In essence it sounds good, working out of the comfort of your own home and having the freedom to keep your pajamas on all day and eat whatever sort of fragrant and offensive snacks you want. And it certainly can be, as long as you can keep it together. Working from home requires focus, productivity, communication, and a steady flow of motivation. Here are some tips.
Create a Work Space
If you have an actual office to use in your home, that’s great. The segregated space allows you to leave other home habits at the door. But if you live in a studio apartment and alternate between working on your bed and on your couch, this can take some organizing. Get a file system and a notepad that can be brought out for work hours and put away when the friends come over. Pajamas are cozy, but the structure of daytime clothes might help keep you structured in your workday. There should be a discernible change to your “office” during work hours no matter what that office is made out of. If you start to get antsy, move shop to a neighborhood coffee shop for a couple hours.
Keep the Distractions Low
If you wouldn’t watch TV or Facebook at the office, don’t do it in your at home work space. If you do not need to answer work phone calls on your cell, keep it– and that steady influx of text messages and push Instragram notifications– on silent. Leave your bachelorette Vegas flight booking for after work is done, or do it before you begin.
If you have the freedom in your workday to slip out for a workout, try to schedule it midday to keep your energy up into the afternoon hours. Taking the occasional walk around the neighborhood is not only a good way to stay awake, but walking can also clear your head and make way for creativity to flow. Carry your phone or a notepad with you in case inspiration strikes on a Starbucks run. Walks are also a good time to check text messages or emails but try and leave that to the red lights or while stretching. People fall in fountains and run into poles when their eyes are locked on the screen, seriously.
To stay on track during the day and during each week, make lists of what you need to accomplish both work related and personal errand related. This is especially important if you don’t directly report to someone who will keep you (even begrudgingly) on track. When you make a work list you can have a visual of how much you have done and how far you have to go which makes it easier to manage time. Keeping a personal errand list will help you finish your errands but it is also a place to write down half of the distractions that are swimming around in your head while you are trying to work. Remembering to buy birthday candles for your bestie’s cake can bug you all day if you don’t write it down.
With all this mind freedom and organization you will be getting things done left and right, which is where a reward system comes in. This doesn’t have to be extravagant, but enticing yourself with a pedicure for meeting a goal or deadline might be all the motivation you need to work an extra hour even though favorite show and wine o’clock is quickly approaching. They can wait.