There was a time when working from home was merely a dream for me, but oh was it a vivid one! I’d sleep in, then I’d lounge around in my jammies with the television playing in the background while I worked a little bit here and there. I’d wrap up my day around 2 or 3 o’clock so that I could run to the bank to cash my big fat paychecks and life would be amazing.
Yeah. That’s not at all what working from home looks like in the real world.
I’ve been working out of my home for over 2 years now and there’s one thing I’ve learned: it’s not for everyone. It’s challenging. I honestly believe there are some people who just can’t do it and be productive and successful, at least not without adhering to a few basic rules.
I’ve put together a list of 5 tips for working from home. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll become filthy rich or even be a little bit successful, but those aren’t even possibilities unless you can discipline yourself to these simple steps:
- Get up early and get dressed each morning. Yes, you’re working from home and maybe you’re even setting your own schedule, to a degree – although any time we work for others, our schedule isn’t entirely our own. Maybe no one except the dog sees you all day long, so you think it doesn’t matter if you’re in pajamas or old sweats. But I promise you – getting into the routine of waking up, showering, getting dressed, and eating breakfast before you sit down at your desk will get your day off to a good start.
- Create a defined home office space. Even if you don’t have an entire room to designate as your work at home space, you need an area that’s all yours, even if it’s just for the period of time that defines your work day. A dining room table, guest room, wherever you can set up your computer or other tools of the tradeand have a degree of privacy will work. This is especially important if there are children or others in the house during the day when you’re working – teach them to respect the boundaries of your workspace.
- Take breaks throughout the day. It might feel like you don’t have time to step away from your desk, even for a few minutes, but your productivity depends on it. Studies have shown that when we take time away from our work station throughout the day, it relaxes us, gives our brains a mini break, and allows us to be more productive and focused when we sit back down at the desk. For me, I find that even 5 minutes spent taking the dog outside to potty is good because I get fresh air, sunshine, doggie lovin’, and a little change of scenery.
- Don’t become a hermit. It’s important to have a support system, even when you’re working from home. Take a few minutes each day to chat with others who do the same kind of work you do, or even a friend or relative. Even though you’re working at home, it isn’t healthy to isolate yourself from the rest of the world.
- Set – and keep – regular office hours. This is as good for you as it is your customers. Know that every day you’ll be working from 9 to 5 (or whatever schedule you set), and stick to it. When 5 o’clock comes, it’s time to close up shop for the rest of the day. When you work from home, it’s easy to think, “Just one more hour”, but before you know it, time gets away from you and it’s dark outside and you’ve missed dinner. Getting away from the desk is important so that you give yourself a break and a chance to unwind. You can get back to it all tomorrow.
These are just a few of my tips for finding success in working from home.
Do you have other ideas? I’d love for you to share them below in a comment! You never know, you just might help someone else!