I can't believe it has already been about five months since I stepped away from my desk job to pursue my dreams. This next chapter has been fantastic but has had its growing pains. Working from a home office is a double-edged sword, your office is right there, and your office is RIGHT there. It is hard to set boundaries between your work and home life; the laundry can be distracting or pushing off a workout to finish a project. I got caught up in the everyday little things and client details to the point I felt like I wasn't completing anything. Or the items completed were not balanced, my chores maybe done but I hadn't gotten to my inbox yet. I knew I needed to reset to be more productive working from my home office.
These tips are for if you work from home full time like me OR if you have trouble balancing your side hustle on the weekends and evenings.
1. Take time for yourself every day. Remember you are working for yourself so enjoy that morning cup of coffee without your laptop open or a pen in your hand. This mental time will help prepare you for the day. And you may say "I don't have the time" but trust me that extra time in the morning will make you more focused and productive throughout the day.
2. Schedule your meetings for the morning. Waking up at 6:00 am takes a lot of self-control so having something planned for the day helps put you in the mindset to wake up and be a boss.
3. Do chores before starting your workday or wait until the evening. It takes willpower to ignore the clothes that need folding or the dishes that need to be put away but, try your best to stick to set times to do household activities.
4. Keep your home clean. You may have some dishes or laundry but try to keep the space you work in tidy, and it will not be too distracting. I suggest just putting items away as you use them or following tip #3 to make it effortless.
5. Set physical boundaries. When I first started working from home, I LOVED to work from my bed; I thought it was the coolest thing. But I was not very productive, and it made falling asleep header because I could not turn my brain off. Now when I start work for the day, I close the bedroom door and stick to my office space or art table. It may seem silly but once I turn on the lights in the office nook it is like turning on the "open sign," and at 5 pm I turn them off and stop working. Having the physical boundary of where I should be working helps to be more focused and purposeful.
6. Make your office area inspirational. Whether you have only a desk, nook or full room make your area completely you. I have a unicorn lamp for crying out loud! Along with bright illustrations, Charleston mementos, and colorful books. As much as the area needs to be functional, you want the space to ignite your creativity, make you happy and ready to conquer whatever is no your to-do list. Here are some updated photos of my office space. I posted about my office space and DIY filing cabinet last year but wanted to share some updates since making it my full time office.
7. Set a timer. Some tasks can lose your focus, like checking email or interacting on your social media accounts. I suggest setting a timer. If I have a list of people I need to email or want to reach out to, I set a timer for 45 minutes. Once time is up, I will wait to conquer the rest of the list until tomorrow. Same with social media I set a 20-minute timer for interacting on Instagram. More tips on social media later but daily communicating is key to build your online community. The timer helps me schedule out my day and also cut out the time where my mind wonders off task.
8. Set up a time to be creative each day. If you are a morning person like myself, I suggest it to be the first thing you work on each day. Have scheduled creative time will help energize your mind. I know I found myself feeling cloudy when I would get sucked into all the business details first thing in the morning. Taking time to work on designs and pieces, helps me get excited about the work I am producing and makes the business stuff not too bad.
9. Get a gym membership and put it in your daily schedule. I have been more productive in the last two weeks than I was before I started working out again. Exercising helps to relieve stress and build your endurance. Two things you need when you are killing it like a boss at your business or side hustle. Taking the time to care for yourself will make you feel better and in the long run, increase the productivity of your business.
10. Set a daily schedule following the other tips above. Making your schedule will help you flow through your day without thinking about what you need to be doing. Spending time thinking about what you should be doing instead of doing it is a big time waster. For instance here is my daily schedule (unless I have meetings or events):
6:30 am Wake Up
6:30 - 8:00 am I eat breakfast get ready for the day and enjoy my cup of coffee.
8:00 am Get creative.
Mid-morning - Check email and get to work on the blog, clients whatever needs to get done.
12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch Hour
1:00 - 5:00 pm Finish work
5:00 - 6:30 pm Cook dinner and do chores
7:00 pm Gym
8:00 pm Eat dinner
After dinner, I try to relax and get ready for bed.
I know this isn't a complete list of every hack and tip for being productive working from home, but it is what I have learned so far in the last five months. If you have any tips or tricks please leave a comment down below! I would love to try them!