A Little Guide To Working From Home & Actually Getting Stuff Done
Over the last few years, I've been incredibly fortunate to be able to work for myself and work from home. Being able to work from your own space is something that is sought after by many but for some, it's their worst nightmare. Because let's be honest here, it's not all leisurely mornings with avocado on toast and then doing your work at your own pace. Of course, it certainly has its perks and for me personally, it's something that has been a true blessing in life. But the last few years has certainly taught me a lot and here is my little guide to working from home. Whether that be because you're running your own business or studying.
small routines are key
Any type of routine for me is key, doesn't matter how big or small it is, it's something that my brain responds to incredibly well. Over the years I've tried so hard to get a really set in stone routine but I've come to realise that it's not something that is all that feasible. When you work for yourself or in any job really no day is ever the same, you're never going to do the exact same thing over and over again. And not having any type of routine can result in disaster and lead to so many wasted hours. So focusing on those small little things can really help your day flow a little easier. For me it's really simple things like having breakfast in the morning, getting ready for the day and making sure I've taken Josie out so she'll give me some space to work. And when I don't do those things my day is all thrown off and it never flows the way I'd like it to.
working from home means you're working and have to say no
A big misconception about people who work from home is that they're constantly free and can hang out at any given moment. And of course, you do have that wiggle room that so many don't have in their schedule but it doesn't mean you can just drop your workload at someone else's request. It's something that's incredibly frustrating and a conversation that comes up time and time again. Saying no seems like such a harsh thing to do but it's not and it's important to have some structure in your work day and then not having to play catch up and work for hours into the night because your to-do list needs ticking off. Working from home is often perceived as a leisurely career but it's not and more often than not you are working from the moment you get up till you go to bed because you feel so guilty and struggle to set yourself boundaries.
boundaries are key
Creating yourself little boundaries for your workday is something that I've realised is super important to create some sort of balance between home life and work life. Here are a few boundaries that I've set in place and want to work towards in the upcoming year;
- Not have anything visual on in the background when working.
- Creating a realistic time for myself to switch off from work.
- Work to a schedule that works for me even if it's not the traditional route.
- Ignore my e-mails and social media when out with a walk with Josie.
- Not focus on e-mails all day.
- Take full days off rather than a few hours here and there.
getting ready for the day can completely change your mindset
Here's the thing about working from home, if you want to work from your bed in your dressing gown then you can. There is absolutely no stopping you because you're your own boss. And I won't deny that I do that sometimes and it's glorious. But in the long run it's not the best habit to get into as you fall into bad work patterns and you never quite feel ready for the day. And even now I don't sit and work in jeans and a formal top but I do put on the clothes that I feel comfortable to work in on and always make sure I wash my face, sort out my hair and brush my teeth. They're such simple things but they make a huge difference with how my day pans out. It's like when I do those things a little switch in my brain flicks on whereas if I just stay in my loungewear all day then my mind isn't switched onto work and I mostly end up asleep with my laptop rather than working.
if you don't motivate yourself then no-one else will
When you're your own boss then it's tricky to get yourself super motivated to work and get things done. But when you're in charge of how much income you earn then a terrifying pressure does bubble up and sometimes it can be so intense that you don't end up doing anything. Sometimes the motivation just isn't there and when that happens you constantly beat yourself up to get more stuff done and spend the entire day absolutely hating yourself because obviously, one off day means you're a complete failure. There are so many posts online about how to find motivation for yourself but I think it's something you have to work out for yourself over time. For me, one of my biggest motivators is to be able to provide myself with an income so that I can pay my way in life as well be able to treat myself and give Josie everything she needs. Some might say it's wrong for money to be one of your biggest motivators but ultimately isn't that the main reason we all work? And of course, I want to put good out into the world and in some way help other people.
don't conform to the 9-5 pattern
Something that is all too easy to fall into is thinking you need to work traditional work hours in order for your work to feel like it's real. Obviously, it doesn't help with outside influences constantly harping on about 'real' work but any job where you're being paid constitutes as work, it really is that simple. When you don't have a traditional 9-5 job then it makes absolutely no sense to try and work those hours as they don't always work and more and more companies now have flexible work hours. One of the greatest things about being your own boss is that you can choose a schedule that works for you and it really doesn't matter if that doesn't look like anybody else's workday.
working from home doesn't mean you have to do all the household chores
If you live with your partner and they work more traditional work hours something that I've found very easy to fall into doing is all of the household chores. And obviously, it's completely different depending what the dynamic is like in your relationship [no-one is perfect or right]. It's so easy to do and I find it the easiest way to procrastinate what I actually need to do. But just because you're at home doesn't mean that you have to do everything because it's there and you can because you still have work to do and no-ones work is more important. Striking some sort of balance that works for you is something I've found so important.
you still need a break
A nasty habit that I first fell into when I started working for myself is that I wouldn't stop. I figured well I work from home and I'm so incredibly lucky to do this and I love what I do so obviously I don't need a break. And you can do that for a little while but in the long run, all it ends up doing is resulting in a huge soul-crushing burn out that can take a while to rectify itself. Breaks are important no matter what you do because life isn't just about working or appearing to be working so you have the approval of complete strangers. Having time off to do all the other things you enjoy in life is just as important as working. And without fail when you do take time away you're always left feeling raring to go and inspired to get stuck back in.
Do you have any tips for working from home?