My Best Work From Home Tips
New to the whole, “work from home” thing? Well, say no more–after running my own gig from home for over two years now, I’d say I’ve mastered the art quite well! Here are my best work from home tips for staying productive AF.
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Wake Up Early
As great as “working from home” may sound, you really need to keep your workdays as routine as possible –that includes starting your day bright and early! In fact, when I first began working remotely, I was all about it for the “sleeping in” factor…the “running errands whenever I wanted” factor…the “start late and end early” factor –but learned pretty quickly if I wanted to maintain and grow a business –that just wasn’t going to cut it. Waking up at my normal time (or even earlier!) gave me the jolt of energy I didn’t even know I had –which leads me to my next tip…
Sneak in a Workout
Nothing gets my day going better than a quick workout BEFORE I start my workday. Now, six months ago…well, I might not have said the same thing. I was stuck on these 4:30 pm and 5:00 pm gym times…feeling rushed, and sometimes skipping out. Now, I get my workouts in before the sun rises and feel 100% ready to conquer the day (and yes, I’m referring to those 6:00 am spin and barre sessions ?). I know, I know, that means a 5:15 am wake-up call –but hey, you get used to it. And not only have I noticed an extra burst of energy after exercising, but I just feel happier, healthier, and more productive overall.
This one is also BIG. When I first started working from home, it wouldn’t be unusual to find me still working in my pajamas at 2:00 in the afternoon. And as funny as that sounds, it can easily happen to anyone if they aren’t obligated to leave the house. After a while, I started to realize my shower schedule was off, I’d brush my teeth at 11:00 in the morning, and I just felt like my overall routine was off-whack. Now, this is not to say I’m glamming myself up each and every day, but I’ve found that getting showered first thing (the workouts are a great reminder lol) and dressed in something other than pajamas helps my productivity immensely.
Set up a Space
If you’re super new to working from home, you’ll learn quickly that those outside distractions can get the best of you. Try not to plop yourself in front of the TV when you’re doing “mindless” work (trust me, it slows you down). Try to avoid the kitchen, as you might find yourself snacking and refilling your coffee at an abnormal pace (I’ve done that too). What you really need to stay focused, is nice quiet room with a desk and natural lighting. I say natural lighting because I’ve noticed how motivating it can be to see the sunshine versus a space that’s dark and dreary!
Prioritize Your Tasks
It can be really easy to fall out of your work routine when you’re working in such close corners with your living space. That’s why I recommend you use a personal planner or resource to help you prioritize your tasks for the day. What I’ve found to be really helpful, is to track my responsibilities on an average work week and rank them based on how much time and effort it will take me. For example: I know I’m my best self in the morning because I have so much energy, so this is when I’ll work on the projects that require a lot of attention. The small mindless things are pushed to the second half of my day when I start to lose some of my steam (coffee, anyone?).
Block Your Time
As someone who’s always struggled with time management and narrowing my focus, this is one of the work from home tips that has been very helpful for me: block out your time! So for this, I literally draw out what my weeks look like day by day, hour by hour –and my productivity has gone up 100%! I used to just think “okay, I’m going to work on client projects the first half of my day and then right after lunch, I’ll work on my blog and business development.” Nope. Didn’t turn out so well. I actually needed a visual of what my days were going to look like by the hour. Not sure how much time to allocate to each task? Then, set a timer and see how long your tasks take you (seriously!). This should help you lay out a block schedule to give each project the attention it deserves.
Remember to take breaks! If you’re not used to being home all day, you’ll find yourself going stir-crazy at times –and if that doesn’t kill your productivity, I don’t know what will! This is when you’ll need to find your muse; an occasional 15-minute break to help clear the mind clutter. Here’s some suggestions that have helped me:
- Taking the dog for a walk
- Reading a book or magazine
- Calling up a friend
- Catching up your favorite show
- Scrolling your social media feeds
- Making a snack
- Running an errand
- Wedding planning (in my case)
- Another quick workout
- Tidying up the house
- Throwing in a load of laundry
- Prepping dinner
Find a Playlist
Let’s face it –things can get a little lonely when your face-to-face interactions and water cooler conversations are limited. I have dozens of playlists on Spotify that help me power through the silence and keep me focused. Be sure to check ‘em out!
- Happy Hits
- Sunny Day
- Infinite Acoustic
- Morning Acoustic
- Beach Vibes (my #1)
- Peaceful Guitar
- Cozy Acoustic Morning
- Country Coffeehouse
- 2000s pop
Stay Connected… But Not Too Much
And to my point above, it’s important to stay connected despite your work from home situation. Remember to take a breather every now and then, and to check in with friends, family, co-workers, etc. I occasionally struggle with disconnecting and getting back to work (and when you’re a marketing professional, it’s hard not to be on the phone), and would sometimes find myself sucked into a conversation for almost an hour! I’d get really mad at myself for losing out on that time I should’ve been working. The bottom line: you just have to be disciplined and tell yourself that if it can wait, then let it. P.S., a hack that has helped me recently, is to put my phone on “do not disturb” during those crucial work periods –perhaps that will help for you, too!
Take Advantage of Down Time!
And at the risk of sounding contradicting –take advantage of any down time you have! Unlike most office jobs, working from home really does afford you the flexibility everyone craves during the workweek. When work is slow at home, you could potentially accomplish dozens of things you couldn’t otherwise do in an office setting (consider your laundry done!).
And there you have it! I hope these work from home tips help you stay as productive as it has for me. If you found this article helpful, be sure to pin it for later!
Oh, and if you’re an entrepreneur or creative with some down time in your schedule, be sure to check here for a whole post I wrote on how to keep the momentum going when business is slow.
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