I’ve been pretty MIA lately on my blog (you may have noticed), but it’s for good reason! I did something a little crazy a couple weeks ago…I,uh, launched this little thing called a BUSINESS. Yeah. So, needless to say, things have been pretty busy around here lately.😁
As of three and a half weeks ago, my “office” is now my house. Some may be thinking, um…amazing, and some are like, oh…no. Well, I’m part of the first group. I don’t mind it at all! That may be because I live alone, or because I actually have a designated office in my apartment, but with anything, there are challenges. And, working from the comfort of your home is definitely one.
But, as with everything in life, I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of weeks, and thought it was worth sharing, given that the work culture is shifting to more non-conventional work spaces. Keep in mind, what works for me, may not work for you, but the point is, it’s important to find what does work, so that you can be the most productive.
TIP 1: Shower
What the!? Shower? YES. Shower. I know it seems absolutely ridiculous, but when you work from home, it’s so easy to just roll out of bed, open your laptop, start working and shower later (or not – ha!). But when get yourself into a routine, like getting up and taking a shower, you’re starting your day off. You’re literally building in a “start time”. I still struggle with this, and probably will for a while (I’m also a publicist and always “on”, so that doesn’t help!). But it’s important to find a balance. Showering first thing in the morning allows me to build in that time to “get ready” like I would if I were going into an office, and THEN open my laptop after I’ve woken up and done something for myself.
*Bonus Tip – Ladies: Throw on a little makeup – even if you’re not going to see anyone all day. Trust me. It’ll make you just feel better. I usually just toss on some mascara to brighten up my eyes a bit. Believe me, it makes all the difference when you catch yourself in the mirror looking half decent, compared to looking like a homeless zombie (that seems like an oxy-moron, but it just felt right, so I’m moving on – haha!).
TIP 2: Wear Tight(er) Clothing
So this tip is one that I took from my mom and put a twist on. My mom used to work from home for years. Her company was based out a different city, so she worked from a home office, and went into her main office once a month or so. She did this for years, so she’s pretty much an expert. She told me right from the start – get dressed in the morning! Similar to the tip above, it’s to establish some sort of regular routine. But the reason that I’m saying I adapted this tip with a twist, is because I don’t wear my clothes that I wear out, in my house. That’s because I have two cats! Though I keep my house clean and my furniture (nearly) hair-free, I’m a freak about my clothes. Animal fur on clothing is just the worst. And I want to die when I see someone covered in dog/cat hair outside of the house. Like, what! Ew! Do something about that! I digress.
What I’ve noticed about myself is that I can’t throw on some baggy PJ pants and call it a day. They’re almost too comfortable. They make me want to curl up on the couch. So, one day, I put on some yoga pants and a tighter long sleeve T and I found myself much more alert and productive. May seem crazy, but again, I think it’s a little subtle reminder that I’m not just home, hanging out, catching up on shows, I actually have things to do. So, save the hoodies and comfy pants for post-work hours.
TIP 3: Actually Use Your Office or Create a Designated Work Space
As I mentioned above, I’m fortunate enough to have an office in my house. And what I’ve learned over the past few weeks is that it’s more important than ever that I actually use it as an office. Again, this all rolls back up into creating a routine for yourself, but it’s sooo important to have a space that is WORK-only. It allows your brain to get into that work-mode, and you become more productive.
Now, if you don’t have an office in your house, that’s okay. Find a space that works for you, that’s not too distracting (TV, etc) and get a desk or high-top table – whatever – and deem this your work space. I usually work in my office for most of the day, but if it’s a sunny day, I sometimes come downstairs into my living room and set up shop on my high-top table that overlooks the street. My living room is lined with windows, so the light is amazing, and it makes me feel alert and ready to take on the day! If I’m working downstairs though, the TV is off, and the couch doesn’t even exist. Seriously, don’t even THINK about getting on that couch. Just trust me. Don’t do it.
TIP 4: Set An Alarm For the End of the Day
This one is one of the hardest for me, as I briefly mentioned above, and I know it’s going to be something that I struggle with, probably for forever, but it’s arguably one of the most important ones. When working from home, because you’re in the same space that you enjoy your “off time” in, where you sleep, where you play, etc, it’s really hard to stop working sometimes. In addition to creating a “start time” (like noted above), you need to create a “stop time”. For me, I’ve tried to stay within the 9-6 (ish) time frame. I may check my email before 9, but I’m trying not to respond until 9am and post-6pm. For a while, I started setting an alarm on my phone that would go off at promptly 6pm alerting me that it is time to log off!
I also do try to take advantage of the fact that I’m my own boss now (SO crazy to think), and sometimes, I need to run an errand, or do laundry, and that’s totally okay! But, if I do that, I consider the time I took away from the “typical” day, and I build that into my work day. Example: if I take 9-11am “off” to do personal things, and I don’t start my day until 11am, then I’ll work until 7 or 8pm that day or until everything I need to get done, is done for the day. Again, all about balance.
Tip 5: Get Out of the House
This one is another important one. Although, I could argue that they all are, this one is about interacting with other humans and getting perspective! So, yeah. SUPER important (haha!). What I’ve found to be the most beneficial for me (at this moment), is to carve out one day a week where I decide to wake up, get ready and GO OUT. I usually choose a work-friendly coffee shop, where I’ll order a coffee and set up shop. I usually only stay for a couple of hours, but for me, being in an environment where others are doing the same thing (go to a coffee house around 9-11am and you’ll see what I mean!), is really motivating for me. I love being surrounded by other people who are grinding just as hard as I am and making things happen! Plus, just getting out of your comfort zone and into a new environment is always a good thing. I personally like to go midweek, like on a Wednesday, so it breaks up the week a bit more, but I think any day is fine, as long as you commit to doing it once (or more, if you want) a week.
All in all, working for myself and being on my own has by far been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. Is it different? Oh yeah. Challenging? Definitely. Rewarding? 100%. It’s funny, ask anyone that’s now running their own business how they like it – from newbies like me, to people that have been doing it for years – and 99.9% of them will say that it’s been the best decision that they’ve made, and most likely that they wish they would have done it sooner!
So, for those out there that are considering doing the same, I say go for it! Be bold! Make sure you have a plan, and a support system (emotionally and financially), and just do it. There will be challenges along the way, no doubt, but the rewards that come along with it, are unrivaled.
Good luck! And here’s to kicking some serious butt while you’re at it! 💪🏼