indication of when to take a break. They keep me interested and are a sort of reward for sitting down and getting to work.
4. Acknowledge the brain drain. Programs like Lionbridge are time-dependent. Each task has a time limit, the rating toolbar tracks your time, and you’re expected to track your own time. This means that logging one hour of rating time means you really did one hour of solid rating work. Working under such focused conditions can make you say “It’s only been one hour?!?!”. Most conventional jobs have opportunities for stretching, daydreaming, side conversations, and other small distractions that help to break up the hours. Be gracious with yourself when this happens, and take more breaks if need be.
5. Master opportunity cost logic. Programs like Lionbridge sometimes run out of tasks, and the list doesn’t auto-refresh. So you can sit at the computer and keep hitting F5, or you can get up and do something else while you wait. Getting up runs the risk of missing out on tasks, but refreshing the page might burn up half an hour before you get any new tasks. Only you can judge the best use of your time, so don’t hesitate to set some ground rules and let go of any “what ifs”.
6. Set yourself up for success. Just like any conventional job, make sure your environment is conducive to good work. Keep your space clean, well lit, and comfortable. Get a new desk chair if you have to. Keep water and snacks handy. Make sure there is good lighting and that your keyboard and mouse are functioning properly.
My friend, S., at Northwest Pearls had the opportunity to work from home for her media job, and has some useful information for people who are not doing internet-based tasks: Tips for Working From Home
I hope you found this post helpful! What do you do when you have a long day of computer work ahead?