When people hear that I work from home, I typically get one of two reactions. The first, “You work from home? So you don’t actually work then do you?” or the second, “You work from home? How awesome! I bet that is the best thing ever! I am so jealous!”
Both of these reactions are on opposite ends of the spectrum as to what it actually is like to work from home. One of my biggest challenges since starting my business has been trying to stay productive and focused while at home. In the beginning, I would “just do one” load of laundry that would turn in to me cleaning the entire apartment and getting nothing done for my business.
Therefore, after lots of trial and error, I have come up with the best tips on how to stay productive when working from home. I hope that these will help you too!
How to Stay Productive When Working from Home
1. Have a designated desk space.
This does not mean that your designated space can be on the couch in front of the TV. As much as I would love to say that we could all be productive while binge watching Netflix – it just isn’t true. In our apartment, we hardly had any space for a desk so I started working at our kitchen table. However, it just felt strange to me (and uncomfortable so I would end up on the couch).
We ended up finding a tiny (think almost kid size, you can find mine here) desk that could fit in the very corner of our living room. Since I have a desk, I have been able to accomplish so much more! It also helps that when I sit at my desk I know I am working (and so does my husband) so he knows not to bother me.
2. Assign specific times for breaks
This one was a struggle for me to figure out! I went from working in the corporate world where there were set times for breaks (or suggestions on when they should start and end) to working for myself where no one would tell me to take a break. I started out by never taking breaks. I would eat lunch while working and I felt so guilty even when I needed to take our dog Charlie for a walk.
Then I realized that everyone needs a break to avoid burnout so then I found myself taking two-three hour lunches (shame on you Netflix!) Which clearly isn’t going to work either. Now, I give myself 45 minutes for a lunch break and 45 minutes in the afternoon to take Charlie for a walk. Since I have set these “rules” I am able to get back to work, refocus, and get my work done! #Winning
3. Getting ready in the morning
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you should lounge around in your pajamas all day. Get up in the morning and get ready. This doesn’t have to mean putting on a full face of makeup or wearing a dress.
Do whatever helps you to wake up and feel ready for the day. For me, that is putting on comfortable jeans and a sweater, washing my face and brushing my teeth (and making sure I have on a bra- trust me girls, your boobs will thank you when you are older).
4. Limiting distractions and setting boundaries
When you’re working from home, you can have a lot of distractions. I always felt guilty if the apartment wasn’t cleaned by the time my husband got home from work. However, I quickly realized that I do have to work during the day (not just clean!)
And so I was able to talk to him about treating my work day just like any other day that I worked outside of the home. I wasn’t there to clean the apartment then, and I can’t now. That is saved for nights and weekends now. Again, having a desk can really help set these boundaries and establish when you are “at work” and when you are “at home.”
5. Have a good chair
Invest in a comfortable chair. Just trust me on this one friend.
6. Don’t go back to work when you are finished
Set a time when you will end work for the day and then stick to that time. I was finding myself stopping to work at 5pm when Manuel got home, then we would make dinner and I would be right back to work again.
Some nights, he would have to drag me to bed because I would stay up working until 11 or 12 at night. Then the next day I would be exhausted the entire day and not get much done. It was a vicious cycle. If you are finding that you just don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done- reach out to me here, I can help!
7. Work outside the home at least once a week
This one has been a new development for me but has boosted my productivity by so much! Getting outside of the house and around other people can help inspire you. When I head to a local coffee shop, I know that I am going to be able to just focus on my work without the distractions of the house.
It also feels like a treat and I look forward to the day that I get to go out and treat myself to a fancy coffee and lunch. It is almost like a “job well done” reward after staying productive the entire week.
What do you think? Do you have other tips that you use to stay productive when working from home?
I would love to hear from you below!