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Happy President’s Day! For a full list of President’s Day Sales happening, this post has gotcha covered. 🙂
Since I started working for myself back in May, it’s been QUIIIIIIIITE the adventure. Sometimes, I feel like a rockstar. Other times…I feel like I’m under a rock. Hands down, one of the *hardest* things about working for myself has been working from home. Setting your own hours, deadlines, and rules can be challenging. You think it’ll be the best thing in the world – no boss! no rules! no doing anything I don’t want to do! – and you quickly realize that if you want to be *successful*…that’s not the case. You HAVE to step up and be a true boss, even for a company of one, when you’re working from home, or you’ll find yourself sitting “working” for hours on end without any increase in income or opportunities. No bueno.
I’ve gotten asked quite a bit about tips for getting + staying productive while working from home, so I threw together 13 working from home tips that I’ve found to be pretty non-negotiable to really get in the zone and rock at entrepreneurial life under yo’ own roof.
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Have playlists based on how you work.
I have both a relaxed and a #werk playlist (Appropriately dubbed “Get Shit Done [relaxed]” and “Get Shit Done [#werk]”); sometimes the work I’m doing requires really easygoing background music to stay focused, while other times I’ve just gotta crank up the jams to crank out the work. Typically, anything that requires writing/more brain power has to either be soft and easy, or louder/more upbeat but just instrumental. My #werk playlist is usually reserved to get through the end of the afternoon, or to power through more menial tasks that just gotta get done, like editing photography or graphic design.
“Eliminate distractions” is the biggest, most important key, like, ever.
So…no TV, no Facebook, no other digital vortexes that suck you in for hours and refuse to let you out without external intervention. 😉 Nix context switching as much as possible! Context switching is the process that occurs in our brains when we’re hopping from one thing to the next without fully finishing. It takes longer with each additional tasks for our minds to fully transition, so we end up totally out of it and not nearly as in the game as we should be with…anything.
Going along with the above, turn off phone notifications…or put your phone in another room entirely.
Know thyself – it’s like the cornerstone of life. And I know thyself to be quiiiiiite easily distracted if/when an iPhone is present. The inner dialogue goes something like this: “I’ll just check my email quick…Oh look, something exciting! *Marks unread everything already read to “address” later at desktop*…Maybe something new happened on Facbeook *checks mobile app, scrolls for too long*…I’ll just pop over on Instagram quick too and answer a few comments – just a few! *30 minutes later*…I want coffee.
It’s a total recipe for “productive procrastination,” which is really just procrastination. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Explain (nicely) to family and friends what your policies for chatting during the day are.
Anyone who works from home has #BeenThereDoneThat – people think you “work” and not #werk. The second they learn you’re at home working, they assume that means you’re at home available for coffee, shopping, and hanging out. While all of the above are nice, they’re *rarely* the true life of working from home. Your work hours (which you should have) need to be respected, so make sure people know that if they call or text or “pop in”, that might not work unless it’s an emergency. Unless something is scheduled in advance and has something to do with work, chances are, no one is sitting around twiddling their thumbs and waiting for an invitation to do something during work hours. No one profitable, that is. 😉
Have an in-house accountability partner.
If we’re working from home, chances are we’re either alone, or left with cats, dogs, kids, and other unhelpful distractions 😉 . Find and maintain some sort of at-home, in-house “accountability partner” to keep you focused. Like the app Focus Keeper. Use the Pomodoro method, set alarms…do whatever ya gotta do to be held accountable and on tasks, sans a boss looming over your shoulder. Loom over yo’ own shoulder.
Have set tasks for set times.
If there are any sort of routine tasks that you do everyday/regularly, schedule them in at the same time. Whether that means you’re answering emails from 1 pm to 2 pm every single day or shooting photography every Tuesday starting at 9 am on the dot, get regimented with when you do specific things so that you a.) ensure they’re always done, and b.) ensure that you’re not left scrambling to fit things in when you know it’s gotta get done anyways.
My desk (On sale for $127! I flipped the two L-pieces upside down so that the desktop is white instead of clear – super simple hack!) // My desk chair (Also comes in navy + gold here) // Pink earrings (I lovelovelove these!!!) // White striped top (SO soft + on sale for $14…I just bought it in black, too!) // Darkwash denim (under $20! Comes in multiple colors) // 2017 Desk Calendar (on sale for $19) // Wireless keyboard + mouse duo // “DONE & DONE” notepad (it’s a mousepad, too!) // Corkboard // Gold-trimmed whiteboards (I ordered three and they’re on the way – they’ll be for literally throwing ideas out on the wall. 😉 ) // “She Designed a Life She Loved” pink print (from this Etsy shop) // Gold hashtag decor (HomeGoods – similar here) // Dancer Emoji Art (Old from Furbish Studio) //
Create that schedule…and stick to it!
Allow for flexibility, but have a daily basic plan. If work starts at 8 am everyday, then treat it like you would if you were headed into an office job. You’d hustle to make it happen if you woke up late – you wouldn’t just roll over and “try again tomorrow”! Be accountable to yourself, since you da boss, and show up on time everyday. PLUS, studies show time and time again the importance of going to bed and waking up around the same time everyday, because your body works best on schedules, too.
Make time for lunch + breaks.
Literally, schedule them in. Break to eat lunch – without multitasking in your inbox. Break to have a cup of coffee and watch a YouTube video to just unwind mid-afternoon. “Forgetting” to eat + drink is so so so SO bad (and I’m #guilty as charged), and you + your body + your mind are worth the break to refuel.
Be in one room and shut the door.
One of my BIGGEST productivity roadblocks when working from home is the fact that…I’m at home. The second my mind starts to wander, it’s FAR too easy to just up and go to another room (*ahem* or the fridge) and procrastinate. I end up throwing laundry in, playing with my cats, or doing some other task that’s not what I was supposed to be doing, and next thing ya know, hours have passed and my to-do list still stands.
Create a work space that gets + keeps you feeling inspired and productive.
Whether it’s a posh home office, a corner desk in a bedroom, or the kitchen table (also #BeenThereDoneThat), have some sort of space that’s yours and that signals “work time.” Just like you’d head to a cubicle in a 9-to-5, give yourself the same sort of zone to get ish done. When in comes to working from home tips, this one is pretty essential to getting and staying in the groove.
Look the part.
No need for the power suit and heels, but honestly, if that raises your vibe…more power to ya. Just keep the sweats and bunny slippers reserved for after hours lounging. We typically rise to the occasion of how we’re dressed (it’s a psychological thing), so looking schlumpy and wearing your jammies until noon (I’ve done it) can seriously mess with your A game. Would you feel the most confident and professional negotiating deals and being a boss in PERSON wearing yoga pants and flip flops? Probably not. Task yourself with “trying” to look your best at least 3 days of the work week to start out. Do your hair and makeup even, how you would if you had a traditional 9-to-5 job, and honor yourself by acknowledging that you don’t need to dress for anyone but yourself – but dressing for yourself can help uplevel parts of your life that others will see.
If you have a brain freeze and work just isn’t flowing…don’t force it.
This is a BENEFIT of working from home – you DO have the flexibility to switch tasks responsibly! Give yourself a mental and physical break. Go for a 15 minute walk outside. If you can’t get outdoors, jam out to a badass playlist and dance around your apartment or room – anything to get your heart pumping and endorphins flowing for a quick burst of healthy energy to get back in the groove.
ORGANIZE, for the love of God.
This tip is mainly to myself. 😉 But holy moly, if there is anything I have learned since starting working for myself, it’s that organization is the #1 cause of success or failure – of productivity or procrastination. When my surroundings are chaotic, my brain is chaotic, too. Everything has a place and there’s a place for everything – otherwise, get rid of it.
Which of these working from home tips is most helpful for you?
Whether you work from home on the reg or just once in awhile, what helps you get + stay productive and smart with your time? I feel like everyone has different things that work best for them depending on your *ahem* attention span, day-to-day tasks, and how you like to work – not to mention the job itself! – so I wanna hear your own best tips + tricks!
Drop ’em in a comment below, wouldja?
Second to lastly, if you’re on the hunt for the best of the best President’s Day Sales, I’ve got your back right here. 😉
And lastly, for any of y’all anxious to hit the ground running with spring shopping, I’ve teamed up with some internet friends to give someone a $500 Target Gift Card, justbecause. 😉 Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below – you get one entry per completion. The giveaway runs through 3/6 and the winner will be announced on the widget. Good luck, girlfriend!