I’m often asked what it’s like to work from home, how I balance my time and schedule, and if I have any tips to make a work from home experience better. If I’m being totally honest, it’s been a huge learning process, struggle, and experiment to find a good balance and rhythm for me the last two years – and still is. I function best in an organized environment with structure, deadlines, and accountability. When you’re your own boss, you have to establish and hold to each of these things on your own. Between traveling, real life things like family, appointments, and errands, along with what others see as ‘open availability’ in your life, it can be so difficult!
Today I’m sharing 5 keys for working from home, along with a tip from some of my favorite girl boss bloggers who really own their businesses. I hope you guys enjoy this post – I’d love to hear what you think and would love to bring more content like this if you guys like it!
CREATE A DAILY SCHEDULE.
I mentioned at the beginning of this year that one of my main intentions for 2016 was to create a daily schedule. This is probably the biggest key in working from home. Organize and prioritize your day. I created a schedule that breaks my day down nearly by the hour. From the time I wake up and what my morning looks like, to what work out or class I’m going to that evening, my day is lined up for me. I also designated specific days of the week for specific tasks. For example, Tuesday is my shoot day. I never schedule conference calls, meetings, appointments, or anything on Tuesday because my entire day is set aside to shoot. Set specific days and times for each of your tasks and you’ll find your time isn’t wasted but maximized! My planner is divided into morning, day, and night portions, making scheduling my days so much easier.
SET TIMES TO CHECK YOUR EMAIL AND/OR SOCIAL MEDIA.
Just as I set up a daily schedule, I also have set times to check and reply to emails, and check or post on my social media. I tend to not get anything done when my email inbox is left open, because I constantly hear the new mail notification sound going off and rush to my inbox. Half the time it’s a promotional email that ends up getting deleted, but I get lost in the inbox vortex and an hour later I’m nowhere on my to do list.
Instead, I’ve gotten in the habit of checking my email in the morning, closing the inbox, and only opening it when I finish other tasks. If you’re worried about missing an important email, you can set your phone to notify you only when a certain contact sends an email. I also decide what times I want to post on social media in the mornings. This way, my social posts are planned out and I’m not rushing to get a post up or forget to share a post to twitter when it’s already lined up. It takes the pressure off!
CREATE A DESIGNATED OFFICE SPACE – EVEN IF IT’S JUST A DESK.
Creating a work space is so vital to your organization and concentration. I recently moved into a two bedroom apartment for this main reason – I needed a designated room for my office, away from the distractions of the rest of my home. I wanted my office to be a place that I could physically walk into everyday and feel like I’m “going to work.” That simple action of putting yourself in a workspace does wonders for your psychological view towards working from home. My nutritionist even recommended that I physically leave my house and then walk back in into my office if I was struggling with separating home and “work.”
Side note – I’m currently working on designing my new office with an amazing company and cannot wait to share the full room reveal with you guys soon!
BE REALISTIC AND TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
Unplug. Turn it off. Put it down. Take time to just be. If your business is related to social media in any way, this is the hardest for you. I find myself sitting down to unwind some nights in front of a tv show, but I’m sitting there stuck on my phone the entire time scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram. Even though I’m not ‘working,’ I’m still not giving myself a break from being plugged in. I’ve recently tried to just put my phone down at night, even for just an hour — and this includes texting friends! A friend of mine recently had a hard time understanding why I was doing this and I tried explaining that I’m on my computer and phone all. day. long. I need a break. My mind needs a break. My EYES need a break. You need a break and it’s important to take time for yourself.
GET UP AND GET DRESSED.
I was talking with Kathleen the other day and we both agreed this is one of the hardest for us. I tend to like to stay in bed, with my warm lemon water and robe, and get my morning list out of the way before getting out of bed and tackling the rest of my day. Bad move. Get yourself up and get yourself dressed. Most days I end up throwing on leggings and an oversized sweater or tee, but I have to fully admit, the days I even put on jeans and shoes (very rare), I always, without fail, get more work done. I feel more motivated, alive, and ready to work. I also focus more. Again, just like having a designated work space is psychological, so is what you’re wearing. Leggings or sweats tend to promote relaxation (you know, netflix and chill), so doesn’t it make sense that your brain doesn’t want to answer emails, get on calls, and GSD? Right, I know.