This week is a big week for my family! Our two children started school. And that means I have some focused time to reflect on what worked well (and what did not) last year relating to working from home. Here are a few simple tips I have developed from working at home and margins I hope to create for the upcoming year!
1. But first coffee
“I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.” - Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
So this first point is probably unnecessary. But it is true, isn't it? As adults we need a little jump start to our day. Coffee and a walk early in the morning with our dog helps my attention and focus.
If you are job hunting, starting a new blog, or perhaps beginning a new online shop remember to persevere through the slow times. Remember your vision and develop clear goals for yourself. For me: I wanted to work from home so I could be home with my children after school and on holiday. Going back to corporate work did not appeal to me, so I spent a year last year working on brand identity, concept development, and social media. I focused on the areas I wanted to work in and then applied for related jobs.
"Energy and persistence conquer all things." -Benjamin Franklin
3. Healthy Breaks
I am not going to tell you you need to take a shower at 7am every morning. Maybe that works for you, and if it does--great! But for me I prefer to work hard first thing and take a break later in the morning. I do think it is really healthy to take a lunch break. That sounds obvious, but when you are hyper-focused on computer tasks it is easy to forget or just fix a pb&j. Sit outside, take a walk, or read a book for 30 minutes.
4. Don't Multitask...Too Much
For me doing household chores in the middle of the day just does not work. I might throw in a load of laundry at lunch (see point 3), but for me it is important to prioritize my time and focus on work tasks during work time. Laundry and dishes can wait until 4pm or 7pm or...well, they can pile up. (okay, so maybe I am not an expert on this!)
And it is good to limit social media and email time. Too much staring at social media can cause jealousy and comparison and lower your work drive. Find your best creative times (mine is in the morning) and leave emails + social media for later in the afternoon. More ideas here via Modern Mrs. Darcy.
5. Schedule Schedule Schedule
If you are looking at a whole day's worth of time (for me it is 8am-3pm, with a little time for social media+emails in the evening) it can feel daunting. Break the day up into smaller chunks. I have a large white board for "big" concept ideas, my google calendar for meetings+deadlines, and a just purchased a Day Designer (affiliate link) to schedule out my hours.
I listened to a hope*ology podcast last week that was encouraging to me as a work from home mom. They talked about protecting your working times: and for me that would be my mornings. So this year I plan to schedule less coffees in the morning and a few more lunch dates.
Do you work from home? Have any tips? I would love to hear them!