So many of us are working from home these days, and it’s awesome. There are a lot of perks that come with a home office. For instance, every day is casual Friday. You don’t have to plan your lunch in advance, or label any food with your name. Your commute time is based on the amount of steps it takes you to get from your bed to your desk. But with these perks, come some drawbacks and a whole new set of distractions, like that damn TV in your living room.
So how do you set some boundaries and stay productive while working from home? Here are a few tips.
1. CREATE A GREAT WORKSPACE
Without question the most important aspect of working from home is where you are working. If you want to be even a little bit productive, it’s so important to create a space for yourself that you love and that keeps you inspired and clears your mind. Make sure it has everything you need to get your work done. For me, that includes a large desk with ample space for sketching and drawing. In addition, I have a separate area for my printing and production for my store. Keeping these two areas a little separated is what works for me. This way I can prioritize the work I’m doing. I’m creating in one area, and producing in another. No matter what style you prefer, or what your business is… spend time making the perfect space that puts you at ease and works for YOU.
2. TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF IN THE MORNINGS
Once you wake up, don’t just get right to work. Take a little time to make some coffee or a smoothie. Maybe go for a quick walk or run, or a morning yoga class. Jump in the shower. Treat your mornings as if you were getting ready to go to an office, except much less stressful and at your own pace. Either way, do something for yourself to kickstart your day.
3. GET DRESSED
Sure, working in your pajamas might seem awesome in theory, but in actuality it’s not. In fact, it’s almost a little depressing. Get up, get dressed and take some pride in your appearance the same way you take pride in your work. I’m not saying you need to throw on a blazer or even straighten your hair (ain’t nobody got time for that). Just put on some cute yoga pants, put a brush through that hair and maybe even some mascara if that’s your thing. Just do something to make it clear that your day has started and if you needed to leave the house for something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to do it. Easy enough right?
3. DON’T OPEN YOUR EMAILS (YET)
Everyone’s first reaction is to jump right into your emails for the day. STOP. Don’t do it! Letting your emails dictate your day can be a huge mistake. Instead, grab your trusty planner or notebook and make a to-do list for that day without knowing what’s in that inbox. Set some goals that you’d like to accomplish that day, or even for the week. Once you’ve done that, now you can check your inbox and adjust accordingly. This way your inbox doesn’t dictate your day and make you feel like you aren’t moving things forward.
4. DON’T LET YOUR FRIENDS COME OVER
Unless they are bringing you Chipotle or something… but other then that, it’s not a great idea. Often people who work from home are misunderstood by our friends. For those who aren’t living the sweet life, they think we are always availble to do stuff. I mean after all we are at home, there is no boss to tell us what to do, we have the ultimate freedom! Wrong. Schedules are important no matter where you are working, so stick to them. Don’t be afraid to politely decline your friends invitations for a coffee break or to come over and hang. Your time is just as precious as anyone else’s, so treat it that way. It’s nothing a few nice words and an emoji or two can’t fix. They will understand and you’ll be better off for it.
5. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
Maybe you need to grab a coffee or go grab some lunch. Try to get out of the house once a day and get some fresh air. You will feel so much better when you get back to work I promise. Even if it’s just a quick break to go grab some food and bring it back to your desk, that still counts. Or if you are taking your lunch break at home, spend it in a different room. It’s okay to turn on the TV for a little bit, but keep it to 30 mins tops. Otherwise you will get suckered into that Dance Moms Marathon that is pretty much always on. Trust me, I learned from experience.
6. SET A STOP TIME
One of the benefits of working from home is you always have more time if you need it. But sometimes that mentality can make you work a lot slower. So try and set a time to end your work day. That way, when it’s over you can shut the computer and avoid your emails like the plague. Just kidding. Sort of. Either way, if you are living and working in the same space, it’s so important to try and compartmentalize. Get your work done and THEN you can start the Netflix binge. Do NOT do them at the same time. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. You will be much more productive this way.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to make your own rules. What works for you may not work for the next person. But it’s up to you to figure that out and stick to it. Show some discipline and set some guidelines that keep you working at your best.