Working from home is the dream, right? Well, then why can it be so hard?! I have been working from home for the past three years and I have learned a lot along the way. Today, I’m going to share five tips for making your work productive and successful (even when you’re just steps away from your couch and Netflix).
1. Set hours for yourself. It’s easy to bounce back and forth from overworking and under working, especially when you set your own schedule. You may have a day where it feels like you can’t get beyond dishes and errands, so the next three days you hustle like there’s no tomorrow, just trying to play catch up. A great way to avoid this cycle is to have focused work time. Think about your daily life, your family schedule, and when you work best, and set office hours that will work for you. For example, my hours are 9am-4pm. I used to try to start working the moment my husband walked out the door in the morning, but I found I was always stressed and rushed when he was still home. Instead, I give myself 30-45 minutes to finish my coffee or pick up the house, get dressed, and start my day on a calm, collected note.
2. Create a routine. I love having something to look forward to each day. TSOS’s Brand Relations Manager comes to work with me four days a week, so I like to be ready to go at least 15-30 minutes before she arrives. With a cup of coffee in hand, I can plan for the day and have a moment of quiet before the meetings, phone calls, and planning begins! At the end of each day, I create my to-do list for the following day, close my computer and laptop and put them away. It feels good to “leave work,” even though I don’t have to commute anywhere!
3. Figure out how you work best. I have found that I need a good mix of being alone and working with others to produce my best work. If you know you need human interaction throughout the day to be inspired, plan to spend an hour or two working at a local coffee shop or spread your calls and meetings out throughout the day. Just because you run a business from home all by yourself doesn’t mean you have to be alone each day!
4. Eliminate distractions. Those dishes staring at you? They’ll be there when your designated work time is up. Promise! Prior to beginning work at 9, I spend a few minutes picking up the house. Nothing big or major, but it helps me feel focused to sit down and work! If you can, try to set up a specific space to work from. One that you have complete control over. If that’s not the case for you, try to make your space as distraction free as possible. For me, that means I can’t sit on the couch because the latest episode of Downton will be too tempting. Instead, I need to sit at a clean desk in a well-lit space so I don’t feel the urge to crawl on the couch and nap.
How do you make working from home work for you? We’d love to hear!