post by Stephanie Nelson
Whether you own your own business or your employer allows you to work remotely, working from home presents a unique set of challenges. Here are a few of our top tips for working from home.
Keep a routine, just like you have a job…because you do.
When I first went out on my own, this was what became the best piece of advice anyone gave me. She added that you get up, take a shower, get dressed, and go to your office, same as pretty much every worker-bee on the planet. Your clothing may be more along the lines of glorified pajamas instead of business suits, and your commute may be 10 steps instead of 10 miles, but you keep this routine. And speaking of going to the office…
Have a dedicated workspace.
This can be an actual room in your house. This can be a table/desk in a corner. This can be your dining room table. But this is the space that you go to every work day. This is also the space you can walk away from during breaks and at the end of your work days. Do not let your whole house become where you work because then there’s no way or place for you to get away from work and still live in your house.
Have set office hours.
This is going to help you twofold. One, it’ll help you set boundaries for yourself with your clients. When you’re employed by someone else, you have hours you’re supposed to work. Sometimes, you might need to work more; sometimes you might get off work early. But in general, your clients know when and how they can get ahold of you. Same premise applies here. Two, this tip will help you set boundaries with your household. As easy as it is to throw in that load of laundry or take just a second to unload the dishwasher, don’t let chores creep into your work time. It’ll take you longer to get your work done, and time you should be available to spend with your family and friends will end up being encroached upon by work.
Make to-do lists.
Personally, I take a little time each Sunday to write down what HAS to be accomplished each day. When I scratch off the last item, I have the option of (a) being done for the day, (b) working ahead through the next days’ lists, or (c) tackling those ethereal items that need to be done but aren’t assigned a deadline (watching replays of webinars, reading the business books and blogs for professional development, etc). And I’ve discovered no option is the right answer all the time. Some days, I NEED a little downtime, so being done is the right thing to do. Some days, energy is a little higher, so powering through some other stuff works.
Get out of the house.
Whether you take things with you and work from your favorite coffee shop or local hangout or you meet some other work-from-home folks for brainstorms and brain dumps, don’t get in the rut of just sitting at home.
Get a move on!
I depend on my Apple Watch for the notifications to stand each hour. Sometimes, that means I stand at my desk and type. Sometimes, that means I get up and refill my water glass. But I make sure to stand up. I also try to join some workout challenges to make sure I move more than that one minute per hour. I don’t always meet the challenge, but it’s a bit of motivation to get moving. Other things that may work for you on this would be having a workout buddy and/or a gym membership.