My Top Tips On Working From Home
I've been working from home for little over a year now and it's safe to say I've had my fair share of productive days and unproductive days. With summer around the corner I find myself thinking about all the great things I'll do in the sun... I start to wonder if I really can sit outside and work, and if sunbathing at lunchtime is actually a thing when you don't have an office and the only time schedule you have is self imposed... mostly I think the answer is no, no I can't do all those lovely things all the time, but luckily I can some of the time.
I've had days where I haven't left the sofa, still in pyjamas surrounded by the remnants of whatever weird lunch I threw together. Days where I've felt I'm going stir crazy because I haven't spoken to anyone other then my pets, start up life can be lonely and at times frustrating, something I feel the "hustle hard" accounts on Instagram don't really show.
So in the spirit of sharing with my fellow entrepreneurs, startup lifers, girl bosses etc, I've put together a list of my top tips on working from home, staying productive, and not going stir crazy in the process.
- Get Dressed. Yes this seems like a pretty basic tip, but trust me, when it's the dead of winter and your pyjamas are oh so warm and snuggly there is nothing more appealing then dragging your butt from your bed to the sofa, throwing a blanket over yourself and working from there. But this is not a good way to start the day. By actually getting up, washed, make up on, hair brushed, an outfit picked, you're making a conscious effort to "go to work" even if, going to work is walking to your kitchen table with a laptop and cup of coffee.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. Again, it's a simple thing, but working from home can be pretty sedentary. You have no reason to go out, everything nowadays can be delivered, only you know if your jeans are feeling a little snug... and besides no one will see you if you stay in your trackiebums all day... right? Wrong. It's important to keep moving, even if it's a quick jog in the evening or a blast through Kayla Itsenses BBG. I find that by trying to exercise at least four times per week my mind feels less foggy and my producitivy goes up.
- Set yourself "working office hours." Running your own company, it's easy to go down the rabbit hole of... "this entrepreneur said they didn't sleep for six months... I must do the same in order to be successful!" In honesty, since when is burning out, running on caffeine and little else a road that leads to your most productive self? And who, I ask, is actually going to read, respond and even care that you sent them an email at 1:45am on a Saturday morning? Sure there will be times when overtime is needed, like in every job, but it's important to have some structure in your life, a set time in the day when you know this is your time to sit down and get shit done. By having office hours you're also making sure you don't slack off... because no one is going to check on you to make sure you're working it's up to you to impose some rules.
- Take lunch. Again, there will be times that require you to sit at your computer and eat while you work, but when you have the opportunity to get up from your desk for an hour/30 mins and prepare yourself a healthy and filling lunch make sure to take it! You'll thank yourself later when you're pushing through the afternoon slump.
- Create a designated work space... that is not your bed or sofa. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a separate room they can transform into their dream office, but even if it's making sure you sit up at your kitchen table, by having a place to go that is just for working it makes it easier to switch off when your "working day" is over. Plus it's terrible for your neck and back to just slouch in your bed all day.
- Healthy food, and lots of it. This is a no brainer, but when no one is around to silently judge your penchant for scoffing an entire packet of biscuits in one sitting, it's much easier to do. So don't keep junk food in the house, make it something you have to physically go and search for, and instead have healthy snacks on hand to stave off any afternoon cravings.
- Set a to do list each morning and date it. To do lists help me from going stir crazy, and by prioritising just what it is I have to do I find myself achieving a lot more in the day then if I just wing it.
- Enjoy your flexibility! Imagine, it's a beautiful sunny day (we don't get many in London) you've powered through your to-do list, and there's only a few things left to do... but you want to get out, enjoy the sun, maybe run some errands or go for a walk. You are the master of your own time, so long as the work gets done it doesn't matter if you slope off for an afternoon once in a blue moon.
- Socialise. This is just for your own sanity more then anything else. Not working in an office environment means you often miss out on the impromptu afterwork drinks and office banter, so by making the effort to schedule in time with friends, or on your hobbies you're making sure you're not accidentally isolating yourself. I found that by joining a members club and attending their events, talks and sometimes working from there during the day has really helped with keeping me from going stir crazy... as much as I love spending time with my dogs, human interaction is very important!