I’m sure that like myself, many of you out there are working from home right now, and if I’m honest it’s something I used to struggle with. As much as I used to tell people how goals it was to be able to roll out of bed and hustle all the way to the bank without having to so much as put a pair of pants on, in reality the truth was that I wasn’t getting as much done as I should have been, because a) there was always something else that needed doing and b) there were no fixed routines or work colleagues to keep me on track. So – if, like me, you work from home and want to know how *not* to spend more time doing piles of washing and ironing than you do at your desk or – ahem – refresh your twitter and insta feeds every 7.8 seconds whilst watching so many Pretty Little Liars episodes that Netlix looks at you in disbelief and asks if you really want to continue watching, read on for five top tips to make working from home work for you. I gotcha honey bee, I gotcha.
1. Have a designated work space
Okay so although there might be one or two days in a month – yes period I’m looking at you – where I’ll stay in my pjs all day and work from my bed or the sofa, most of the time I really do like to have a designated work space. I find this helps me to separate my work life from my home life and minimises distractions – out of sight out of mind and all that.
2. Work set hours
I know this is easier said than done but it has honestly changed my life in more ways than one. Trust me girl, I *know* how tempting it is to turn off your alarm when you have nowhere to be and tell yourself that if you have a little lie in now you’ll work into the evening instead, but I also know that each and every time I do that I’m feeling HELLA guilty when by midday I’ve achieved, well, nothing and even more guilty that I’ll have to break the news to my other half that there’ll be no date night this Wednesday after all because I’m a lazy ass bitch who can’t get out of bed in the morning. I find that if I make sure my bum is in my seat by 9am and only break for lunch, the loo, or a cup of tea, I can close the office door at 5pm and not feel a single oz of guilt. None. Nope. Nada.
3. Get your ass out the house
Unless you work on a desktop which makes this one impossible, mix up your workspace! Although I have a home office and 9 times out of 10 I work in it as it helps me to compartmentalise that part of my life, if I’m feeling uninspired I’ll take my Macbook into Starbucks. I find that working from home can get a bit cabin fever-ish sometimes, and being surrounded by people going about their day really encourages me to get a move on with mine.
It’s also good to put work to one side and go for a walk from time-to-time. My personal favourite place to go to is the beach, so I’m really lucky that I live near the coast. A walk along the beach really helps me to clear my head when I can’t think straight and there’s something about dipping your toes in the sea (yes even if it’s as bitter cold where you are at this time of year as it is in the North East of England) that puts things into perspective when it all gets a bit much.
4. Set realistic goals
When I first started working from home I’d end my day feeling underwhelmed at how much I’d achieved, and it took me almost a year to realise that it wasn’t because I wasn’t being productive, but was because my ideas of productivity were unrealistic. Rather than setting myself short-term goals such as write 500 words and proof and edit what was written yesterday I’d have one long-term goal with no clear deadline, so by the end of the day if I hadn’t written the whole of chapter 5 or travelled to Santorini and back to take 703 new photos for Instagram I’d feel like a failure. Now I set myself a deadline for a long-term goal and break it down into a number of smaller, achievable daily tasks. This means that at the end of every day I feel accomplished, which works wonders for your confidence let me tell you. I will point out however that as much as these tasks should be achievable they should also challenge you. ‘See if I can eat a whole packet of Oreo’s as I stalk my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend’s best friend’s brother’s cat on Facebook’ doesn’t constitute a meaningful morning of work, funnily enough!
5. Treat yo self
One way I keep myself going when the going gets tough is by treating myself. Whether that be to 5-10 minutes to enjoy a cup of gingerbread flavoured green tea (which is BAE, btw) as I catch up with emails between tasks or an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians if I’ve ticked off a task that was a proper pain in the backside – I find it really motivating to have something to look forward to as I’m working. It also breaks up the day a bit, which can only be a good thing. When the going gets tough, the tough get snacking!
SO – those are my five top tips to make working from home work for me (both for my full time job and my part time blogging job – you can find my personal blog here). How do you make working from home work for you? Let me know in the comments below!