Let’s call it like it is: working from home sounds WAY more glamorous than it really is. In fact, if you work from home often, you know how hard it can be to peel away from the life stuff happening in the house and dig into powerful, meaningful work.
I remember the first week I worked from home. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get out of bed, had Grey’s Anatomy on 24/7 and even brought breakfast into bed and ate on a little tray…. Yeah, that didn’t last long because I realized in order to be successful, I actually had to WORK from home. Let’s talk about how you can be more productive working where you live and living where you work. You ready?
Hack #1: Get dressed.
Wait… the queen of yoga pants is saying this? Yeah, I’ll be 110% honest in telling you that I most definitely don’t get ready every day and some days I change out of yesterday’s yoga pants and into another pair BUT there is something to be said about the power of presenting yourself (even if no other humans see you) and just feeling a little more pulled together and professional. You sit up straighter, you show up in bigger ways, and you value yourself a little more. While an occasional PJ day never killed anyone, if you’re finding yourself in sweatpants for the seventh day in a row, I challenge you to hop in the shower, put on some mascara, and pants with a zipper and see what happens.
Hack #2: Create a routine:
I suggest crafting a routine around when you do your best work. If you’re a night thinker, maybe setting an alarm for 7AM isn’t the best for you. It’s important to create a routine just as you would if you had to punch in and out of an office. Routine turns into habit and habit is directly linked to what we are actually accomplishing.
For 5 years I woke up at 7AM every single day, hit the gym, and then got to work. It wasn’t until I hired my naturopath doctor that I dug into that routine and discovered that I was often feeling exhausted the minute I woke up, I loathed my alarm clock, and maybe easing into my morning would be a way to preserve my energy, do better work, and look forward to the routine of the day. I now start work later and work a little later in the evening but just changing it up has eliminated my need for afternoon naps and increased my ability to create.
Hack #3: Set boundaries.
One of the hardest things about working from home is that work is always accessible to you – so is house stuff. I had to put on the blinders – so to speak – when I started working from home. Sure there might be laundry needing to get done but if I were working a 9-5, I wouldn’t be doing laundry over my lunch break and the same should go from home.
Having office hours can really help you define and separate work and life, I try to have a start and end time and it not only allows me to disconnect more but it also puts a fire under my bum to be productive during the day. While it’s easy to open your computer for “just one more email” try to clearly define your schedule and treat your home as an office during the day and your oasis at night.
Hack #4:Create a space you love to work in.
I know, I know, says the girl who worked from her bed for the first year… it’s important to feel inspired when working from home, so creating a space that makes you excited to work is HUGE. Whether you can devote a space inside of your home to an office or you have a little corner where you’ll be working, it’s important to feel comfortable and excited to be there.
It’s tempting to work on the couch or your bed but there’s something magical about sitting at a desk, no TV or interruptions, blasting your favorite tunes and getting it done. When we moved into our home, I was so excited to have an office that I could close the doors on at the end of the night – something I had neglected to create in our first home. Spend a little time making your space yours and setting yourself up for productive working.
Hack #5:Get moving.
When you give yourself breaks from screen time and get fresh air, you get your body moving, the endorphins flowing, and a break from staring at screens all day. Taking that break actually increases your efficiency and helps you do more purposeful work. I love walking my dogs before lunch, doing some sun salutations midday, and making sure that I’m getting in some sort of activity whether it’s CrossFit or yoga or simply a long walk! It’s important to honor those breaks you’d likely be taking if you worked at an office so don’t avoid a true lunch break or some 15-minute time chunks where you get up and move your body!
Well, there you have it: my home workers! Working from home presents a whole new list of challenges that many aren’t prepared for. Be cognizant of the way you’re setting yourself up for success, how you are compartmentalizing work and home life, and what your schedule looks like honoring the times you do your best work and knowing that the power of a shutdown time should inspire you to make your best work in the most productive way while still being able to shut off and enjoy life where you live!