Are you wondering how you can stay more focused when you work from home? Whether you’ve decided to work from home every day of the week, or just a few, having a neat environment around you is of high importance. And I know because I’ve spent hours and hours working from home, either while studying or while not affording renting a studio for my business (you can read my previous post about my workspace in Greece here). And boy it was challenging sometimes. You know, being able to wear your yoga pants all day is not always the best. I know however that if I learned something from all this, is how to f***ing stay productive and efficient while working from home. And here’s my takeaway:
Follow ‘the bedroom’ rule
What is the bedroom rule, you ask? It’s the rule that in order to have a long and fulfilling night’s sleep, you must keep the bedroom for only two activities. Namely intimate activities and sleeping, of course. This means no TV’s to watch movies, and no taking your paperwork to bed with you.
The reason is so that space remains sacred; you only relate being in the room to the proper activities, and nothing more. Well, the same rule should be applied to the room or space from which you work at home. Keep it solely for working. No browsing the web listlessly, no novels or movies. Keep the space sacred for work. The benefit is two-fold. Firstly, your brain will know it is supposed to be working when you’re in there. Secondly, you don’t get sick of the space because you’re spending too much time in there.
Set your rules
Having your own rules about working from home, like the one above, are all well and good. But what about rules for everyone else? If you live other people they need to know the guidelines. These might be things likes; don’t disturb me between 9 am and 11 am every weekday, unless it’s urgent. Or; no using my desk for random activities.
But even if you live by yourself, setting rules about your workspace is the most important thing. What I did and hasn’t served me very well in terms of productivity is that I was always having lunch on my desk while watching “How I Met your Mother”. You see where’s the problem, right? If not, let me elaborate.
Don’t mix activities because then at the end of the day you won’t be able to remember whether you had a productive day or not. If you want to watch an episode of anything while eating, go to the kitchen, your living room, you name it, but get the heck away from your desk 🙂
Make a schedule and stick to it
When you work from home, you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. Not literally at least! Maybe just via email. You also don’t have colleagues to cheer you along, or to provide light relief after finishing a hefty mornings work. This means you have to maintain your own discipline to get things done. You can do this by keeping schedules, but being sure you stick to them. A monthly calendar 2016 is a good starting point. Also have weekly planners so you can divvy up your jobs even more clearly and in a more detailed manner. Be sure to keep both up-to-date. Calendars and planners without info and deadlines in them are about as useful as no calendars or planners at all.
What I do is that I have a physical calendar that I always keep with me and then once every a couple of days I go through my digital calendar too and check whether they are in line. That helps me a lot because I don’t feel constantly depended on my phone to check my appointments or to-do lists.
Keep your desk & desktop tidy
A tidy desk equals a tidy mind, right? Right! Keep your workspace as clean and tidy as you would if it were being inspected every day! That means no clutter, no mess, and whittling down the items you actually need close at hand.
If you are a designer, let alone a crafter, like me then probably you will create messes pretty much all the time. And I know this is part of the fun. But working from home means that when you “leave” work you stay there. Which literally means that you need to deal with your mess 24/7. No good.
So do yourself a favor and clean up after you. 🙂
Now that we addressed the perks of having a tidy desk let’s talk about your desktop? Your computer or laptop’s desktop that is. If you have your files and documents all over the place, it can really slow you down. It is also a sure-fire way for important things to get accidentally lost, or permanently deleted. Keeping everything into neat and tidy folders will also mean you don’t have to waste time looking for it when you come to need it. On the topic of important documents, make sure they can be accessed online, so you can continue working when traveling or away from home.
Make it cozy
For me that’s by far the most important thing. That has literally saved me at times where I was feeling completely lost and uninspired. Personally I feel amazing in places with natural light, nice plants of fresh flowers and coffee 🙂 So what I do is that I do my best at making my working space as close to that as possible. You might not have always natural light pouring in from the window. Especially if you work long hours and the sun is not up anymore. But you can always take care of all the small details that will make you feel more comfortable while working. Having your favorite mug next to you, good music, some nice candles and fresh flowers and boom!
So what are your tricks to keep you productive while working from home? Tell me all the secrets!