Have you found yourself working from the comfort of your living room? Are you struggling to figure out how to be productive but never get out of your pajamas? Maybe your job is an internet endeavor, or maybe you are just a home maker, but if you find yourself working from home and wondering how to be effective and efficient with your time and energy, here are 5 tips that will help you get on track with your work-from-home life:
- Got to the office, even if you don’t go to “the office.” My desk is actually in my living room, and it was a long road trying to figure out how to make that a seperate space from the rest of my life. I have found that it is important to get up in the morning, have my coffee in the kitchen, eat some breakfast, then go work at the desk for a while. When I take breaks, they are breaks in the bedroom or the kitchen, and I think of myself as going home for a break. On the days when I am caring for the kids, I go to the “office” when they are asleep or when I can give them a project that will buy a large block of time. I am a believer in the spouses having “his and hers” desks. Make your work space your own, if you have the space.
- Have a morning routine. This is hard to find if you are new to working at home. Whether you are a stay at home parent or an in-house workaholic, it is important for almost everyone to find the rhythm after waking up that brings them to a place where they feel ready to get stuff done. I like to make my lists of “to-do” and “to-get” the day before, and I notice a lack of focus on the days when I don’t.
- Get dressed for work. Of course, the benefit of working at the house is that you don’t have to wear a suit and tie. If you are used to buttoning up your shirt and tucking in your shirt tails, however, it might be best if you stick with your work wear for a while as you adjust to your new routine. If you choose to work in your pajamas, then get a work set. This may sound crazy, but have a nice pair of house clothes that are your work gear. Then, after your morning shower or cup of coffee, you can get dressed and get started (this goes for everyone if you are raising kids).
- Keep your lunch hour. Eat a simple but healthy lunch, and do it at the same time every day. My wife started coming home for lunch from work and I realized that I had been eating whenever it was convenient. Once I started making a specific time for lunch, I was able to plan my day around it. Everyone benefits from knowing when and where the meals are taking place.
- Remember to invest in your business. It is easy to use all of your proceeds from working on the house budget, but remember that you spend all of your time at home. If you use your computer 40 hours a week, keep it maintained and up to date. Just because your office is in your living room, that doesn’t meant that you don’t need office equipment. Get a decent chair for your desk. If your kids are around, then you need to invest in their development and their comfort, too. Get a bus ticket or a membership to the local science center or the museum. This will be good for everyone as you can create field trip that make your time at home more rewarding and enjoyable. Don’t ignore the reality that your work and your home life are in the same building, and it is best not to spend every waking moment there.
This should get you started or get you thinking about what it takes to work from home. It is a challenge, but it can be very rewarding. There are a lot of resources online and in your local community for stay at home parents and for those working from home. Be sure to network and to keep in touch with those that are also in you situation. A sympathetic ear can be invaluable when you are feeling overwhelmed.