With the rise of technology and entrepreneurship, more people seem to be working from home than ever before. I've had the experience of working in a corporate office setting, but the majority of my professional career has been spent working from home...and I love every minute of it. It's not always easy to make the switch, though, so here are my five tips for working from home.
1. Dedicate a specific workspace.
Not having a typical office setup is clearly the biggest difference when it comes to working from home. I think it's important to dedicate a space in your home that is just for working because it gives you the structure that an office setting provides. What's great about working from home is that you have the control to create the environment that you're most productive in. If that means creating an actual home office, do that. If it means sitting on the couch with a lap desk, by all means go for it. Remember that there are no rules to working from home, so do whatever helps you be the most productive.
2. Make a list of priorities each day/week.
I'm a huge fan of lists, and they're easily my secret weapon when it comes to successfully working from home. I've found that making a priority list of the top 5-10 things I'd like to get done in the day and/or week is an extremely helpful tool. I chip away at the list one thing at a time, and it helps me to stay on track. If I finish the list early, then I'm done work early. It's a great motivating factor to remain focused until I've finished the important tasks of the day.
3. Stick to a schedule to avoid distractions.
A lot of people fear the idea of working from home because they think it's too distracting. While it's true that the freedom of working from home can cause distractions, I personally find that I get more work done because I'm in control of my schedule, environment, and productivity. It's important to remember that working from home still means you have to...well, work! Decide your hours (for me it's a typical nine to five), get your priority list ready, and don't focus on any home or life tasks until your work day is complete.
4. Dress for success.
No, I'm not saying you should wear a pant suit while working from your living room. But please - change out of your pajamas, will you? For me, just knowing that I look decent makes me much more likely to take my work day seriously. Unless I have a meeting where I have to look professional, my favorite wardrobe for working from home is exercise clothes. They're comfortable, presentable, and automatically give the feeling of accomplishment. It's also a motivating factor to exercise, but we'll save that for another post.
5. Don't forget to take a break.
After working from home for over three years, my biggest struggle now is actually to know when to take a break. I find myself getting caught up in certain projects, and before I know it I've worked 8 hours without even eating lunch! Now I try to take at least 30-60 minutes a day to get outside, run errands, or do something completely unrelated to the computer screen. I've found that that actually lends to me being more productive in the long run.
Do you work from home? What is your most helpful tip for doing so?