There are always at least two sides to every situation. Working from home…it’s amazing, offers flexibility and freedom BUT it also takes amazing discipline and isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be. I often enter into conversations with other creatives that wonder how productive I am at home vs. working at the studio. The following are some tips that I hope help out when following your dream of working from home.
Numero Uno: Have a designated space. Our house has 4 bedrooms and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to convert one of those rooms into our home office. There, I have a designated area that’s just for me. I make it comfortable enough to be able to work there when I need to BUT, I also don’t want to make it too comfortable so that I don’t ever go into the studio to work. My people know that my desk area is mine and that it’s off limits when I’m not there. If you don’t have the space for a designated office, any nook in your home is just as good. Many moons ago, when I first started this crazy business, I sectioned off a teeny tiny portion of my living room for myself.
Numero Dos: Work time is work time. This one is hard and require ALOT of discipline…when you sit down in your space to work, actually work. Don’t surf the web, don’t play with the kids, don’t stop to do the laundry…see where I’m going with this? All of those distractions throughout the day…handle them later (unless, of course, it’s an emergency). Work when you say you’re going to work. That way, when you’re done working for the day, you just close the door to your office and focus on those other important things/people in your life without having to worry about work. When I’m working, I don’t take personal calls, I don’t make last minute lunch dates, I don’t sort laundry, I don’t get a head start on dinner…I sit in my chair and plug away. Make your day count!
Numero Tres: Turn off distractions. There are a million of them that happen when I work from home…kids, dogs, plumbers, husbands, sisters calling, friends wanting to chat, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram. I set blocks of time for myself throughout the day where I allow myself to be distracted, for instance, in the morning, when I’m drinking my first cup of coffee, I give myself time to catch up on social media. Once that cup is gone…so is social media. I turn off email, web browsers, flip my phone so that I don’t see the screen. If it rings, I’ll see who it is…if it’s a client, I’ll answer it. If it’s my sister, I won’t…I’ll return her call later. If I can, I’ll shut the door to the office so that I can block out the tv in the other room, the kids running up and down stairs and the doggies begging for treats at my feet.
Numero Quatro. Give yourself a break: I’ll break throughout the day…morning coffee time and a small lunch break at about 1pm. Productivity studies show that for every hour and a half you work, giving yourself a 10 minute break will make you more productive.
Number Cinco: Give yourself a schedule and stick to it: I’m up before the chickens and I’m usually done with my day at 4pm. I like to wake up before anyone else in the house so that I can work in solitude.
Numero Sies: Prepare for the day. While working in your PJs is great, I prefer to actually get dressed for the day as if I were going to an actual job. It makes me feel more productive and just in case I need to run out of the house for an appointment, I’m already dressed and don’t have to take time away from work to get ready before the appointment. In the morning, I also start preparations for the evening’s dinner. If something needs to go into the crock pot, I do it before I “go to work”. I treat the day as if I were going off site to work. I also have a list of goals in my planner that I want to accomplish that day and make a list of everything I want to get done, crossing it off as I go along…I don’t know about you but I love crossing items off of my to-do list!
More importantly…when I’m done working for the day, I’m done working. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend and a sister and that’s just as important as working from home. Having a set schedule, a plan of attack, a designated space and discipline when it comes to your business will definitely help you lead a more productive day.