How to Work from Home and Get Shit Done
There are many benefits to working from home (WHF) whether you’re a freelancer or lucky enough to have flexible working arrangements.
The most exciting part of working from home — the flexibility and unstructured days — can become a procrastination playground.
Don’t get me wrong — rolling out of bed in my pyjamas with my pup by my side is the dream, however, you’re also surrounded with countless distractions from unfinished chores, other projects, family, and/or roommates, and of course, Netflix.
Especially when you’re new to WFH, these unforeseen challenges can lead to a stifling of creativity and unmet deadlines.
No, you’re not hopeless — you’re human.
Working from home takes discipline and structure and it starts by organising your priorities.
Here’s what I found helped me make the most from working from home.
Tip 1: Prepare in the evenings
Eliminate distractions from your chore list in the evenings so that you can focus on your priorities the next day.
Before I wind down from my day, I’ll make sure the dishes are cleared away, laundry is folded.
The evenings are also when I map out my to-do list — but I always try to avoid writing a massive list.
I only jot down one or two main tasks for the day ahead. That way, I won’t feel overwhelmed and already defeated with a daunting task list.
Tip 2: Set your working hours and boundaries
Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you need to be working around the clock.
Make your working hours clear to not only yourself but your household and clients too.
Set boundaries ahead of time to save yourself resentment, burn-out, and awkward conversations later.
I’m a morning person — My most creative work comes out early in the morning, so I take advantage of that time. My working hours were 7 am - 3 pm on the weekdays, but clients can still ring me and expect an email reply if they reach me before 6 pm — a very strict 6 pm deadline.
Clients will always try to reach you outside your hours, so be strong and stick to your boundaries.
Having a set hourly schedule is key for time blocking. It’s a productivity hack that suggests you allocate blocks of time to focus on specific tasks and forces you to be realistic with your time. I have more on this strategy later.
Tip 3: Dress for success
Get ready for work as if you’re going to an office. I love working in my pyjamas, however, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not as productive as when I put myself together.
Going through the motions of “getting ready” — putting my makeup on, brushing my hair, putting an outfit together — shifts your mindset.
Humans are naturally creatives of habit. If we maintain the habit of getting ready for work each day (even when working from home) will trigger our brain to set up for “work mode.”
Likewise, when we’re lazing around at home in our panamas, we’ve conditioned ourselves to wind-down from work.
Work clothes are a visual reminder for yourself and the people around you to respect your time and space because you look like you’re working.
Get ready in the morning before your working hours, especially if you need to run out the door for a meeting or errands in the day. If you get ready earlier, you won’t need to eat up your set working hours getting dressed should you need to run out the door in the day,
Tip 4: Create a space to work in
I like the idea that there is a relationship between your workspace and your work.
If your workspace is cluttered, it will reflect in your work. Keep your space clear of any distractions and keep it tidy. In short, create a workspace you’re excited to work in — whatever that may look like for you.
Want some studio inspiration? In Her Studio Magazine shares the creative spaces and lives of female artists, designers, and makers and the thought processes behind creating their workspaces.
Tip 5: Take breaks and time block
Don’t expect to be a productivity machine all day. I mentioned this earlier, but time blocking is an effective productivity tool. It works great for creative work such as writing, painting, and designing because allowing large chunks of time to explore ideas promotes deep focus.
Time blocking is when you plan to do one single task for a chunk of time and take breaks in-between to switch tasks. Our brains aren’t wired to multi-tasking. When researchers look at our brains behave multitasking, what we’re actually doing is switching from one activity to the other very quickly. This switch takes a toll on our productivity.
Remember to take breaks.
Get out of the house — Take a walk, grab a coffee, just change up your scenery so that you don’t feel stir crazy. Just make sure you schedule that time and don’t let yourself get too distracted.
Tip 6: Schedule your errands/meetings on the same day
Instead of having your meetings and errands sporadically placed in your week. Schedule them back to back in one day — it’s even better if you can do it in an afternoon.
That way, you’ll have a set day where you’re out and about in different places rather than having your productivity hacked down every time you need to step out for a meeting or errand.
Working from home sounds like the dream — and it is, however, this working arrangement can also lead to unmet deadlines and unproductive days if you don’t set a structure and practice disciple.
Having a successful business from your home is attainable with the right mindset. It all comes down to optimising your work space and changing your mindset to leverage your most productive times.
Do you work from home?
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