Almost 3 years ago exactly I quit my corporate job at Neiman Marcus Direct to blog full time. There were a million and one changes/challenges that came with that transition, and one of the largest ones was…working from home!
Whenever I tell people I work from home, the most common response is: “I could never work from home because I wouldn’t get anything done!” And not to toot my own horn or anything…but I actually thrive working from home! It’s where I am the MOST productive, focused, and comfortable. So today I want to share a few tips with y’all on how to be productive when working from home.
My first tip, and the most important is structure and schedule are key. In my situation, most days are completely open (maybe other than a phone call or webinar here and there). That means from the time I wake up until I go to sleep, I can fill my day however I want to.
When you work from home, you are in charge of creating your structure. Not everyday looks the same for me, but in general…I always wake up around 6am, have my coffee and spend time in the Word, get started on work for an hour or so (waiting for Michael to wake up lol I am a crazy morning person), and then we go to the gym together. I won’t go into detail of what the rest of my day looks like…but the key is having a schedule to fall back on! So, if you work from home…I’d encourage you to figure out what works best for you. Maybe wake up, work out, start work by 9am everyday. And then get into a routine of “emails / phone calls will be my morning project, mid afternoon will be taking photos”, etc. It looks different for everyone but having something (even a vague something) in place is really helpful.
This idea of creating structure is also helpful when household chores might pull you away from work. This next tip is one I like to call time-blocking. For me, every single week day, from about 8am until 6pm my priority is the blog / work. I might throw my laundry in here and there, but if I ever feel the pull to go clean out my closet in the middle of the day, I remind myself…this time is for work. House stuff can happen after 6pm. (There are always of course some exceptions to this! But this is a principle I try and stick to overall).
Speaking of house things though…something else that helps me stay productive when working from home is having a clean workspace. If I have clothes all over the place, I get so distracted and just want to clean everything. Try and get in a routine of cleaning your office/workspace every Sunday and then at the end of every work day so that you don’t have clutter distracting you.
Aaaand speaking of workspace! That’s my next tip. When you’re working from home, try and have a designated spot in your house where you work. This is definitely an area I struggle in, and it doesn’t effect my productivity…but makes it more difficult for me to ‘turn off’ at the end of the day. If my laptop is sitting right there on the couch with me, or at the kitchen table, it just tempts me to just keep working. So, for multiple reasons it’s really healthy to have a designated office or workspace in your house. It helps you stay productive, and helps you know when it’s time to shut it down!
Something else that helps me stay productive is taking 1-3 breaks throughout the day to get outside. I will leave my phone inside and take Beau for a quick walk around the neighborhood. It is so important to get your eyes away from a screen for a while and get that blood flowing again. Taking these ‘outdoor breaks’ also helps me move past any writer’s block and can also bring new ideas to mind! I know some people also like to watch a 30-min show to take a break which could help you unwind for a bit. Personally though I need to break from screens!
Lastly (this tip is simple but SO helpful), to-do lists are GOLD. Most days, I have so many things to do I don’t even know where to start…so I sit down in the morning and write out the most important things I need to get done that day (and make sure it’s realistic that I can accomplish those in a day). To-do lists are also helpful if you’re in a slower season of work because it forces you to be proactive with your job. What tasks can I accomplish today to grow my business? Who could I reach out to/network with? What tutorials can I watch today? Writing those things down will lead to putting those ideas into action.
These are just a few tips that have helped me stay productive when working from home. If any of you guys work from home though and have other helpful ideas…I would love to hear them in the comments below! Thank you for reading!