I’ve been working from home for the past year & it’s not as easy as it sounds. Even though it definitely has its perks, it’s not easy to constantly discipline yourself ALL the time. It’s easy to fall off the wagon, feel unmotivated, and burn out.
I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned about working from home. I really hope this helps all of you who are feeling overwhelmed with this new arrangement.
1. Have a Routine
I know, I know. It’s important to have a routine, but when you’re home and no one else is there to hold you accountable, YOU are responsible for how you spend your time. The only way to do that is by writing your schedule down in advance, and checking back at the end of the day to see if you stuck to it.
Your routine should be yours. It should make sense for you. Let’s say you like to do yoga every morning - make sure you incorporate that in your day. Maybe you need to block out a few hours in the afternoon to get a certain task done before a meeting. Whatever it is, be realistic and be honest with yourself.
2. Allow yourself time before work
I like to wake up at the same time every day and allow myself ½ an hour to 45 minutes before I start work. I won’t lie, some weeks I’m way better than others, but it helps me stay focused on things I need to accomplish.
I think one of the greatest things about working from home (especially if you’re a business owner) is you don’t need to commute for the most part. I like to view that time as a blessing to work on myself. I like to journal, take my time with my coffee, and get ready for the day instead of jumping on the computer right away.
3. Get Ready
Even though you’re working from home, get out of those pajamas! I cannot stress this enough - get ready for the day. It doesn’t have to be a full outfit, but wear presentable clothes as if you were about to go out.
Why does this make a difference? When we “get ready” for the day, we are mentally preparing ourselves to work. I noticed I’m much less likely to carelessly spend time on my phone or get distracted if I’m mentally ready to work.
4. Have a work space
Having a designated work space is so crucial for disciplining yourself. A lot of people like checking their emails and starting the day in bed, but it can end up being counterproductive in the long run. If our brains view the place we work and the place we sleep as the same, we’ll be more likely to be yawning the whole day! And we all know that doesn’t get much work done.
If you can, try to make a “home office”. Even if it’s not an entire room, a small table or corner can do the job. Having that space to go to and work in makes you mentally prepared for being productive.
5. Keep Your Workspace Exciting & Organized
You need to like where you work, especially in a home office. I think having items and notebooks that inspire you and make you excited to work is a great way to feel inspired. I’ve hoarded a bit too many notebooks, post-its, planners, and pens before I finally stopped (lol!) but they made me look forward to working from home. When I first started, it was a big adjustment and these small things made that reality a norm.
Make sure your space is organized. Clutter is the WORST thing in a home office, because it can really make you feel overwhelmed. I love cleaning my space at the end of the work day, especially since so much of what I do causes a big mess (photoshoots, videos, bookkeeping etc). That way, the next day when I come to my desk, I have a clean space to work.
6. Open those curtains
I love natural light. It makes me so cheerful to see the sun shining through the windows, even when I worked in a corporate office. If you have the capability, open those curtains and allow that natural light through!
If it’s a rainy day, or your home office doesn’t have windows, make sure to have proper lighting. By not having good lighting, your eyes can get strained and it can be hard to stay focused for a long time. You might find yourself feeling sleepy and with a headache, which can make it very hard to be productive.
7. Move around!
Try to move around as much as possible to get your blood flowing! Even doing household work on your designated “break” (and yes, it’s SUPER important to have a scheduled break in) is great. If you don’t have time to do a workout or go on a walk, do a few desk stretches to change it up.
I personally love walking around the neighborhood to get some sun and fresh air. Right now it’s getting warmer, which is a GREAT time to get some solitary exercise in. And doing so is still safe, despite the quarantine!
8. Put Your Phone Away
The BEST & WORST part of working from home is being able to go on your phone whenever you want. Your phone is literally your worst distraction. It’s so easy to get lost in time, scrolling through the news, caught up on a call with a friend, or just browsing through social media
If I know I have a lot to do, I physically get up and put my phone in a different room. If you need your phone for calls, try having it on “Do Not Disturb” or even on silent, so you only pick it up when you need it.
9. Adjust Weekly!
You can plan a routine all you want, but as humans, we don’t always abide by each and everything we had planned. What I like to do is make my schedule on Sunday, and adjust accordingly. There are some weeks we have WAY more going on and may need to work weekends and late nights, for instance. Other weeks may be lighter and we can get to some of the work we had been putting off.
For example, when I have a new collection coming out, my weeks are a blur. Designing the collection, working with the graphic design team, producing the scarves, shipping the scarves out, going through them to ensure quality, planning mood boards, photoshoots, edits, and way more - it can get pretty crazy! Those are the months I’m adjusting my schedule constantly to make sure I’m getting everything done and nothing is getting missed.
10. Have Something to Look Forward To
It’s easy to feel like work never ends when you’re at home, and I’ll be honest. There are some days where you’re working all day! But it’s great to have something to look forward to at the end of your hours. Whether it’s a new show, a movie, a dinner, a book, a workout, or a phone call with a friend - make sure you allow yourself time to recharge for the next day.
I hope these tips help! These are just a few things I’ve learned from working from home for the past year. It can absolutely have it’s benefits at times, but other times it’s really all about self discipline!
Wishing you all a very successful and productive WFH days in the weeks to come! IA in no time, we’ll all be back to our normal lives :)