I’ve been working from home for nearly four years and have learned a thing or two about staying on track even when the couch beckons.
Working from home as a student gave me the freedom to clock hours in between classes and have my weekends free. But it also solidified my independence and work ethic because I was forced to rely on myself to complete my to-do list every day.
In an office, you have peers that can keep you accountable, but when you’re home it’s so tempting to check your facebook or zone out for a bit becaus no one is looking over your shoulder. The thing about working from home is that you are getting paid to work the same way you would if you were in an office. Sometimes staying focused is really difficult, but you need to learn the tricks that help you stay on task.
01 | Start your day right
It might sound fun to wake up at 8:50 a.m., roll out of bed and log on for work, but this habit will not help you in the long run. For me, the best part of working from home is the lack of commute every day, so I try to use my mornings wisely.
I would suggest getting out of bed at the same time you would if you had to commute to work in the morning. Set your alarm for 7:00 a.m. and start your day right! I like to get up, do some yoga, then get dressed and eat my breakfast while checking twitter and instagram. By the time 9:00 a.m. rolls around, I’m wide awake and ready to work.
02 | Pajamas vs. loungewear
I love wearing anything cozy. I’d choose oversized t-shirts and comfy joggers any day over most articles of clothing (hence why I’m not a fashion blogger). When I say that you should actually get dressed in the morning, I really just mean change out of your sleeping clothes.
To create some boundaries in my life, I try to keep my pj’s and loungewear as separate wardrobes. My “work”
wardrobe loungewear consists of soft t-shirts, leggings, and stretchy jeans so that if I need to leave the house at any time I look presentable, but I’m still comfy.
03 | Make your bed
I love my bed. It’s so cozy and warm and sometimes it’s all too tempting to hop in with my laptop. But if I make my bed in the morning, I’m not as tempted to hop in when the afternoon plateau hits because I don’t want to mess it up. Plus, it adds an extra productive task to the morning and makes my apartment look a lot nicer!
04 | Create a designated workspace
Even though our apartment is tiny, having a desk was a huge priority for me. I needed a designated space where I could plop down with my laptop and organize all the supplies I need. When I sit at my desk, my brain automatically goes into work mode, and at the end of the day, it’s nice to close my laptop and walk away from my workspace. It’s all about creating zones in your home!
05 | Take a lunch break
My favourite time of day! At around 12:30, I close my laptop and wander over to my kitchen for a half-hour break. I used to just warm something up in the microwave and eat it at my desk, but now I take the time to make something healthy to eat and sit at the kitchen table. No one can sit for hours at a time and stay focused. I get really restless and always feel like my focus slips away around mid-day. This half-hour is a crucial little piece of me-time!
06 | Leave the house once a day
I’m still working on this one. Now that I’m not in school, and I’m in a brand new city, I need new reasons to get out of the house. Somedays, I sit at home working all day and then spend the evening hanging out in the living room with Adam and never leave the house. This is not healthy and it’s something I’m working on! I want to get into the habit of going for a walk in the evenings or maybe take a yoga class so I can make some friends in the city. My goal this year — and this might sound pitiful to some — is to get out every single day.
07 | Take care of your body
Save your back people! At an office, you’re provided with an ergonomic chair, a proper monitor and whatever else you need to stay comfortable. Sitting all day is hard on your body, so make sure you have a comfortable and supportive chair, a mouse and if you can get your hands on one, a monitor so you’re not looking down at your laptop screen. While you’re at it, keep a jug of water close by and hydrate! Drinking water through the day will also force you get up periodically — you know what I’m saying?
Working from home is a blessing and a curse. It’s wonderfully liberating and the independence you gain from relying on yourself is incredible. But it can also be lonely if you’re not taking the time to take care of yourself and socializing in person.
What are your tips for working from home?