Working from home is a lot harder than people think it is. Sure it has its perks but, at the end of the day, there is a job to get done and we have to make sure it does without walking past our room and being tempted by our comfortable bed!
Since I’ve been working on S&T full-time for two years, I’ve gotten caught up in the downsides to working from home and have come up with a few ‘rules’ or ‘tips’ on how to be the most productive when working from home!
Get dressed every day.
Even though you are you’re own boss, there is something motivating about getting yourself ready for the day. Since S&T has been up and running, there have been plenty of days where I am tempted to stay in my comfortable pajamas and opt for the whole ‘I’m just going to write this blog post from bed’ mentality. Historically, I am able to get the post done but it’s how I feel afterwards that is the problem. I am in a more ‘relaxed’ mentality as opposed to the ‘let’s get stuff done’ mentality that I prefer to be in for work. I am much more productive and less stressed at the end of the days where I get myself ready for work, go in to my office and do those posts, get back to emails, file away important documents, go through mail and recent shipments, etc. at my desk.
Set your working hours.
This tip is for my fellow entrepreneurs. We have to set our own working hours for our own sanity. Our culture glamorizes the ‘girl boss’ epidemic we’re seeing rise up and, while I’m all for women being badasses, I’m also worried about what this whole ‘good things come to those who hustle’ will do to our mental state, families and relationships in the next few years. I think we should keep focusing on setting goals and going after them but I also think we need to be a little better to ourselves and the people around us in the process. To do that, I think structure is key so, set working hours. Those working hours may be more than most people who work for the man, and that’s fine, but allow yourself the time to rest and allow yourself the time to wake up in the morning without reaching for your phone to check your email or how your latest Instagram performed. Take your dogs for a walk. Make breakfast. Grab lunch with a friend. And, at a certain time in the late afternoon, stop working. Allow yourself to do OTHER THINGS. *gasp* Heaven forbid!
Know how you’re wired.
Everyone’s clock is wound just a little bit differently in terms of productivity. My productivity hours are 7:00AM-1:00PM and then again from 6:00PM-12:00AM. Unless I have a shoot planned to take Instagram photos or an appointment, I opt for a short nap in the afternoon to recharge or enjoy some downtime on the couch to read. After focusing all morning, I need that little break for my brain to get back in to work mode. I’m thankful to be able to determine my own work schedule. I know that’s not an option for everyone but the takeaway I want y’all to have is to always do the highest priority items on my to-do list when I’m typically MOST productive.
Prioritize your to do list.
To piggyback off of the last tip, I have found that it’s important to keep a running to do list. I keep mine updated in my Notes on my computer. I italicize completed tasks and move it to the top of the list of items that still need to get done. When I start my day, I look at the items that I have left to do and I bold the five things that I need to get done during that day then order them from highest priority to lowest priority with asterisks.
Okay, so I pulled this old to do list as an example. As mentioned, the italicized tasks are completed tasks and I continue the to do list by writing in regular font below the completed tasks.
In the morning, I look at my to do list and rearrange the list as needed based on what really needs to get done during the day. Then I bold the five most important items that I want to get done in my morning work session. Clearly, my to do list is a mix of professional and personal items that need / I want to get done but, I typically prioritize work first and put personal items in that lower priority spot because …. typically, those are items I can do while accomplishing another task. For example, scheduling Fish & Chips for their boarding appointment is lowest priority and can be done while I am driving to the Town Center to go to Lululemon. Does that make sense? I also try and put the highest priority on the tasks that I need the most mental energy to do [i.e. writing blog posts] and save the easier mental tasks for a lower priority. I hope that helps!
Time block to assist in getting the most done in the least amount of time.
When you’re looking at the tasks you have on your agenda for the day, set a realistic time limit that you want to get that task done. Then, when you are beginning that task, put away anything that distracts you from getting tasks done [i.e. your phone], set your timer for that realistic time limit, and get to working! If you do this, you will be amazed at how many things you will be able to get checked off of your to-do list!
Get yourself organized!
If I didn’t have file folders in my filing cabinet for certain documents or drawers & baskets in my office closet designated for certain items & products, I would be a very scatterbrained individual who barely gets anything done. If you’re constantly digging through a mess of papers or trying to find something to get a task done, your productivity level is going to drop and your stress level is going to skyrocket. Set aside time on a weekend to sort through the mess and get yourself organized. It definitely takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. It’s actually taken a trip to IKEA, the Container Store, Office Depot and a lot of weekend hours to get my office the way I want it but it’s getting there and I finally feel like it’s a place where I know I can efficiently get stuff done!
Do your best to minimize distraction.
Our phones are our biggest distraction. Am I right? Or am I right?
If I don’t have to make a phone call or post anything to social media, I put my phone in my room and set a reminder on my calendar to help me with my time blocking. However, if I have a conference call set, I keep my phone at my desk but do my best to not respond to anything that pops up while completing tasks. It’s really difficult but the timer that is set keeps me focused.
Set a structure to your calendar.
My weekly calendar used to be a recipe for disaster and disappointment. I would schedule three appointments on complete opposite ends of town, tell myself I’m going to shoot with Miguel, and also write a lengthy blog post. Now, I make an effort to plan things out a little more so that there is more of a structure. Mondays and Tuesdays are my work from home days, Wednesdays are my appointment days, Thursdays and Fridays are shooting days. I make up anything else that needs to get done on Saturday and Sunday but this structure has helped me my sanity immensely.
Hire people to help.
This tip is, again, for my fellow entrepreneurs. In hindsight, I should have done this much earlier than I did. Ever since I opted to go full-time as a blogger, my to do list was longer than what I could realistically get done in a day and, if that’s the case, you need to hire help. If you are working 90-hours a week and you are still overwhelmed by your to-do list, you need to hire help. It’s okay if you can’t get it all done. I don’t think we’re wired to be able to run a business single-handedly. I think we’re wired for community and to lend a hand to another to see what we can come up with. I think two is always better than one. So, hire someone to help you but – this could really be another post in and of itself – make sure you’re hiring the right person for the task at hand or you’re just going to end up being even more overwhelmed with what isn’t getting done!
Working from home definitely has its perks but, eventually, you start to get cabin fever and feel a bit isolated without the typical accompaniment of co-workers. I do have an assistant but she can and is able to do a lot of her job for me from her own home office. She stops by throughout the week and we have our weekly meetings but I don’t have someone working alongside me everyday! So, to prevent me from feeling like a hermit, I make it a point to plan a lunch date with a friend once or twice a week as well as opt to go work at a coffee shop on one or two mornings! Cabin fever is no fun so you have to stay ahead of it, especially us introverts! [It’s so hard for us to WANT to go out and do stuff, but it’ll make you feel better!]
I hope this post has been helpful. Do you work from home and think I’ve missed a key tip? I’m all ears! We all know some days are harder than others and I’m all about new ways to be better! 🙂 xo.
I actually used to be a freelancer and i worked from home. It was a HUGE adjustment. People expect that working from home is super glam and laid back but it’s totally not. I rarely worked in my pj’s – otherwise I’d feel like i was being lazy and unproductive. I associated home with work so I needed to get out often otherwise I’d find myself ‘just checking emails for a quick second’ and that quick second would turn into a few hours. It’s tough! I’m really happy you shed some light on this.
Your little office looks super cute, though. A great spot to get creativity going 🙂
Love the cute decorations of the office, especially the adorable pink rug! Love this post! 🙂
Merci for sharing your tips.
????LA BIJOUX BELLA ????| By Mia |A Creative Lifestyle Blog
I lOVE these photos you hot thing, you!
Love this post!! My job allows me to work from home one day a week – which can even be a struggle sometimes to stay focused. The single most important thing for me was to get dressed as if it’s any day going into the office. I fell into a rhythm of staying in my PJ’s the full day that I was working from home and I noticed I totally was not as productive as I should have been.
I’ve been pinning up a storm on ideas for furniture and decorations for an office – I absolutely love seeing other peoples office spaces too! Your office is beautiful.
What a post! I’m a teacher and have just started a masters degree and I have a lot of work to do at home. I’ve been really struggling to motivate myself recently and so this week have begun to organise an office and just ordered the furniture! Cant wait for it to be set up to use. Taking lots of style notes
Love this post! I am going into nursing so I’m sure you know that means lots of homework time! I am taking 2 out of 3 classes online right now, so this has given me great ideas on how to get things done more efficiently when at home. Thanks so much, have a great week!
Yes, definitely utilize some of these tips for nursing school! Sometimes I had to make myself go to the library if I was getting too distracted at home. I still do that, except instead of the library – it’s a coffee shop! Hah! Good luck! xo.
I love these tips. I personally agree that getting dressed is important. It puts me in the right mindset. I barely would get anything done in lounge wears.
I absolutely LOVE your office set up! I work 40 hours a week at a day job and I’m getting ready to go back to school for nursing. I am a major extrovert so having a place to focus and setting a structure to my days will definitely help me stay on track.
Thanks so much! 🙂
Love this post! I don’t work from home but I did have the chance to telework twice a month in my previous job. Even just twice a month was tough – I felt like my productivity really dropped and it made me doubt that I would ever be happy working from home full time. This post made me not only rethink that opinion but also get excited about it! Maybe I am cut out for it, with the right tools and tricks 🙂 Thanks!
Haley your office is just gorgeous!!! I just started my first full time job, but with my hours I have a lot more time to work on my blog now than I used to when I was in school, so I am still working on figuring out my “blogging” hours as well. This post was so, so helpful! I love the idea of putting asterisks by to-do list items.
Your new office turned out super cute! I don’t work from home but I just started a new blog so trying to balance work and the blog has been difficult. These are great tips!
Haley, this is such an awesome post! I do not get to work from home (boo) and I spend my days at an office in an 8-5 job but I found so many things in this post that are applicable to my day-to-day! I really appreciate you putting this together. One question…I checked the sources and didn’t see it, is that a phone charger that you have yours docked in? Or is it just a stand? I would love to get something similar.
Tamara from Tallahassee, Florida
The office looks wonderful! This is such a great post. So many useful tips! I love it! Thanks for sharing!
Your office is amazing!! It would be a nice place to spend the day. Since I love your taste, I was wondering what kind of business card holder you use to keep in your purse or office tote? I’m looking but not finding anything that says creative but professional. Any help would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks!!
I understand the cabin fever issue! It’s been my experience too but always nice to hear how others handle it! Thank you for this article!
Monica | stayfitcentral.com
Health & fitness
Your office is SO cute! It looks like it’s straight from a stock photo or magazine.
These are great tips!! We really hope to go full time someday & this is a big inspiration 🙂
Love these tips! I’ve found that I’m less productive working from home (my desk is in my room) and half the time I end up lounging in bed all day. SO, when I do work from home, I prefer heading to a local cafe or Starbucks to work!
Rachel / http://www.helloher.co
Your homeoffice is so beautiful and you look amazing! Thanks for these tips they are really helpful 🙂
I LOVE your office it is so bright! Great tips, too. I wish I worked from home.
Such great tips!!!
XoXo One Stiletto At A Time
I think these are great tips. I work from home often and these are great suggestions to follow. I actually already do some of them in order to get my work done!
P.S. Don’t worry about the people who are mean to you. That girl, (clearly not a woman who could ever have class) funny enough, took the time to read your whole post and then gave criticism that was not helpful to anyone. Bad Karma!
Btw I love your snapchat videos of your dogs and travel. Feels like we are on those trips with you, it’s great!
Hey Lex! Glad these are helpful for you, too!
And, I don’t lose sleep over the Jenny’s of this world. Their words say more about them than they do about me. 🙂
Appreciate you following along! Fish, Chips & I appreciate it! xo! 🙂
That leanna girl is clearly uneducated and jealous of your successful blog. As if she knows how many hours and work are put into blog, I’ve been running mine for about a year now and I love every single second of it! These tips are a HUGE help for me for when I can blog full time in the future one day! Don’t stop being fabolous!
I love these tips too, especially about setting your work hours. I feel like people think owning your own business means always being on the clock, but this shouldn’t be the case! I went to a ted x talk recently and they said that people who actually used their vacation days were 14% more productive. I think our brain just needs a second to unplug.
Also loved your trip about getting dressed. It always helps me get moving!
Great tips! And your work space looks amazing <3
This is a great post Alyson! As a new (part-time) blogger just discovering this world, I appreciate all the tips I can get, so thank you. I’ve followed your IG and blog for a while and love it, it’s definitely inspirational! Keep doing what you do =)
This is a great post Alyson. As a new (part-time) blogger, I value all the tips I can get, so thank you. I have followed your IG and blog for a couple months now and love it! Very inspirational so keep doing what you do girl! =)
I accidentally found your blog, but I am very grateful of the tips you provided and feel this is what I needed. Thank you for sharing your home office; it looks fabulous. I look forward to getting more insight regarding being a successful entrepreneur working from home.
Hi! Could you update your work from home post? I’m especially interested in the desk, looks like it’s no longer available. So many more folks are working from home and would probably love an update. Thank you!
Where can I find the shelving unit behind the desk with the gold drawers. I need This desperately and have been searching for months for something like this. Please please respond.
I love your desk arrangement. I’ve struggled with arrangement and found your pleasing. Where can u find that desk and the shelving unit behind you? I don’t want to walk into my office and see a monitor either front or back of it. Thank you
Where did u buy ur desk and the stand from the back ?