How To Stay Focused When You Work From Home

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!

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Develop a Solid Brand Identity in 5 Steps & Without Breaking the Bank

Making a decision on becoming serious about your creative hobby by opening a shop might sound extremely exciting, but you know that it can be extremely daunting as well. Many people, including me when I started, tend to believe that everything needs to be perfect before launching your shop. Guys, I’m telling ya…they don’t. Oh, wait….ABSOLUTELY, they don’t. Is that clear enough? 

Almost a year ago I gave an interview and when they asked me about how I got at this point in my career I said “Luck and mistakes”. And that’s it. Amazing? When I started, two years ago, I didn’t even know what an infopreneur is, let alone I thought of searching on “How to Open an Online Shop” on Google. Now that I think about it, I clearly remember having 20 tabs open in my browser, all from other Etsy shops -the ones I admired the most- keeping notes on every little detail I could identify as useful. 

This guide is exactly what you will need – and exactly what I wish I had a couple of years ago – in order to develop your brand quickly, efficiently AND affordably before launching. So, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

BRAND NAME

All businesses need a name. That’s obvious. But, what’s not very obvious to some people is that the name plays a rather small role in the overall success of your brand. Try to remember of your last purchase through a platform such as Etsy, Amazon or Ebay…yeah, you probably don’t remember the name of the shop. You most likely stumbled upon the product, bookmarked it and returned to buy it. I’m not saying that the name should be insignificant to you, pick something you like and you resonate with. 

What we want? simple, short, elegant and easy to pronounce. Think of an anagram of your name, or your pet’s name. Or invent your own word, how cool is that? Don’t spend hours on it though! And you know why? it is also possible that someone else got it first. And when that happens (I really wish you that it doesn’t) you will feel terrible. Guaranteed!

Before launching my shop I already ran myLifebox as a blog without its own domain* (of course someone had already bought it) so I went for my-lifeboxblog.com….how messed up was that? Then I started dreaming of launching my jewelry line under the name myTreasurebox so it would be Life=Lifestyle Blog / Treasure=Jewelry! Wonderful right? I might have spent a whole month on thinking everything through. So you realize that when I saw that the names were taken I was so bummed out. Don’t fall in that trap. The name doesn’t matter. Think a few, check if they already exist and choose the one that doesn’t. Also, please don’t go for numbers or extra letters that don’t make sense, i.e. myLifebox64. Not good 🙂 

* PS: it won’t hurt if you check whether your name is available as a domain too, you’ll soon need a website/blog, don’t you think?

DO I NEED AN AMAZING LOGO ?

Now that’s a hot topic! I’ve seen many of you obsessing over your logo and ,ok, I kind of get it. Been there, done that. But I’m pretty sure that it is really early to either spend money for a fancy logo designed by a professional, or, as a matter of fact care so much. Don’t get me wrong. I really pay attention to the details and I do believe that a nice logo and an overall brand appearance will make the difference. I’m just saying that you don’t have to break the bank to do that. There are dozens of amazing websites out there that will generate a logo for you. Some of them might ask for a minor payment but still, no need to spend a lot. 

And here I will tell you a secret…. GO FOR SIMPLE (again!). 1. many people get frustrated by overdesigned, way too colorful/fancy logos 2. simple logo = more room for your actual products to shine!! 

One of my favorite and most inspirational infopreneurs I know, Regina, highlights the importance of “Staying Scrappy” in your business and I couldn’t agree more. Running a creative business will teach all sorts of new creative skills – logo designing included, at least for now 🙂

By the way: Next week’s post will be all about How to Create your Logo without spending a ton of money, so stay tuned! AND if you download the free worksheet at the end of the post you will earn a great bonus preview of that!

WE ARE VISUAL ANIMALS: the importance of PHOTOS 

Now…if you MUST hire someone, let it be a photographer. I really believe you can do it yourself if you are willing to devote some extra hours to it, but you should definitely have really good photos of your products and there are several reasons for that:

  • when people buy something online they want to be sure that what they’ll get is what they saw on the pictures. Therefore, you should take a good close-up photo of anything that might interest your customers and makes your products unique. You also need to pay attention to the scale/sizes of the items. Of course you know how big they are but a photo can be very confusing, thus you need to find ways to indicate their scale. 
  • it is also a matter of safety for you, because if someone feels fooled when he gets his parcel expecting a huge thing and receiving a tiny thingy instead, he will most likely leave a bad review – and you don’t want that!
  • GOOD PHOTOS WILL DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOU ! I guess you get that. Good photos that are easy on the eye will draw the attention of potential customers, pinners and bloggers. The more likeable the photos the more shareable they are. And you want that! 

But, something you need to understand is that again you don’t need to exaggerate. Don’t go overboard and hire the best photographer, book a studio and a couple of well paid models to do your photo shoot. Of course, when your biz grows enough you’ll do all that. There is a right time for everything. But spending that much money on something that isn’t giving you back is not a key to success. 

KILLER PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS

Hello hello mr. Writer 🙂 Were you good in essays in school? No? bummer! It’s never late tho! OK, kidding. BUT you neeeeed to have good descriptions of your products. Again. Many. Reasons. 

  • safety: as mentioned above, you don’t want to leave any gaps open, misleading your customers. Here you can describe in detail every little detail of your item, making it even more appealing. 
  • SEO SEO SEO: everything on the web need to be SEO friendly. Use your descriptions to do that by adding all the necessary keywords that might a potential customer use in Google Search in order to land on your shop. 
  • people relate to stories. If you have a little behind-the-scenes story of the product to share, then do it! 

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS

I already mentioned the word “details” many times. But the little branding details are what will make your business stand out. Use your imagination to find ways and make people buy from you. What would make someone buy something like my product? What problem am I solving by offering my service? What would make me feel special? Are some of the questions you should answer to yourself about your brand, product or service. 

I know it is a lot to ask but you need to find all the little details that will make you unique and different from similar creative business owners. I will brainstorm with you, OK?

  • add a handwritten thank you note inside the envelope
  • design and use special packaging
  • add a small gift inside the package 
  • offer a discount coupon for their next order 
  • offer customizable products
  • develop a story, share it and help people relate with you! 

People Buy from People. That’s what Personal Branding is all about.

— Braid Creative

This quote sums up all my favorite things about being a Creative Entrepreneur. You have always to remember that behind your brand identity is a person, you, that actually adds value to your business. You are the core of your company and you are the one owes to be seen and credited. Feel free to make mistakes and use your own voice until you figure out what truly reflects your taste and personality. 

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to download your FREE WORKSHEET so you can start working on your Business Branding now 🙂 In essence, it is the absolute mini-guide that will help you through all the aforementioned topics PLUS a great BONUS CHEAT SHEET on how to create your own logo 🙂 yeah yeah! 

GET YOUR FREE WORKSHEET HEREhttps://mylifebox.leadpages.co/leadbox-942.js