Every once in a while, you get the opportunity (or are forced into by circumstances out of your control) to work from home. Whether you’re “working from home” (wink!), or you legitimately have work to get done, I’ve found these tips to be pretty useful for creating an optimal work-space for yourself in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how to work at home… like a boss! (Optional: Play “Bossy” by Kelis in the background whilst reading).
1. Suit up
Barney Stinson had it (mostly) right. I’m not saying you need to bust out the heels or anything (heck in my book, workout clothes count as “getting dressed”), but if you feel like crap, you’re going to perform poorly as well. The girls behind one of my favorite fitness blogs, ToneItUp.com, have a lot to say on that topic. So, before you even sit down to do any work, make sure you’re dressed in something that makes you feel like you’re ready for the day.
2. Create a physical space.
I know how much you love your bed/couch/chaise-lounge, but if you want to create a productive work environment, you need to feel (at least a little bit) like you’re at work. Find a desk or table with an accompanying chair where you can set up camp. Plus, it’s a lot easier to type with your laptop sitting on a flat surface than on your actual lap (better for your neck too).
If you are a habitual work-from-homer, you likely have a space like this already set up for business. Maybe even a desktop monitor? Oh how I envy you…
A poor man’s double-monitor set-up
3. Put all the essentials within reach
The number one enemy of productivity when working from home is distractions. When you’re in the comfort of your own home, there’s nothing stopping you from doing really, whatever the heck you want.
Therefore, take precautions. Put a glass of water on your desk for when you get thirsty. Yes, I know the kitchen is only a few feet away, but if you excuse yourself for water every time you get a hankering, before you know it you’ve wandered into the living room from the kitchen, and you’re staring at the painting above the fireplace deciding that yes… it really is off center. Um… hello? What just happened?
-Have your cell phone within reach, but not necessarily within sight. Looking at it every five minutes will only break down your willpower not to pick it up and check your texts. When I’m at work and really trying to concentrate on a task, I’ll move my phone out of sight, or flip it upside-down so I’m not distracted by a sudden text or notification.
-Have your laptop charged up and/or plugged in. An unexpected battery life shortage will most certainly quash your workflow.
4. Schedule and take breaks
While the goal for working at home is to be productive, this doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) take breaks. In fact, set some sort of break-schedule for yourself. A recent article I read in Fast Company posited that the ideal time to work is 52 minutes, before taking a 17-minute break. Incredibly specific. Why not give it a try? And make sure some of those breaks take you away from your desk. Like, outside, away.
5. Set the mood
A good Spotify playlist can do wonders for getting you “in the zone” to work. Especially when you’re out of your normal work environment, having an audible constant to keep you focused is a huge help. If you like working in coffee shops and enjoy that sort of background noise while working, check out the app Coffitivity-- the soothing, ambient cafe sounds help get your head in the right space to work.
Those are my tips for working from home (thus far)! What are some of your favorite tips for working from home? What would you add to this list? I’m always open to suggestions!
Labels: desk, productivity, work, work from home