The recurring idea of what it means to work from home when told from someone who doesn't seems to be that working from home is this glorious land where anything goes; where schedules don't exist, clothes don't matter, and everyday is a play day. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love working from home (although now it's a back and forth between home and a TTS office/studio), but the idea that it's the most glamorous and easy thing to do is pretty inaccurate.
Working from home can be pretty difficult. Between finding the motivation to be productive, creating a balance between shifting from feeling you're at "work" to feeling you're at "home", and making sure you find time to socialize; working from home can become a bit overwhelming. To help create a little organization to the chaotic world of working from home, I wanted to share my 5 biggest tips for making sure working from home becomes that sugar coated dream everyone seems to think it is (or at least close).
5 Tips for Working from Home1 ) No Pajamas. No Sweatpants. No Yoga Pants. - For me, this rule is key. I know it's so easy to spend the day working from home (on the couch or the bed) still in your pajamas from the night before or your sweats/yoga pants from a workout (or lack thereof)...but you're setting yourself up for disaster here. If you don't spend the time to get ready for the day as if you were going to an office or a meeting, then you will never quite switch into "work mode". It makes it easier to put off tasks and forget that you are at work. Just because you are at home, doesn't mean you're not at work. When I get up, dress cute, and put on makeup, I feel 10X more productive than if I stayed in my jammies. It's all about creating that separation. If you work all day in your pjs, then they lose their relaxing quality. They no longer become the cozy things you put on at the end of the day to signal that work is over. Keep your PJs cozy and out of your workday. 2) Make time to socialize - I can't emphasize this enough. Working from home can be liberating because you are now in control of your entire day, but it can also be incredibly lonely. Before I had interns and my boyfriend moved in, I would go a few days without talking to another human out loud. I would wake up, work all day (and night), sleep and do it all again the next day. Yes, this can SEEM productive, but we are social creatures. We need the contact of others to keep us motivated and going. Just being around others can help boost our energy levels, increase productivity and creativity, and reduce stress by making us happier. I started finding the time at least 1-2 time a week to meet up with someone else to work. You don't have to socialize the entire time, but it's nice to have someone there to ask questions, bounce ideas off of, and just help reassure us. If you can't find someone to work with, make sure you're at least spending time with friends; even if it's a quick dinner with your girls or a coffee date with a friend. Just remember to socialize. You'll feel so much better and more inspired throughout the week than if you were to hermit it up at home. 3) Create a consistent work schedule - Does anyone ever feel like you have so much to do that you don't even know where to start? Or that you worked all day, but you can't really point to what you DID? I used to have those feelings all the time. Creating a consistent work schedule can help you effectively create a plan of attack for the day (or week) ahead to help make sure to tackle exactly what needs to be done. I like to create "days" during the week where different things are the main focus. For example, every Wednesday is blogging day and every Tuesday is brainstorming day, etc. I like to write down the important tasks to be accomplished the next day at the end of the day before. This helps me know exactly what needs to be done when I wake up. I also like to prioritize the biggest, most important tasks first and consider everything else that gets accomplished as little bonuses. 4) Create a motivating (and separate) workspace - This goes back to the no PJs idea. It's hard to be creative and motivated if you're spending all day working from your bed or couch. Your bed isn't very conducive to working and then it looses it's appeal as a place just for rest. Studies show that having screens in your bedroom (computers, TVs, etc) reduce quality of sleep. Keep your bedroom for sleep (and play) only. Create a motivating work space just for you, completely dedicated to work only. If you have a separate office room (YAY!), then fill it up with motivational and inspiring decor and ONLY work there. Don't work anywhere else in your home. When your day is over, shut that door and don't open it again until the next work day. Make that place just for work so that you can help create a divide between "work" and "home". Don't have an actual office? That's totally fine! Create a special place for your desk in part of your home (although, I don't suggest your bedroom IF you can avoid it). Decorate it in a way that makes it it's own special place. Don't sit there when you're not working. Don't use it to store personal items. Just make it a special place only for work. If you're looking for some super chic, motivational decor we have the perfect line of products for your workspace. 5) Know when to stop - This is always a really hard one for me. It's so easy for me to work from the moment I wake up to right before I go to sleep, but in doing so, I always feel like I'm at work (because I am). This just makes working from home extra stressful. If you find yourself working through dinner, not paying attention to your friends and family when they are around, or forgetting the last time you did something fun...it's time to learn to know when to stop. Create a time of the day when you call it quits (the work will still be there tomorrow) or if you are unable to create a time to stop, create a break time in the evening when you completely forget work. For me, even if I'm insanely busy and need to work from sun up to sun down, I always make sure I eat dinner with my boyfriend. When he gets home, I shut the door to the office, we cook together, eat dinner and discuss our days. Sometimes I have to go back to work when dinner is over, but I won't skip this time I have with him. Carve out some time in your day where you are not working.
I hope that these 5 tips will help make your working from home process a little easier. I know I can be daunting and seem overwhelming, but it can also be a whole lot of fun. The best part of working from home is that YOU set the rules for what gets done and how, so take advantage of creating the best possible environment for you to help maximize productivity while minimizing stress.