When people hear I work from home, their eyes light up. Almost dreamily they tell me, “That must be amazing! You can wake up whenever you want. Wear whatever you want. Work whenever you want. You’re lucky!”
Yes. And no.
Don’t get me wrong, the introvert in me loves working at home. Corresponding via email/social media/any written form is so much easier for me and I come off way more confident than I really am. I can wear my workout clothes with no judgment all day long and I get to take pictures of my cats whenever they’re adorable. Which is literally ALL THE TIME.
But working from home does have it’s drawbacks. I have no one to bounce ideas off of, I have to push myself to do work or it doesn’t get done, and I seem to always find something I could be working on even if it isn’t super important (I’m looking at you slightly scuffed baseboards that NEED to be cleaned instead of writing that assignment that you know, I’m getting paid for and all).
It takes a little time to get adjusted to working from home, but it can be an awesome situation if you set it up to be that way. So whether you’re looking to work from home on a regular basis or you just do it every once in awhile, here are four of my tips to make it productive and fun!
Set a schedule
This might seem obvious or it might seem silly, but every day create a schedule and schedule EVERYTHING. Each morning after I workout and shower, I write in a little notebook the list of things I need to do and the order I need to do them in. This includes things like dinner prep stuff, household chores, and even a walk outside along with my work assignments. It helps me to see everything that needs to be done and checking things off that list keeps me motivated to finish it all.
It is SUPER easy to get distracted when you work from home. You can have the TV on all day, no one is yelling at you if you go on Facebook, and you can scroll to you your hearts content on Instagram. Everyone’s distraction is different and you have to know what it is and work to keep it at a minimum when you have no one monitoring your work all day. I used to work with the TV on in the background because I liked to have the noise but I realized I would suddenly get sucked into a story on the news or whatever show was on and lose 45 minutes of work time. Now I just work with music on in the background. I use browsing social media and other blogs as a short break from my work but if you find yourself constantly on them, you can actually block those sites from your computer during your work time. Just know your distractions and put practices in place that minimize those so you can keep working.
Make sure you don’t work constantly
One of the downsides of working at home is you’re always “at the office”. I have a bad habit of always thinking of things I could or should be doing instead of shutting off the work side of my mind and relaxing. It’s important to not always be working so choose a time every day that you are going to be done with work. It can change each day or maybe you’re quitting time will be 5 pm each night. Whatever it is, try to have at least a few hours each day where you are not working. And if possible, try and keep your weekends free and open. Admittedly I do a little blog work on the weekends, but I enjoy that and taking pictures of food doesn’t feel like work to me. Remember, you should have more to yourself than just your work. Take a break and explore other interests.
Take yourself (and your work) seriously
This one is actually one that I’m still working on. I constantly tell people, “Oh, I’m JUST a freelance writer” or “I’m ONLY a ghost writer that works from home.” It wasn’t until my husband starting getting mad at my lack of pride in my work that I realized I was constantly belittling myself and what I do. Just because I don’t go to an office every day or earn a typical kind of salary doesn’t mean I don’t work hard or contribute to our family. Same goes for you. Whether you run a podcast, work as a medical transcriptionist, or write for a fan fiction blog site, take you and your work seriously. You’re contributing and you’re important.