I’m no stranger to working from home and working for myself. After 5-6 years of freelancing, I have a pretty firm grasp on what works for me… and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing what helps you be more productive. I’ve done a ton of self reflection on this topic and wanted to share what’s worked for me today… especially with the scary news of the Coronavirus because so many more people are choosing to work from home. As someone with a pulmonary condition, I am taking as many precautions as I can and staying home.
How to Be More Productive When Working from Home (8 Tips That Work for Me!)
Designate a space
It can be so tempting to work from the couch (especially in a small space) and have the TV on. Sometimes I do that… but for the most part, I find that I am way more productive when I have a designated space to work. For me, now that I have given up my studio space to save money, it’s the dining table. When I sit there at my laptop, my brain shifts into ‘work mode’ and I can be productive and tackle the to do list.
Set working hours
This is a BIG one and something that I still struggle with, to be honest. Each day is different, so there are times that I need to work later. But usually, I try to stick to the rule of stopping work by 5:30/6, when Sean comes home from work. It’s really made a difference in making sure he and I get time together to debrief about our days and re-connect.
I’ve found that working from home can mean that I work way longer hours than I ever did at the office. With that knowledge in mind, I do my best to take breaks whenever possible. And that can look like different things! Sometimes it’s closing my laptop and making a more elaborate lunch for me and Sean (he comes home every day for lunch so we can eat together). Or it means taking the dogs for a walk, communing with my chickens, or simply sitting in the sun in my favorite chair to soak up some vitamin D.
Connect with others
Working from home can be incredibly isolating. I’m an introvert, but still… I crave human interaction after a few days! A few of my other good friends work from home, so we typically text throughout the day. And a lot of the time, I FaceTime with a friend for feedback on whatever I’m working on or just to gossip. It’s really nice to collaborate, even if you don’t work on the same business or topic. You never know when you’ll get a genius suggestion that is a total gamechanger!
Take a mid-day shower
I loooove pausing my work for a mid-day shower. There’s something about the shower that activates my brain and inspires new ideas. Whenever I’m feeling stuck on what to write about or what I want to pitch to a brand, I seemingly always think of it in the shower! Because my memory isn’t the best, I also bring my phone into the bathroom and yell at Siri to take a note or voice memo. This has come in SO handy!
Use ‘do not disturb’ mode on your phone
I am definitely a person who struggles with managing new notifications as they pop up. You know those red bubbles on your phone saying how many emails you have? Those drive me nuts! When I really need to get down to business and be more productive, I turn on ‘do not disturb’ mode. It holds all notifications and incoming calls so that I can truly focus.
I actually sort of hate this one… or at least follow this tip begrudgingly. When working from home, it is so tempting to stay in my loungewear, but I’ve definitely noticed that I feel more productive when I get dressed. It doesn’t have to be a fully style outfit, but even just changing into a sweater and leggings has helped!
No phones in the bedroom
This last tip is one that I have shared a LOT, especially when it comes to improving the quality of sleep. But when you work from home, there’s even more of a change that tech enters the bedroom and that you’ll try to get in a few more emails before bed. This is so disruptive to your sleep! Instead of giving into the fear of missing something, I tell myself that it can wait until the morning.
So many of these tips feel basic, but if working from home is new to you, I genuinely hope they help. What has helped you to be more productive while working from home? I’d love to know!