Over the last few years, I have found myself working in the online space. Though this wasn’t the ideal path that I had in mind, I still find it to be quite rewarding and less stressful than traditional jobs. By traditional jobs, I am referring the kind that you report to work at 8 am, sit behind a desk in an office where no one really likes each other, leave for home at five and repeat the sequence all over again for five days a week.
Though I have not worked a 9 to 5 job, I have seen people around me wake up before dawn to get ready to go to workplaces they don’t even like. But they do it anyway because in this economy, having a stable job has become a far-fetched luxury for many. The main difference between an ordinary job and working online is the flexibility of your schedule. With online jobs, you can make plans on how to carry out your work depending on the deadlines you have. Being able to determine the time that you begin, or finish working is a fact which I find quite attractive about online jobs.
Lots of people get into online jobs because they have preconceived notions about it being easy. They see it as a means to make quick money and this leads to them not taking their work seriously. Having so much freedom to determine work schedules can pose a real issue to people who are not dedicated and disciplined about meeting deadlines. A lot has been documented about the advantages of doing online jobs, I am here to talk about the challenges.
The first challenge is the ability to stay focused. With online jobs, the only pressure you have is the pressure you place on yourself. The more you work, the more you earn. So, should you choose to work less and earn less, no one will question your decision. This lack of work ethic, however, can be detrimental to the level of success and fulfilment you would want to have.
Procrastination is a real problem for people who work in this space. They are likely to shelf tasks until the very last days to the deadline where they end up carrying out the tasks hurriedly. Continued procrastination can lead to individuals burning out because they are asking too much of themselves in such little time. The way to counter this is to have a functional timetable where each task is allocated a reasonable duration of time. There should be scheduled breaks between tasks and people should take on jobs whose complexities they are comfortable with. It’s okay to want to challenge yourself and be ambitious but taking on jobs you can’t handle can lead to spending too much time on one task, time you could have easily spent on a couple of more jobs.
Online jobs are done either on computers, tablets or phones. Being that phones and laptops also serve as means of communication and entertainment, this can present a whole lot of distractions for online workers. It can be quite challenging to work on a task when you are receiving emails and WhatsApp videos. These distractions will likely affect the quality of the job you are doing and also increase the time spent on that task. It is therefore important to limit your level of engagement to other apps or platforms that might cause distractions.
Some people find it easy to work on different devices other than the ones they use for their personal needs. This limits the temptation to look at social media platforms, email or play a quick game in the middle of work. Personally, I make use of an app known as “freeze” which literally and momentarily freezes apps that are likely to affect my focus as I am working. By using this app, I don’t get notifications or alerts about any new message from any platform until I am through with working. I would highly encourage people aspiring to get into online jobs to find a method that works best for them.
Online jobs come in different shapes and sizes. The popular kind, however, is online writing which may include academic, creative, transcription etc. A common characteristic of writing is that over sometime, you encounter something referred to as a “writer’s block”. This is a writer’s inability to come up with new ideas to finish old tasks or create new ones. Writer’s block can be quite stressful because it brings a writer to a standstill and limits their ability to work and earn. It can be attributed to fatigue, burn out and experiencing distractions. Losing interest and inspiration while working on a task might cause a writer to find it difficult to complete it altogether.
Writers are therefore advised to take up tasks which they feel they can handle. Working too long on a single task is likely to lead to dwindling interest especially if one is not passionate about the particular job. Taking breaks is also key to ensure that the mind has enough time to rest, reset and find new ways of being creative.
Like all good things, online jobs have advantages and challenges. People looking to get into this space should make themselves aware of both rather than focusing on one side. Since it has been common behaviour to focus on how easy online jobs are, I found it necessary to also share the challenges. These jobs are rewarding just as they are serious. People are making a living out of these jobs and therefore it would be wrong to take them lightly.
Brian Muchiri is a passionate writer who draws his inspiration from the experiences in his own life and of those around him. He is candid and he seeks to inspire society to be more pro active and vocal about the social issues that affect us. Brian is also actively involved in pushing for awareness and inclusion of people with disabilities through his foundation; Strong Spine.