In case you missed it a few weeks ago, I shared that my life & career were both getting a much needed update. Going from working in an office every day to working from home proved to be quite the change. A change I definitely had to get used to. For the past 5+ years of my career, I worked your typical 9-5 desk job. I was used to interacting with team members. Going to meetings held in conference rooms and having an in-person boss to report to was the norm. That all ended a few weeks ago and y’all…it was so weird.
The first few days working from home full time were pretty strange. The freedom I felt was less of a great thing and more of a “holy shit – I have to do this ll by myself!?!?” thing. Sure, in the past I worked from home every now and then. But I still had an office and people to go back to. Going from that to managing a full time contracting position, blog, business and freelance projects was a little overwhelming at first.
After a few weeks of trial and error trying to figure out how to do this whole working from home thing, I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the tips that have worked best for me. Whether you’re a freelancer or full time blogger, working from home a few days out of the week or considering making the transition to working from your home office full time, hopefully some of these tips work for you. And if you have any tips you want to share, please drop ’em below because I am always looking for suggestions on how to be more productive!
Tips for Working from Home
- Start Your Day Right. In simple terms: shower and get dressed. It took me a good three weeks to realize that I would be much more productive if I started each day like I actually had to go into the office. While I didn’t mind lounging around in my sweats all day and getting things checked off my to-do list, I noticed that I would start to get lazy around 2:00 or 3:00. Maybe it was because I was working in the clothes I slept in. Maybe it was because I hadn’t showered #dontjudgeme. But either way, I had to change it up. As soon as I started putting a little effort into my morning routine, I saw the difference in how much more productive I felt. Sure, I would still put on sweats after my shower but I just felt so much better.
- Embrace the Home Cooked Meal. Before I started working from home, I envied the girls that would show off their at-home breakfast or lunch. Up until a few weeks ago, I rarely made breakfast to enjoy at home or packed leftovers for lunch. Uber Eats was my jam for pretty much every meal when I worked in an office. One of the things I set out to do was to try and make as many of my meals as I could. Breakfast definitely came easiest. I was amazed at how much more productive I felt when I could enjoy a relaxed breakfast at my table. I love not having to rush through a croissant over my computer or sip on a smoothie in a 9:00am meeting. Taking a some time out around noon to prepare a quick & healthy(ish) lunch helps to break up the day. I still use Uber Eats or grab leftovers on some days but having the flexibility to cook at home is something I try to take advantage of when I can.
- Organize Your To-Do List(s). I’ve shared this before but I am a little OCD and crazy when it comes to staying organized. I love a to-do list but am admittedly that girl that creates five different versions in three different planners and then gets overwhelmed and starts over. It’s ridiculous. Now that I basically report to myself and have to hold myself accountable, I found that my to-do list needs to work for me rather than against me. I start each week by making one big task list for the week. I then break it out by day with projects that need to be turned in by a certain date. This would include a blog post or client deliverable. Once I have that base list for each day, I take a look at some of the evergreen or ongoing projects (like updating my budget tracker or daily social media monitoring for a client) and then sprinkle in those projects in the free time windows. I use The Day Designer to plan out each day and absolutely love it. I list my to-do’s in the right column and schedule out projects and tasks in the time slots. This helps me stay as organized and on track as I can. It can be a lot but it’s helpful when you’re working for yourself and need that “accountability”.
- Set Your Hours. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, setting the hours that work best for you is key to working from home. For me, I have a little flexibility. The company I’m contracting with is based in California. I’m my own boss for Fashionably Lo and Adorn. I set hours based on when I know I can be the most productive and when I can connect with my team. I block out time on my calendar to work on different jobs. For example, I block out 8:00am-10:00am every day to work on blog admin tasks. I schedule 2-3 hour chunks of time 2-3 days a week for Adorn “Business Hours”. It’s that type of scheduling that helps to keep me on task and held accountable. Regardless of what I have on my to-do list, I try to get as much done for each “job” within the set hours and it helps to keep me on track.
- When All Fails, Take It Offsite. Let’s be real, working alone from home can start to get boring. It’s quiet. You start to miss the human interaction. Netflix starts to call your name just a tad louder. I love heading to a coffee shop or co-working space 1-2 times per week. I’ve also found that joining up with a friend who also works from home is a fun break from the norm. We’ll head to open of our houses or try a new coffee shop. Sometimes surrounding yourself with like-minded energy can help you get that last project checked off your list.
- Don’t Be Hard On Yourself. This is one is simple. We all have off days. Days where the work doesn’t get done until last minute. Days where we just can’t find the motivation. Working from home seems to impact these off days even more. I’ve come to realize that as long as I get the work done and keep a somewhat base line of productivity, I don’t feel as bad when I have to push things back or miss a small deadline. Working from home usually means that you’ve got to be your own boss. But it means you’re also the only one doing the work. You can’t be awesome at both without giving yourself a little wiggle room to get the job done. So take a deep breath and don’t stress if things change every now and then. At the end of the day, you’re totally going to kill it no matter what!