Working From Home - The Changes I've Made to be Productive
From a pretty young age, I always dreamt about owning a business and with it, being able to work from home. So, when I finally was able to fulfill that dream after starting EO Edits a year ago, I was overjoyed. There are so many amazing perks about working from home: no commute, wearing sweatpants all day, not having to put makeup on if I don't want to, playing movies in the background while I create, working with my pup beside me all day long. It's pretty great.
However, I quickly realized that working in the same place you sleep, eat, and live has it's challenges as well. It can be hard to separate work from play and with that, all too easy to be unproductive. This past year has been totally amazing and I'm not complaining one bit, but it has been trying, in that I've had to look at work in a completely different way and be more disciplined than I ever have before. I'm a motivated type of person, but discipline... well that hasn't always been my strong suit.
Luckily I feel like I've got a good handle on things now. If you're like me and are finding it a bit hard to be productive at home, I've got a few tips to help you maximize your efficiency and take back control of your day.
ESTABLISH AND STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE
As a planner, I'm a bit obsessed when it comes to routine, but they work wonders. I sat down and planned out my routine as if I was waking up to go into the office everyday. Down to the hour, decide when you wake up, what you do first (coffee, obviously), shower, and get ready for the day even if you don't have plans to see anyone at all. Getting ready, though seemingly unnecessary now, still gets you into the right mindset to face the day as a professional. As fun as it is to stay in pyjamas, that is reserved for the weekend. Luckily, my "uniform" still involves comfy clothes and casual attire but it's important to make a point to look put together.
STICK TO A SCHEDULE
As I was navigating things for the first few months as a business owner, I wasn't always the best at sticking to a schedule but I quickly realized just how important it really is. It can be really easy when you work from home to keep working all around the clock, but for you to be able to perform at your best, you have to know when to put work away, when enough is enough, and when to take a break. I literally set office hours for myself, meaning I have to be at my desk ready to work by 9 a.m. at the latest and I work until 5 p.m. give or take a few minutes to wrap up anything I'm working on at the time. Of course, things happen and some things come up just like a regular job. Sometimes you have to put in overtime to achieve what you want, but most of the time, stick to the schedule.
HAVE AN ACTUAL WORK SPACE
Being an Interior Designer, this was actually fun for me to implement and luckily we had the space in our house to make it happen. It doesn't have to be big, but making sure you have a specific space that you reserve only for work helps you to get in the zone.
ENJOY THE PERKS
You've worked your butt off to be where you're at, so make sure you enjoy it! Instead of packing a lunch, I like to keep fresh ingredients in my fridge ready for healthy recipes that I make. Taking a break to prepare a healthy lunch is a little luxury that I love so I fit that into my schedule. Another perk is that I can get so much more done by being at home. Laundry needs to get done? Make sure to put in a load before you sit down at your desk and fold it when you need a break in the afternoon. Tackle those easy to-dos like checking e-mail, posting to social media, and content planning while you catch up on a favorite show or movie. Multi-tasking and using your time efficiently is the key to both your success and happiness.
GET RID OF TIME-WASTERS
Look, no one is perfect. There are going to be days where you slip up.There's no boss or supervisor watching that you're doing the right thing. You're the boss here. But recognizing the triggers that cause you to procrastinate or waste time and being proactive about how to deal with them is important to your productivity. For me, I get caught up in reading and have trouble putting the book down. I've come to realize that I can't read first thing in the morning, as much as I'd love to, because it leads to procrastination on my part. Just one more chapter, right?
KEEP A TO DO LIST
Well it's not rocket science, but keeping a to do list so you know exactly what has to get done when is paramount to productivity. You can take it a step further by prioritizing your tasks so you know which to tackle first and what tasks can wait.
TRACK YOUR TIME
As a perfectionist, I found it was really easy to lose track of time and I was spending way too much time on tasks because I felt like I had all day, but of course I didn't. Assign a maximum amount of time to each task you have to accomplish and set timers for yourself. When the timer goes off, be strict with myself, wrap up the task and move on. As a creative, this has been the biggest help.
So, how do you make working from home work for you? What tips and tricks have you learned? Are you going to try any of the tips listed above? Let me know!