In the beginning before work from home was full time, I used to come home from my day job and spend the rest of the evening curled up on the couch brainstorming content, pushing out posts on social media, and emailing into the wee hours. It worked, but only because it was what my schedule allowed and my excitement over this new and budding business venture fueled those late night work sessions.
Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have publishing Mini grow into my full-time gig and I’m finally running the show during normal business hours— but still from home. I’ve heard so many people tell me how working from home is their dream and sounds like the ideal career set-up, when in all actuality, it can be the hardest way to work. You are never far from that load of laundry that needs done—in addition to your job’s priorities—and that nagging desire to stay in bed just a little longer.
I’m coming up five years of working from home and there are a few things I’ve learned along the way to not only help me run my business efficiently, but actually get things done:
When your office and your home are one in the same, it can be challenging to ever completely “turn off” your work brain and separate the two when you work from home. However, without doing so, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling exhausted, stressed, and burnt out. Set realistic office hours for yourself and stick to them. Maybe you don’t work best at 8 AM like many other business owners do, maybe you would feel more rested and in control if your morning began at 9:30. It’s up to you when you’re the boss, but during your office hours, you need to be fully present and focused on work. This is your time to tackle everything that needs accomplishing.
Just remember, when it’s “quitting time,” the time you set is the time you stop. No more emails, shut the computer, and leave it until tomorrow.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know more than anyone that one of the greatest perks of working from home is spending all day in your pajamas. But you’d be amazed at what getting dressed in the morning can do for your drive and overall sense of preparedness for the day. Get up, take a shower, and get ready for work just like anyone else— even if you’re just going to your kitchen table.
I struggle with this so much still as checking and answering my email is the greatest time suck there is throughout my day. I’m constantly refreshing my phone for new emails or typing away at those that need answered— and yet, feeling defeated at the end of the day because I didn’t get to half of my to-do list. Commit to only checking and answering your email twice per day— once when you begin the day and again in the late afternoon, or just before you are ready to call it quits. The rest of the day can then be spent on projects and content that may otherwise take a backseat to your inbox.
If you went into an office every day, you wouldn’t be able to do the dishes at 11 AM on a Tuesday, so why are you doing them now? You’re only taking up more of your day that should be spent on your work to-do list. It’s OK to give yourself little breaks here and there, but don’t get into a habit of completing home tasks before work (during your office hours) just because you’re there.