Working from home sounds like a dream-come-true for many of us, but it has some drawbacks. Maintaining a positive work-home-life balance can be challenging at times. Home responsibilities can distract from work. It can be challenging at times to hold yourself accountable to work. However, there are many perks to working from home: no commute, casual dress-code, and make-your-own schedule.
I've been working from home (and sometimes on the road) for more than 5 years now and there are some clear steps I've taken to stay successful!
1. Create a dedicated workspace.
Just like having a dedicated yoga space is important to a successful yoga practice, creating and maintaining a dedicated workspace is critical to making work-from-home work for you.
- Have a room or dedicated section of your house that is just your office.
- Keep the area clean and have all your office supplies handy.
- Find a comfy, ergonomic chair.
- Set up a large monitor to work from - it'll will be much better than working off of a small 11-in laptop screen.
- Have a backup system for your computer. When I plug my laptop into my large monitor, it also automatically connects to my external hard drive, backs up my files, and allows access to the entire selection of my work files.
2. Establish your work schedule and be clear with your family about what this means.
This probably one of the biggest challenges of working from home: non-work related interruptions.
- Set clear work hours and let your family, friends, and neighbors know that during these hours they should treat you like they would if you were at work in an office.
- It will be your responsibility to gently remind people that even though you are at home, you are still working.
3. Set time limits for tasks and stick to them!
Organize your work day based on what needs to get done. It's easy to get lost in a task and then let the whole day fade away. I like to block out sections on my calendar for certain tasks and set reminders when it's time to move on. This creates a little pressure to get work done and move on to the next task.
- I schedule blocks of time on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for Skype calls with clients and the other days are blocked for design and editing work. On days with Skype calls, I dress more professionally and do my hair and makeup.
- Set very clear time limits for social media and avoid perusing your personal accounts! This is one of the biggest time sucks - not just when working at home! Don't let yourself fall into this hole.
- Shutting off your phone and closing email while working on tasks with clear deadlines will keep you from getting distracted.
4. Treat your home office like you would a regular office.
Keep your space clean and comfortable. Invest in organizational equipment, printers, and other office supplies. It can be super distracting to have to rummage around your house to find what you need.
- Decorate your space like you would an office. Add plants and flowers to bring life into your space.
- My workspace is surrounded by windows. I find the natural light energizing!
- Adding artwork to your walls will also create a space you enjoy spending time in.
- Don't eat at your desk! Drinking coffee, tea, water, or a smoothie is fine, but avoid eating your lunch in front of your screen and never when you are on a call... which brings us to...
5. Schedule breaks, workouts, and lunch meetings and stay committed to them.
Working from home has many perks, but it can also be a bit lonely. Scheduling time away will break up any monotony that develops. Treat your workday like you would at an office. If you're working a 6-8 hour day, then give yourself a morning and afternoon break (10-15 mins) and a lunch break (45-60 minutes). Put these on your schedule so you know when to go!
- Schedule 10-15 minute breaks to go for a walk or practice yoga
- Schedule a workout session during off-times
- Plan to meet with clients, friends or family for lunch