I’ve been working from home for years now, and can’t really imagine going into an office because I’m so used to my house. And though the flexibility is freakin’ awesome – and so is not having to commute – working from home has its challenges. With so many things around to temp you it’s easy to get off task. Since moving into my new house and designating an office space, I’ve done better at making days more productive – and I’ve really noticed a difference in how much I’ve gotten done.
So if you work from home – and have an office or not – here are a few 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 not for me. If I don’t have to go anywhere for a few hours, I’m just not going to be in jeans. Instead, I’ll put on lounge-wear (or that’s what I call it). Sometimes, if I know I have a workout in the next few hours, I’ll throw on workout clothes instead. The moral is, change out of 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 “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. Write a list of to-dos and an allotted amount of time for each task, even use a calendar (I like Google Cal) – 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 table, or a small table you’ve added to the living room to serve as your desk. 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.
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 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.
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 super hard to know when to shut down 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 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 aka 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.
Network and socialize
You typically don’t have co-workers when you work from home, 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.
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.
These a re a few things that have worked for me so hopefully they work for you.
What hacks do you have for me?