Tips for working from home
Updated: Feb 3
I have worked from home for most of 25 years. It's not always easy. Working in the space where you live offers many distractions! Answering to yourself, as the boss, can be super difficult. In the end, however, the privileges and rewards of self-employment and consulting have outnumbered the challenges.
Here are my top 5, and somewhat obvious (but not always), tips for success:
Create a space: Working at the kitchen table or on the couch may be comfy, but you will need a space for "things." Identify that one room/space that is where you sit when you work. Watch your productivity go up when you don't have to climb the steps to get something off the printer! If you occasionally need meeting space or somewhere to get away and focus, consider a membership at a co-working space.
Open and close your "office": Create sacred business hours. Make your out of work time as sacred and protected as it is when you were going to the office. It is really difficult to not answer that email, call, or text for a client when it pops up. Ask yourself, is it urgent and, if not, don't respond outside of your office hours. Consider a separate phone number and leave that phone in the office. Don't forget to give yourself a vacation. Go away, and don't take the computer - be sure to put your emails on auto-reply and your set your voicemail to let clients know that you are away from the office.
PLAN and SCHEDULE: Flexibility to grab that 1pm dental appointment is a benefit of working from home. Personal appointments and household chores are a part of every life but not part of work life. Working from home just means you can throw the laundry in during lunch (yes, schedule that on the calendar). Use a calendar to schedule uninterrupted work time, client calls and meetings, breaks, and that haircut you need!
Be sure to take time to "go to lunch." Don't shortchange yourself - walk away from the desk and take an hour. Set an alarm if that helps, but be sure not to skip lunch and not to take it at your desk. Go ahead, schedule lunch with a friend or client. Get out sometimes and pretend you are an office worker who "lunches." Enjoying a social lunch helps free your mind from work problems. You will come back to the office with so much more energy and probably more ideas.
End your workday with organizing your workspace and creating a to-do list for the next day. Establish your "end of day" routine that tells your brain you are "off" work. Creating your to-do list before you close up will help you hit the desk working the next day.
BONUS: Add an hour or two each week to learn and hone your craft. Read through a business development blog or schedule to watch a webinar. Not only do you get a break from the "job" but you'll return with new ideas and skills to grow your business.