For the last few years I have been lucky enough to have the option to work from home here and there. I don’t abuse it but I do take advantage of it. And though the flexibility is freaking’ awesome – and so is not having to commute – working from home has its challenges. Being in your own bubble with beds and chores tempting you all day long, it’s easy to get off task or in home-mode. Especially when I have the cutest little pug boy who just wants to snuggle and be adorable all day long. Since I have really started putting time and effort into decorating our home office space, I’ve done better at making my work from home days more productive – and I’ve really noticed a difference in how much I’ve gotten done.
Working from home tips (that help me get more done)
So if you work from home – and have an office or not – here are a few (hopefully helpful) hacks for improving your “office” days:
Get dressed, comfortably.
I know there are rules (or “studies” or whatever) about putting on real clothes or an actual outfit when working from home, but it’s just not for me. If I don’t have to go anywhere for a few hours, I’m just not going to be in jeans and have my makeup and hair looking good. Instead, I’ll put on my favorite sweats or leggings and a comfy top. The moral is, just change out of your pajamas and feel somewhat pulled together, but you don’t have to be uncomfortable. This gets you ready for the day and in work mode, but still feeling good.
Create a routine and/or daily workflows.
Working from home has tons of perks, but it’s so easy to get off track and spend your day catching up on household chores rather than actually getting career-work done. To help put structure in your day, create a routine for yourself. Decide what time you want to be sitting down checking emails and getting started on your work and stick to it as best as possible. Write a list of to-dos and an allotted amount of time for each task, even use a calendar (I like Google Cal personally but your phone would work also) – all of a sudden your day will be ten times more productive.
Have a dedicated work space.
Having a desk or an office really gets you in the “get stuff done” mindset. Creating a space for working at home can also give you a sense of accountability. If you notice it’s mid-morning and you haven’t made it to your desk or office yet, you know you better get in gear. And even if you don’t have an office, dedicate a special spot to work. Maybe it’s your kitchen island, or a small table you’ve added to the living room to serve as your desk, hack the dinning room table works wonders also. And make it cute – add personal touches that make it inviting and inspiring, even if just a cute computer background or photo! No couches or beds allowed!!
The 2-minute sweeps.
This can be done in any part of your home, but I make it a point to hit my desk at the end of each day. Take 2 minutes (you can find 120 seconds!) and clean up your desk. Take coffee mugs back to the sink, wipe it down, put things away, etc. – set yourself up for an easy, clutter-free morning to follow. You’ll be so much more effective!
Coffee shops and cafes were invented for a reason, and not just to serve food and drinks. You’ll probably need a change of scenery every now and again so use these opportunities to check out the newest coffee shops around town. Or get outside if you have a task that doesn’t involve a computer (p.s. when will they invent something to make the screen visible outdoors?!).
Learn when to unplug.
One of the downsides of working from home is you never “go home” because…you already are. This can make it suuuuper hard to know when to shut off for the day, close the laptop and stop looking at emails. Being plugged in 24/7 is really hard on a person, so make yourself a schedule where you commit to unplug at a certain time and stick to it – you need to recharge. Phones count too. I need to get better at this, 100%!
If you work from home, take advantage of a likely more flexible schedule when planning errands and appointments or anything that requires leaving the house. Use a whole afternoon to do these each week so that you’re not coming and going – or getting into different brain zones every day. Same for chores around the house – designate a day for household stuff and forget about it the rest of the week. Fridays would be great to consider for this so you can casually stroll into the weekend.
Network and socialize.
You typically don’t have co-workers when you work from home, at least not in-person, so make it a point to attend networking events for your industry so you don’t forget how to socialize in the professional environment. Not having to deal with office politics or drama is a major plus of working from home, but you don’t want to become a hermit either.
Eat away from your desk.
Eating in front of your desk is extra tempting when you’re at home, but give your day more structure by moving away from your desk for lunch. Eat outside or a different place in your home, but break it up. Try to give yourself space from tech during this time too. If there is someone in your neighborhood or on your street who you know works from home, set up a weekly coffee or lunch date at each other houses, this will help keep your sanity when you haven’t talked to another real life person in a few days!
Do you work from home ever? What works best for you?
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