Working from home can be the greatest: You save money on public transport, don’t need to iron clothes or style your hair. Having just started my life as a freelancer, I soon came to realise that working from home also has its occasional downsides. Certain weeks are slower than others, some days you’ll find it much harder to stay focused than when you were at an office. Which means your work days can grow longer and longer or you find yourself lost in a YouTube binge session. Here are a 5 tips that help me make it work to work from home.
1. Create a Designated Work Space
When working from home, the lines of work and personal life can easily blur. You can stay in your pyjamas while on a conference call, or throw a load of laundry in in between tasks. Of course, these are all major benefits of working from home, but I tend to easily let my home life distract me from your work responsibilities. To cut down distractions, I have now created my work space – far away from the dining table and tv, which helps me to focus more on your work.
2. Schedule Ahead and Keep Track
Setting a schedule for the week can be one of the best things you can do to keep a solid structure to your days. To be fair, the grocery store is a lot less busy during weekday mornings, but if you save all of your chores for the workweek you are going to fall behind.
Use a time management app such as trello or toggl, which let you schedule several tasks and have a timer. At the end of the day or week, look at your summary and make sure time is broken out into enough work time vs. fun time!
3. Replace What’s Missing
When working from home you might find yourself feeling a little isolated or restless at times, which can cause surfing the web or scrolling through your Instagram feed a bit too often. If you miss chatting with colleagues, maybe plan a few social events each week to make sure you’re not going an entire week without seeing another person. Change it up – work from the library or coffee shop to gain energy and focus better. If you feel like you’re in complete silence every day, I recommend playing some music in the background.
4. Get Dressed
Yes, it can be tempting to spend your day sitting around in your pyjamas and drinking lots of coffee, but that’s not healthy for your mind or body. If you work from home, plan in some time to actually get dressed and ready, as if you would go to work or a meeting. It will help you get motivated and in the right mind-set, plus you will be prepared for any surprise video conference calls. While the lines between work and home are blurring, getting dressed during work hours also helps to separate the sometimes blurry lines between your work and personal sides.
5. Take a Break
Breaks such as lunch break, take a 5 or 10 minute walk or make a coffee in between tasks can recharge you to do better work. And remember – you would most likely take these when working in an office. Don’t assume you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re home to be more productive. I like to give myself a 15-30 minute break after every 90 minutes or so. It gives my mind time to digest what it’s just done, and come back fresh. A good way to to plan breaks is to divide your day into segments. Plan when to have lunch. Make plans to meet a friend for your afternoon coffee or take a quick walk around the block.
Now that we’ve taken a look at ways to work from home while staying productive, it is important that you actually put these tips into practice. It may take some time to adjust to different ways of working, especially when you’re new to the whole “working from home” or being your own boss idea, but it really does pay off in the long run.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips that work for you!