As I’ve been self-employed for some time, I thought I would share some tips on how to stay productive working from home. It takes a bit of getting used to for sure, but I think it can be just as productive if not even more than physically going into work. You just have to implement a good routine and daily habits.
Keep your “going to work” routines
I would highly recommend keeping your going to work routine, as you’ll benefit from a better start to the day.
Working in PJ’s might sound great, but it’s not the same as getting up, having a shower, putting make-up on and getting dressed. Wear something that makes you feel confident and organised. Get up at your usual time (minus your commute), have a nice breakfast and start thinking about the day ahead. I make sure to have a relaxed breakfast with candles and jazz music every morning. Although breakfast doesn’t last for long, it’s still a nice relaxed environment and sets me up for the day ahead. I always make coffee in my favourite cup and that’s the way I like it.
Carve Out Your Workspace
Have a designated work area. You might not have a home office to work from but you can create one. It could be at the dining table, in which case I would definitely recommend using a table and a chair to the sofa. As comfy as it is, it’s not great for your posture and I think it’s easier to work from a table.
If you’re lucky enough to have space you can close the door on, use it. You’ll benefit from being able to shut out external distractions. The best thing about working from home is being able to work in an environment you feel comfortable in. Candles are great for lifting your mood and you can put together a playlist of music to focus your mind.
Make a plan for the day
To be productive you need a plan for the day, this way you can hit the ground running with a plan of action. This can be done the day before or in the morning. I prefer to do it the night before while it’s fresh in my mind. I’m not great at using apps for this, so I often send an email to myself, so it’s the first thing I see in the morning. Not the fanciest system, but it works for me. The most important thing is to have an idea of what you’ll be working on and a clear list of priorities.
If you have children at home it’s obviously a lot more difficult. If you’re two parents at home, it might make sense to take turns to work and look after the children. Keep the children active with school work and projects to do. There are loads of great ideas on Pinterest and of course a lot of great educational apps too.
I know. It might be an obvious one, but also so important. You should be at work so try and treat it like that. The TV shouldn’t be on in the background, it’s only going to be distracting. Have some nice music playing instead. You can watch Netflix after work as a treat.
Don’t put things off. It’ll only play at the back of your mind and could make you feel anxious. Get things done, so you don’t have to think about it. Believe me, I say this with experience. When I feel like I haven’t done everything it sometimes affects my sleep, which of course isn’t great. So if I have anything that I keep putting off, I try to deal with it as quickly as possible.
Prioritise your list of tasks from most to least important and gradually work your way through. You might want to divide the day into sections to help you visualise how the day will pan out.
Fresh air and Breaks
Try and go for a walk at lunchtime. It’s great to get out for a while, even if it’s only for 10-minutes. Clearing your head and soaking up that vitamin D will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to start the second half of the day. If you don’t have time or aren’t able to go out at all, open your windows. It helps to work in a room that isn’t too hot and stuffy.
Make a point to intentionally stop for tea or coffee and a lunch break during the day and step away from your workspace. If you fall into the habit of working straight through, you’ll burn-out in no time. Being self-employed, it’s hard to step away from the temptation to work longer hours but breaks are actually very important. Give yourself a little time to reset each day. It’s something to look forward to, but it’s also really important to move around.
After a productive day of work, it’s now time to put your work away. Cook, watch Netflix, catch up with family and friends and social media and enjoy your evening!
All photos by me.