Ok so I’m not really a profesh. In fact I’ve only been working from home for a couple of months now. But I WISH that when I had started, someone had given me these tips so I hope that this helps someone else.
1. Create a schedule. I start working by 9am or earlier every morning and stop working by 7pm every night. Sometimes I start and end earlier but this is the general gist of it. I also force myself to take a lunch break, otherwise I find that I can work straight through the day without leaving my computer and then I want to pull my hair out.
2. Get dressed every day. My first day of working at home I sat at my desk in yoga pants and a sweatshirt and kept smiling at how nice it was to not have to dress up for anyone. Then the second day came around and I started to feel gross and grimy and lazy. When I get dressed and put on a touch of make up, I feel more professional and actually accomplish more.
3. Change it up. If I sit at my home office all day every day, I feel like the walls are starting to cave in. Maybe this is a problem for New Yorkers in small apartments only but sometimes I’ll go to the coffee shop down the street, sometimes I’ll hit up the public library, and sometimes I do sit at my home desk. It’s nice to have a change of pace once in a while.
4. Keep to-do lists. Every night I make a list of what I have to accomplish the next day. That way when I’m sitting at my computer wondering what the hell I’m supposed to be working on, I look back to the list. I also keep a big picture list of things I want to do and if my to-do list dwindles, I pull from that. If you don’t complete something on the list, move it to the next day and add a star so you know it’s been moved. Once something gets up to 5 or 6 stars, I know I just have to hunker down and get ‘er done!
5. Go to every event, meeting, lunch, or meet up that you possibly can. My friend and business mentor, Adina, founder of SW Basics of Brooklyn told me this one. She taught me to be everywhere and meet with as many people as possible. You never know who could be the one person that will take you to the next level. I find now that I have an event or meeting at least twice/day.
6. Spend time with other people who work from home. I am becoming an entrepreneur so I spend time with other entrepreneurs whether that means lunch breaks, tea breaks, brainstorm sessions, or talking out our issues, it is so helpful to do this. Otherwise I feel like my problems are all me. Now I know that everyone faces the same challenges!
7. Plan your meals ahead of time. If I’m sitting at home working and all of a sudden it’s 1:30 and I’m starving, I tend to go out and buy something (expensive) or gravitate towards something quick and dirty (unhealthy). Planning my meals for the week or even the night before solves that problem. I generally make a big batch of quinoa on a Sunday night and then eat it in different ways all week. Sometimes with cooked kale, sometimes in a spinach salad, etc.
8. Schedule exercise into your day. I always thought working from home would be amazing because I could work out like ALL THE TIME! Well I get so busy and involved in my own stuff that I find myself forgetting. Now I have it scheduled into my day and on my to-do list (see #4) so it actually happens.
9. Know that bad days are ok. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out and scream and cry and have no idea what I’m doing. That’s ok. You are not the only one going through it. There are good days and there are bad days. On the bad ones, complete one thing that will make you feel good whether it’s an email to a friend/business partner, setting up your social media for the next day, or organizing your workspace. Feeling like you accomplished something on a bad day helps me a lot.
10. Feel amazing because you don’t have to deal with bitchy coworkers, office politics, someone stealing your lunch from the fridge, or a bossy boss!