Guest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator Laura Burns
Working from home is the stuff of many people’s fantasies, some people’s nightmares, and an increasing number of people’s realities. Often misunderstood, working from home can be a challenging and confusing way to spend your work life. Here are 5 tips I’ve learned the hard way – they can help you make working from home productive, peaceful, and fun.
1. Create the perfect space
Some people need bright airy spaces to feel focused and happy, and others prefer darker cozy feeling rooms with task lighting and drawn shades. One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a home worker is to create the perfect space for you. Whether you have a whole room to yourself or just a corner, there are lots of small changes you can make that will help you feel comfortable, professional, and on the ball.
Once you get your work space set up and feeling groovy, be sure to keep it neat and organized. I like to set pop-up calendar reminders for short cleaning breaks. They give me the opportunity to stretch my legs and keep my space feeling open and clean.
2. Decide on a schedule
What kind of office hours are you keeping? 9am to 5pm? 11am to 7pm? Or even 9pm to 5am? No matter what your preferred office hours are, making a habit of being at your desk and available during those times builds your reputation as a professional. If you’re not a desk-worker, keeping a schedule can still lend an air of legitimacy to your work that both you and the public will feel. Also important is that you stop working when you’re scheduled work time is through. It can be very tempting to keep working well past your quitting time, but that’s a great way to get burned out. In most cases whatever you’re working on can wait until the next day. Walking away from your work for the day gives you time to socialize and bond with your family.
3. Get dressed
It’s a simple idea, but in practice it can be difficult to create the habit of dressing in real clothes every day. Some people may do fine wearing pajamas all day, but I start feeling depressed and unprofessional after a day or so of not getting fully dressed. I feel more motivated when I’ve showered and dressed – even if I’m not seeing clients that day I’ll feel fresh and focused.
4. Don’t be a hermit
Build social interaction with humans into your work week. All too often people who work from home find themselves isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. If you find yourself a little too excited to see the FedEx man, it’s time to get out of your house. Try to have lunch once or twice a week with colleagues, networking contacts, or friends—outside of your home.
5. Build in self-care
Even small moments of self-care can make a big difference. Don’t forget to relax and do something nice for yourself every day. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a special afternoon coffee drink, or some aromatherapy while you work – these comforts help make your work life feel more relaxed. If you struggle with making time for yourself throughout the day, try setting pop-up calendar alerts to prompt you to step away and take care of yourself.
I help heart-forward businesses create thoughtfully crafted plans for growth and sustainability. I love to inspire people to think critically, dream big, and clear out the cobwebs to let in the light and the joy! Wanna leave your soul-crushing job to start your own business? Check out my new book, Work Life Revolution! Laura Burns is one of our licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitators.