Raise your hand if you love the flexibility of working from home! I think we all envision working from home as this great thing where you do all the work in your pajamas, while your cat follows you from room to room and you make yourself a four course meal – each meal. All while you answer calls and complete all of the tasks your clients pay you for.
One of the realities of working from home and being your own boss is that it can be exhilarating having no one there to tell you what to do. It can also ruin workflow when your cat keeps jumping on your computer, or you watch your significant other sleep in or run off to go hang out with friends. Staying productive can be difficult, so here’s what kept me sane and productive when I worked from home.
- Set a Schedule. It seems like common sense, but setting a schedule and adhering to it is one of the things that will help you to remain productive. I’m an earlier riser, so I go for my run and then start work right at 8 am. This helps me remain on point with my tasks, lets clients know when they can reach out to me and stops my family from calling or showing up.
- Get out of your pajamas! Would you wear your Iron Man onesie to work? I mean I would be tempted to try to get away with it on Halloween, but no. Get out of your pjs and get into actual clothing and this will help your mind go into work mode. You may only be going over a room, but you’re dressed for success!
- Have a designated space. Maybe you’ve created a home office for yourself. If you haven’t be sure to check out our tips for creating your home office. Don’t have a space set up? No worries just get out of bed. You don’t want to associate a place of rest, with a place of work. I’m fortunate to have a spare room that doubles as my office and guest room. If I wasn’t I’d be making an office space against a wall in my living room. Clean off the kitchen table and use that if you need to. Just make a space. You don’t want to start on the couch and fall asleep. Again, it’s a mind thing. Having a designated space will also help get you in the right headspace.
- Minimize distractions! For me that means not letting the cat get up on the keyboard and ignoring him when he wants to play. For you that might mean finding child care, or avoiding your tv. Whatever you have to do, do it. The more distraction you have, the less you’ll be able to accomplish.
- Prepare. You may work from home, but that doesn’t mean you can eat junk or get up every 10 minutes to look for office supplies. First thing I did when working from home was to decide if I wanted to continue to meal prep for the week. The answer is yes, yes I totally did. Meal prepping on Sunday’s meant that I had breakfast, lunch and dinner, either totally ready to go, or with very little prep time. I know not everyone is a huge fan of meal prep, but making sure that you have adequate food supplies that offer quick and healthy meals will be needed. You also need to anticipate your needs from an office perspective. You’ll need to make sure you have enough pens, paper, ink for the printer at all times and in the space you inhabit. There isn’t an office manager to ask for extra pens. You can’t run to the store everytime you need something. You need to organize yourself and make sure you’ve got what you need – no one else will.
- Have fun. Some mornings you wake up and you just aren’t mentally prepared to inhabit the same space you live in for work. Get out and go to a coffee shop. Make sure there is wifi, but don’t stay contained, adventure and recharge yourself. It can get boring sitting around alone all the time. Use the time in the coffee shop wisely, maybe hold off on calls, but focus on writing instead. Whatever works for you.
These tips work for me, but obviously you need to do what works for you. The longer you work from home, the more you’ll figure out what works best for you. Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve found helpful as you work from home? Drop them in the comments!