With COVID-19, so many people now find themselves working at home when they haven't before. As someone who has worked from home the past 8 years, I wanted to share my top 3 work from home tips. Some people think working from home is so appealing, but the struggle to stay focused is real!
For the first couple of years that I worked from home, I never felt like I had time off. I was working all sorts of hours during the day, night, and weekends.
Then there were the days when I felt like I never got anything done. Distractions all over the place, even without anyone home. Dishes or laundry to do, windows to clean, etc.
These are my top 3 tips to productivity when working from home:
- Get dressed every day. Having my hair and makeup done, a nice outfit and accessories on – it starts the day off right. No working while wearing pajamas or athleisure! And definitely don't go pantsless or bra-less: inevitably you'll have to answer the door for something or take your dog out and that is just embarrassing.
The act of getting ready for the day sets the right mindset that there are things to be done. It also helps provide the first step in providing structure around your workday. If my concentration is off or energy is low at my desk, I'll take it a step further and put on heels when I'm seated. I know it sounds strange, but having shoes on (even though I don't usually wear shoes in the house) creates a little more formality and less comfort. I sit up straighter and don't feel like I can ever settle into a super comfy position at my desk.
- Have a dedicated workspace. This doesn't have to be a dedicated home office, it could be a corner of your kitchen table. In any case, have a place you know that is designated for work. This does not include your sofa or bed! It's super tempting to grab your laptop and slide under a blanket, but the lines between work and relaxing at home quickly become blurred. Once you can associate a certain spot with work, it's easier to get into a more focused, work-oriented mindset.
- Eat lunch. For years, this evaded me. I would work straight through lunch and then 4 pm would hit and I would be next-level hangry. Now, I set an alarm every day to eat, and have it blocked on my calendar. With this, having easy-to-grab meals is critical. If you're working and realize you need to bake chicken or run out to get something, it's easier to skip it altogether. If you don't want to run out every day for lunch, you can either make meals ahead (my favorite make-ahead meal is this slow cooker vegetarian chili) or have meal delivery. Since January I've been on the 4-meal weekly delivery from Freshly and it's made a world of difference. Everything is super tasty, already cooked, and I heat it up directly from the refridgerator. It's also perfect for me as I'm gluten-free and every single one of their meals is GF. (This is not sponsored, I just really appreciate quick access to fresh and tasty GF food for lunch every day!)
I also listen to music during part of the day, but it can't be my regular jams because I get distracted! This is the playlist I'm currently listening to on repeat.
If you want to see 8 lessons from 8 years of full-time self-employment, I have a post over on my business site.