when i first moved to Chicago, i wasn’t sure what i wanted to ‘do for a living’, so i accepted an internship at an event planning/restaurant company as a marketing assistant. it was good experience, but the biggest thing i took away from it was that i was not made to work in an office environment. i felt like my creativity was stifled and did not enjoy having to adhere to a set schedule. i didn’t like the monotony of going into the office and doing the same thing every time, so i knew that i had to do something else.
i’ve been fortunate enough to run my own business and work from home. never in a million years did i think that this is what i would be doing, but i’m so glad that i am! working from home is definitely the best environment for me, so i’m hoping to make it happen for as long as i can. it’s been about a year since i’ve been doing it exclusively, so i thought i’d share some things i’ve learned along the way. (some of these things can apply to those of you that work in a different environment, as well.)
have a designated workspace
i can’t even express how important this is! even if i didn’t need a desk for jewelry making, i would want one for my computer and work-related materials to keep them all together and have a place to go to when i need to work. although working from my bed is nice sometimes, i like to have a spot that i keep everything together and can go to when i need to get down to business.
making ‘to do’ lists is essential
part of this is probably just my personality (i like to cross things off), but another part is that i can easily get distracted by other things happening around me and forget to do something. i like to have a running list on my desk with my tasks – it’s just how my brain works. if i don’t write it down, i’ll likely forget.
get other things done first
since i have a totally flexible schedule, i find i’m the least distracted and most productive when i don’t have other things that i need to do. for example, if i know that i have to run to the grocery store or clean the apartment, it’s best for me to do those things before i start working (or on a lunch break) so that i can focus totally on my work.
setup a lunch break
something that has worked well for me is setting up a designated time for a lunch break. on days where i’m going to be sitting at my desk all day, it helps to have a schedule to hold myself accountable to. if i set my lunch for noon to one, then i know how much time i have left to get work done before lunch. it’s nice to have something to look forward to!
curb ‘the munchies’ with water
i don’t know about you, but having my pantry full of food just 20 feet away from me at all times is pretty tempting. i tend to be a snacker, so i’ve had to learn to reign that in a bit since working from home. what helps me a ton is having a glass of water nearby. i’ll add lemon or berries to it to dress it up a bit and will reach for that (instead of chips!) if i feel the need to munch!
set work hours
although i don’t do this, for some people it will be absolutely essential to set work hours. figure out a schedule that is reasonable and will work for you, and stick to it!
keep your weekends work-free
this is probably the thing that i have the hardest time with. since all of my work is within arms reach all the time, i have to mentally shut off my ‘work brain’ on the weekend so that i get a break. obviously, if i need to do work, i will. but if i’m just bored or have some free time on a Saturday, i no longer allow myself to do anything work-related because i want to use that time to relax and rest.
to avoid feeling cooped up all day long, i like to get out and do something every day. whether it be going to Starbucks for an hour or two to work, picking up lunch, or running an errand, i find that my productivity increases after that time of getting out and doing something. take an hour to exercise or use your lunch break to walk around outside!
although there are surely other things that can help productivity for us work-from-home people, these are a few things that i’ve found work well for me! have other tips or ideas? i’d love for you to leave a comment below!