Working from home can be both a blessing and a challenge if you don’t have some sort of routine in place. In the 6 years of running my business from home, I’ve had to set some rules in order to keep myself disciplined and get work done. Adding kids and house work to the picture sure doesn’t make it easier either but it’s possible. Take heart!
Below are a few tips proven to work for me that might work for you too. Keep in mind, if you want to make working from home successful you are going to have to follow through and get real with how things are going to work.
1. Make a list of things that need to get done every day and do them!
It has become a routine for me to make a list the night before of 3 things I need to get done the following day. I keep the list short on purpose so that I can get to the bottom of it every single day. If it helps you, go ahead and plan the entire week and allocate only 3 items per each day of the week. I find it’s better to complete all 3 items on my list every single day than working on an ongoing list which I may eventually fall behind on.
2. Having a routine is good, especially for the creative types.
I wasn’t always good at managing my time, especially before kids joined our family. Being a creative entrepreneur I constantly struggled with distraction. Becoming a mother has helped me value time more. To this day my biggest struggle is keeping myself focused to one task at a time. Having a routine has helped me establish patterns that help me work more efficiently. The days I have help with my youngest I have learned to maximize my time and get the majority of the work done during those hours. I still do most of my work during naps and after bedtime.
Find the best time/s you can get work done and stick with it. Life happens and sometimes things do fall through the cracks but what’s important here is for you to be consistent.
3. Create a space that inspires you.
This should have been Tip # 1! I am a firm believer of creating a space for yourself and your work is the best thing you can do for your business. It doesn’t matter how big or little the space is, it will increase your productivity. Investing in my home office was one of the best decisions we ever took. I feel happy, inspired and re-charged each time I step inside it. Aaron and I use my office even when I don’t work. It has become our favorite room in the house to catch up on a favorite show or have a discussion after the boys go to bed.
4. Schedule your time on Social Media.
Social media is a huge time sucker! Schedule a set time to get on it – don’t get lost on the what-is-everyone-up-to-today land. I try to schedule a lot of my social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, this blog post) to go out at certain time that way I am not glued to them all day long. Log off all social media. It is tempting to check Facebook every time you get a notification of someone commenting on your posts. Don’t do it! Instead focus on getting your 3 items on your to-do list done!
5. Get out of your pajamas.
I have a confession: I don’t always do this! Part of me enjoys the feeling of working on comfy clothes. Recently I’ve made an effort to put a new outfit almost every day. I do this because it puts me in the right mindset plus it gives me a chance to put on some of my favorite pieces.
6. Don’t underestimate the human interaction.
Working from home can be lonely and at times depressing. Get out when you can. Call a friend and set up a lunch date. I try to schedule these dates monthly. Having a human/adult interaction is good for my mental well-being. I often hop on the phone and call one of my besties just so that I can get out of the rut when I need to or pick her brain on something business or family related.
Don’t forget to be part of your community – whether that means attending PTO meetings at your children’s school or volunteering your time at your church or favorite non-profit. You know there’s a whole world out there, outside of the internet. Try to embrace it!
Do you also work from home? Share your tips if you do. I’d love to hear!
(photograph of me in my home studio by Kelly Allison Photography)