6 Ways to Make Working from Home Work for You
Working from home may sound like a dream, but for many people, going from an office culture to working on their own can be a hard transition. With that in mind, below are six ways that you can make working from home work for you. Read over these tips and start to incorporate them into your work habits so that you can figure out a routine that works for you.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
Put simply, in order to stay productive when you’re working from home, you need to feel like you’re going to work. Otherwise, it’s too easy to allow yourself to give into distractions like TV shows or any chores that still need to be done. To that end, one way to make yourself feel as though you’re heading into an office is to create a dedicated workspace.
If you can, take the time to set up an office space in your home. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. In most cases, a simple desk or table will do. It’s more about getting yourself into the mindset that, when you sit down in that space, you’re ready to commit yourself to any work that needs to be done.
2. Write out a to-do list for each day
Many people who work from home struggle with learning how to manage their time on their own. While there is a little bit of a learning curve to that, you can help yourself get over the hump faster by creating a to-do list to follow each day.
Ideally, you’ll want this to be the first thing that you do in the morning. Alternatively, if you’d feel better planning for the next day, make the last thing you do before you shut down for the evening. Either way, it assures that there’s no guesswork about what you have planned for the day and, once you’re done writing the list, you can get off to a quick start.
3. Schedule time to take care of “odds-and-ends” tasks
Often, when people are in charge of setting their own schedule, they tend to think in terms of the big tasks that they have to take care of on any given day. These tasks could be meetings with clients, writing up contracts, or generating marketing materials.
However, the reality is that there are also smaller, ancillary tasks that need to be handled as well. While they may not lead directly to a paycheck, they’re often just as important as the main items on your to-do list and, if you don’t make time for them, they could get left out of your schedule entirely.
While these smaller tasks that you need to handle will likely vary on a daily basis, they could include things like following up with leads, answering emails, or balancing your accounts. Ideally, you’ll want to leave at least an hour in your schedule every day to follow up with these tasks.
4. Maintain consistent hours
With that in mind, you’ll also want to make sure that you maintain consistent work hours, just like you would if you were working a regular office job. Often, when you work from home and you don’t have a defined schedule to follow, it can be all-too-easy to put off getting out of bed in the morning or to end up sending out emails late into the night.
However, procrastination can be avoided if you make an effort to set consistent hours. Keep in mind that “consistent hours” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “nine to five”. Instead, it’s more about finding a schedule that works for you and then setting firm boundaries around it so that you can have a good work-life balance.
5. Take regular breaks
That said, while maintaining regular hours is important, it’s also crucial to remember to take regular breaks. Without co-workers to chat with or a defined lunch hour, you may find yourself sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end, which is neither sustainable long-term nor healthy.
Instead, make it a point to step away from your work environment every so often. Whether you make it a point to eat your meals at the kitchen table or to take your dog for a walk once a day, it’s best to build these events into your schedule ahead of time.
That way, you’ll be more likely to follow through with taking them and you’ll know that, as long as you stick to your schedule, you’ll still have enough time to get your work done for the day.
6. Enjoy the perks
Lastly, there’s no denying that working from home comes with its own set of perks and there’s no harm in enjoying them. If you’re the type of person who enjoys elaborate, home-cooked meals, go ahead and build time for making them into your day. If you like having the freedom to work in your pajamas, there’s no harm in doing so, as long as you’re still motivated to get your work done.
Part of the joy in working from home is being able to work in a way that makes the most sense to you. Take the time to figure out what works for you and then build your routine around those silver linings.