One of the reasons I decided that having a “real job” just wasn’t for me was my hatred of going to, and sitting in an office all day. I also just didn’t like the whole office politics and having to be there at a certain time. Wear certain clothes and just pretend you like being there. Pretending to like someone that under normal circumstances you’d rather stick pins in your eyes than sit next to for 8 hours a day. And don’t get me started on having to eat your lunch with these people too! Obviously, that was all back in the days of the “real job” and working for someone else. Not anymore! Now I get to work from home! Or perhaps just surviving WFH.
Did you notice my “real job” remarks there? Funnily enough, I hardly get the “real job” remarks anymore or asked how much daytime tv I watch whilst I work from home. Since Covid arrived and everyone got to work from home, many of those that used to think I was a lazy arse that didn’t work have now changed their tune. However I have noticed that many of them never got to grips with how working from home can be successfully done without the need to watch Homes Under The Hammer or start your day with Lorraine.
8 TIPS FOR HOW TO WORK FROM HOME
1. CREATE A SCHEDULE to Work From Home
2. DEFINE YOUR WORKSPACE When Working From Home
I know there’s a trend or it seems to cool to have a laptop lifestyle or humble brag about creating your empire from your kitchen table, but again, this isn’t overly productive. Your dining table is for eating your dinner off. And your sofa is for relaxing on. Just like your bedroom is for sleeping in. When we mix up our spaces we lose the association our minds naturally have to those places. It’s a bit like how you wouldn’t eat your dinner in the downstairs toilet.
Having a clearly defined workspace in your home will help you to actually get work done. If you have a spare room then even better. In the past, I’ve made do with having a desk in a corner of a bedroom or dining room and once the sitting room. I didn’t like it but it was all I could do with the space I had at the time. Now I have a whole room to use as an office I find it’s much better and work can be contained to that one room. Leaving me to use the rest of my house for living in. Not working in.
The other upside of having a clearly defined workspace is telling the other household members to stay out of your space. There are enough distractions as it is when you work at home without having others encroach into your space. At the end of your workday (that you’ve created a schedule for as in point 1), shut the door and leave work in that space. Don’t let it move with you to your sofa or bedroom!
3. GET YOUR TOOLS IN ORDER
I used a laptop for ages but a few years ago I invested in a big iMac to sit on my desk. It’s great for doing website and design work on but it also means that it sits on my desk. Which means I have to sit at my desk to use it. I still use a laptop as well but since I prefer the iMac it stops me from taking the laptop off into other rooms to work there.
Similarly, is your broadband fit for purpose? Is it fast enough and reliable enough to deal with the extra load working from home will put on it? Are other members of the household sucking up all the bandwidth on Netflix whilst you’re trying to upload to YouTube? Take a look at your package and what your current provider offers and make sure you’re on an unlimited package. You’ll hit your limits in no time at all if you’re on a smaller package. Check the small print!
4. SET BOUNDARIES AND RULES for your work from home time
5. TAKE Regular BREAKS
I will openly admit that I don’t take enough breaks. A number of times I’ve sat down to quickly do something and then realised it’s 4 hours later. This isn’t good when it happens at midnight and you were just on your way to bed.
As tempting as it is to work all hours when you work from home, especially when you’re building your business. Don’t do it. I don’t care that the girlboss hustle mongers say you’ve to hustle for 32 hours a day. You can’t. It’s mentally and physically impossible. You’ll get burn out and make mistakes. Take this blog post for example. It’s late and I want to get it finished. But I won’t publish it now as I know it will be littered with mistakes. I’ll correct those tomorrow during the day when I’m more awake. I’ll roll my eyes at the stupid mistakes I’ve made in it. This is because I’m tired and I shouldn’t be doing it now. Really, I should be in bed.
Over the past few days I haven’t scheduled my days very well, due to being busy, so time has run away from me. I didn’t take my own advice and now I’m the one suffering for it. Tomorrow I’ll sort the schedule first and then edit. I use an app to plan out my day and set in breaks. The human brain only has a limited concentration span. To work productively we need to work in shorter bursts and then have small breaks. Get up from your desk, go and get a drink. Take a little walk around the house. Stick your head outside to get some air. But don’t do the housework! You’re at work remember!
6. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE BUSY
7. GET DRESSED To Work From Home
I know pyjamas are comfy. I know it’s easy to just slide out of bed and slide behind your desk. It’s wrong. Would you do that if you worked for someone else? No, you wouldn’t. So, don’t do it now you work for yourself. Get up, get showered, do your hair, put your makeup on if you’d normally do that and get dressed. Go to work! Ok, so you might just throw on your yoga pants and t-shirt. That’s fine. But try and keep some form of going to work type routine to your day. It helps. Trust me.
8. GET SUPPORT Whilst Working From Home
I’ve found there are some great online groups with others who are just like you. They get what it’s like. They probably have the same issues. The same difficulties. The same annoying type of friend that randomly shows up unannounced and stays for far too long. They have clients that annoy them too or don’t pay on time. Sharing this with the freelancer’s group I’m in helps me to not take these annoying little things to heart and know that it’s not just me that has to deal with them.
It’s also good to do other things away from work that gets you out of the house and mix with real-world people. Whether that’s networking events or going to the gym. It can become very easy to never leave the house when you work from home, so be careful you don’t become a hermit! Starting a business is like a really big emotional roller coaster (as I’ve written about before), so talk to others that know what it’s like.
But at the same time don’t make every outing about work either. If all you do is go to business networking meetings to mix with people then sooner or later you will end up sucked into an MLM conversation and disappear down their vortex. Have conversations with non-work people about non-work things. You work from home to you can talk to your walls about work.
HOW DO YOU WORK FROM HOME?
What’s your top tip for working from home? How do you stay focused when the lure of the laundry basket becomes too much? What do you say to your Mum that keeps on randomly turning up at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon? Or that friend that always dumps her kid at your house because you’re at home with nothing better to do than mind their kid while they go shopping!
** This blog was first published in August 2017 but has since been updated and republished now that many more of us work from home