I love love love working from home but much like anything it isn't without its pitfalls. Sometimes when you're surrounded by home comforts, lovable pets, a fridge full of food and a fully loaded Netflix just sat there with nobody to argue over what to watch, it can be more than tempting to have a little break or a little lay down. Before you know it, your working day has rushed past and you've lost hours of working time that can literally cost you dearly.
It's great being your own boss but you really have to be exactly that - a boss. Instead of having someone assigning you tasks, managing your time and prioritising your work for you, these are all down to you and if you don't have some kind of plan, some kind of structure to your work life, you'll struggle to get things done, to source new opportunities and to rule your workload.
It's easy to get motivated and in order to keep it up and convert it into actual productiveness, you just need a little planning. Here's my top 10 tips to be like a boss and get the best out of working from home.
How To Keep Motivated Working From Home
1. Have a routine
Much like any job, working from home works best when you have some kind of routine to your day. With no routine, the day can soon fly by and can mean you are a little unproductive. Factor in times for a break away from the screen, maybe even outdoors. Set alarms to make sure you are up at a reasonable time and don't forget other arrangements (school pick ups etc). Make sure to eat and drink properly to keep your energy levels high and plan your meals to stop the dreaded 'at home grazing'.
2. Create a work space
Having a set place for your work makes you feel more professional, allows you to be far more organised and means that you can separate work and life a little easier. You can also keep your work files and equipment away from children and pets to keep them safe. Having a proper desk to sit at or even better your very own office is perfect. If you're tight on space though, just having a set place even as small as a drawer or box to keep your things is the perfect starting point. There's nothing wrong with setting your laptop up wherever you're most comfortable, just ensure you have a specific place for your work related items to go at the end of the day.
3. Create a schedule
Whether you're a note pad and paper kind of person or spread sheet addict, get creating a schedule for each day. Setting yourself a list of achievable tasks can egg you on to doing a lot more than you would by just winging it as you go along. Without a schedule you may also find yourself getting distracted easier or sucked into things like social media. Roughly draft out your day, prioritise your tasks and group things together such as photo taking that can all be done at once.
4. Get some fresh air
Escaping the house entirely for some fresh air can revitalise you, clear your head and even wake you up a bit which is often needed in a cosy home. Escaping the 'office' is just as important when you work from home as it is in any other work place.
5. Reward yourself
When we have a real life boss we wish for the day that our hard work is finally recognised and more often than not it doesn't really happen in most work places. Not being rewarded or recognised for your ambitiousness or results can be extremely demotivating, ultimately making us dwindle our efforts. The great thing about being our own boss is that we know we are doing great things and can reward ourselves for our greatness as much as we like. You may want to treat yourself to something at the end of the week, a nice lunch out or putting some money aside to save for something special. However you reward yourself it works wonders and motivates us to keep going, striving to achieve even more.
6. Make connections
One downside to working from home is that you are it. You are the boss, the tea lady, the accountant, the writer, the administrator, everything and it can be lonely with nobody to talk to or bounce ideas off of. Whatever your business though, there is bound to be a network of like minded folk in Facebook groups, forums and maybe even locally that you could chat to, to break up the day and gain insight into your working community. Knowing you have someone to send a message to when you need a little support or advice can make a huge difference and make you feel less alone while you work.
7. Minimise distractions
The distractions at home have to be the hardest of all. One quick loo break and you see a pile of washing that needs sorting, the dog shoots you the 'walkies' puppy dog eyes and suddenly your plan for the day is out the window. When you've set your schedule, you need to stick to it. If you were in a stand alone office somewhere you wouldn't nip back to sort the washing, so just like heading out to work, leave it until you're done, or schedule in break times that you can use for these tasks if you wish. Social media is crucial to most businesses, especially home workers, but it's also a massive distraction and soon sucks you in to a pool of cat videos and memes then boom, you're distracted again. Use social media when you need to for work, but otherwise ignore it until you have a break or finish for the day. Don't be tempted to turn on the TV or blast out some tunes unless you know you can 100% be working at your best at the same time. If pets or noise interfere with your working day, see if you can minimise this to get full concentration on the tasks ahead.
8. Set goals
As your own boss you are free to set your own goals. Goals don't have to be huge achievements, you can set yourself daily goals of things you'd like to achieve, weekly goals to focus you through until Friday and so on. Setting goals gives you something to work towards and makes you far more likely to stick to your schedule.
9. Assign time for admin
Sometimes it's easy to let the more mundane tasks slip through the net, only to find they build up and up becoming worse by the day. By assigning set times of the day/week to these tasks you will find them less of a chore and they won't take as long to complete. For example as a blogger I may need to sort dead links, add payments to a spread sheet, sort my inbox or go through post comments. When left to build up, all of these become far more stressful than they need to be and the thought of them gets worse the longer I leave it. Whatever work you do from home, getting these tasks out the way bit by bit saves time and boredom in the long run.
10. Separate life and work
Much like with any job, you want to keep your job separate from your home life. This is easier said than done when you're literally in your own home, but it's not impossible. By doing all the above, by creating that work space, minimising distractions and sticking to a work schedule, you'll find it easier to pack up when your working day is done and move on to home tasks and normal life. Make sure work related bits aren't cluttering your living space to allow you some stress free down time and a break from thinking about your work.
I hope this helps you get the most out of your working day. There's nothing better than being your own boss and although it does take some getting used to, it's so easy to get into a routine, making the most of your time and achieving everything you need/want to.
Do you have any work from home struggles?