Simple Ways to Successfully Work From Home
When you tell someone that you ‘work from home’ you can see that look in their eye, the one that says, ‘well, at least you’re not in your pyjamas right now.’ It’s a concept that is shadowed with many romantic myths of limitless days spent in beguiling cafes in whimsical procrastination while still, somehow, doing the job. It’s a wonderful fantasy. But the reality is that it can often lead to the job not getting done.
It’s that one word that does it: home. Home is our place to just be. It’s where we eat the food we love, drink tea just how we like it, watch Bake Off with our cats on our knees, and where we have to vacuum, load the dishwasher, and just generally do life away from work. As soon as we put ourselves into the ‘works from home’ gang, we can quickly fall into endless pitfalls that are ultimately all distractions from using our working hours productively.
It can take some trial and error to create the right environment for yourself but there are some fundamentals that will create a better working day full of productivity and, you know, work.
Go to Work
It sounds silly, doesn’t it? But when we can just slide out of bed and arrive, via the kettle, at our office chair, there’s little in the way to mentally prepare yourself for work. Instead, get up dressed and out (don’t forget your key!). For some of us, getting out in the morning is a necessity because of school runs, or dog walks. It means that we’re up and out – and crucially we get to come back.
Even if it’s just a quick five-minute walk around the block at 8.45am, this small act means that when you unlock the door, you can tell yourself that you’ve arrived at work ready to start at 9am. Walk past any chores that you’d usually start to worry over and go straight to your office. You left home and went to work. Obviously, I’m not about to say don’t boil the kettle again if that’s what you need!
Try to have at least one meeting a week, and if you haven’t got a client scheduled in, look for a network, industry or professional development event that you could attend each week. Humans thrive on collaboration. Interaction with others will remind you of one crucial element of working from home; you’re not just there for you, you’re there to work for your clients, they have employed you and your services. Having face-to-face time helps to take the edge off and remind yourself that there is a purpose to what you do, from home.
Be Your Own Boss
Because you are. You’re the CEO, the one at the top of the chain. There is nobody else to hold you accountable. Start each day with a clear To-Do List. If possible, schedule your week to do similar tasks on the same day. By creating a routine, you’re effectively delegating jobs to yourself just like a manager would. And set aside a little time each week to reflect on what’s happened, where you’re heading in the next week, and what you could do better.
Manage your Time
Continuing from that idea is having a solid approach to time management. It sounds obvious, of course, but is one of the hardest things to do when you’re at home, alone, every day. Have set times for checking and responding to emails. Turn off social media notifications so you’re not dragged into a Twitter debate. Know when your breaks and lunch will be and stick to them. Home can so quickly lull us into the terrible idea that it’s okay, because you can work after dinner. Stop! Set your working hours and use them wisely.
But Don’t Ignore the Procrastination
What does procrastination mean to you? What if, instead of seeing it as wasting time, you started to see it as your ideas time? When you feel yourself drift into that mindset, grab a pen and paper and write down the thoughts and ideas that are coming to you. Instead of viewing it as a time when you’re putting off work, channel it as a grace period to get some things off your chest. Brainstorm your procrastinations because inspiration is never something to be ashamed of. In amongst those notions, you’re sure to find a few golden eggs that you can keep safe and warm to hatch in the future.
There is something completely joyful about working in your own environment. Home is where we feel safe, warm and most at ease. Don’t take that for granted. To find success in working from home well, take it seriously and remember that it’s a wonderful privilege.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST WORRY ABOUT WORKING FROM HOME?