Oh my gosh, you’ve made it! You’re running your own business or your boss has allowed you to work from home. This is huge. The dream is all yours, baby!
While working from home definitely has its perks (who doesn’t love sitting around in their pajamas with a cup of joe while blasting some music), if you’ve been at it for more than a few weeks, you’ll find that while it’s great, it also comes with a few challenges that you might not have been expecting.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of working from home.
1. Treat your new work situation like it’s an actual job.
It helps to treat working at home like an actual job. I’m echoing something I read once that I can’t recall here. Basically, it helps to get up at the same time every day and establish some sort of a morning routine. So in place of showering and commuting to the office, perhaps you can try doing some stretches, going for a 10 minute walk or going to get a coffee on the corner to start your day. It doesn’t feel quite right to just get up, then sit at your desk and start working. Also if you don’t set some sort of routine, you could easily end up staying up late into the night or sleeping far too late in the morning, etc. By adding some sort of structure to your day, you just might find that you’re that much more productive.
2. Take your work outside your living space.
Another thing that I highly recommend is to try working remotely in a different location. If you spend too many hours cooped up in your room or living space without seeing or talking to another human being, you start to get stale. Your brain isn’t being stimulated, and you’ll reach a point where you are just staring at the screen or wall and getting nothing done. It can be helpful to take your work to the local coffee shop or library and work there. There are other people around, other things to look at and activity that will help spur your brain to get going. Also, simply being around other people working will get you more motivated to complete your projects. You won’t feel like it’s just you versus the world working alone in your room.
3. Divide up your time between work and other projects, and of course take breaks.
One of the perks of working from home is that you often can make your own schedule and set your own deadlines. I find it helpful to work on work related stuff for a few hours, then spend an hour or so on a fun personal project, before going back for another two hours to focus on work, and so on. This way, you’re breaking it up, and each time you come back to your work projects, you’ll have a new fresh perspective on them. Instead of trying to cram work into a typical eight hour shift, spread it out between ten to twelve hours. You’ll have more fun and you’re also able to get things done quickly, like going to the grocery at 3 p.m. in the afternoon when it’s empty.
4. Don’t leave the TV on and don’t keep Facebook open.
Of course, since you are able to work from home, you do have the luxury to watch whatever you want on TV or browse any website you choose to at any time. While, it’s great for the in between work breaks, it’s not the most helpful strategy to just leave the TV on or leave Facebook open all day in a side window. You’ll end up giving way too much of your energy to checking them both far too much. Also, we sometimes forget that Facebook is really just a big ol’ chatroom. Much of it is people just spewing their opinions and isn’t really helpful for much; moreover, your feed is literally endless. You could even set aside a specific time for such activities. For example, I have a friend who won’t allow himself to get on Facebook until the mid-afternoon so that he can complete his work in the morning; this way, he’s able to get a lot done.
5. Listen to music for creativity.
One thing that can be helpful is to turn on some music. It gets your brain going, which may be helpful depending on what kind of work you do or what kind of project(s) you are working on. Also, sitting alone in silence, without having other people in an office making noise, can get a bit weird. I personally recommend listening to music with little to no lyrics, such as jazz or hip hop; that way you’re less likely to get distracted.