The alarm clock goes off at 6:30 a.m. Coffee, breakfast, dress, brush teeth and out the door by 7:30 a.m. to be behind a desk by 8 a.m. Paperwork, typing and sitting behind the desk until 4 p.m. The evening is free or filled with family obligations, and then it starts all over again. For many people, this routine is their everyday. However, a growing amount of Americans are now working from home.
The idea of working from home is a tough one. Some people excel, and some can’t manage their time well. As a photographer, I work form home, and I feel that I fall somewhere in the middle of that scale. Some days, I totally kill it; other days, I never make it out of my pajamas.
Set a Schedule
Working from home totally sets you free from the clock. You can work whenever you like, for the most part. You really need to figure out the times when you are most productive. I am not an early bird, or a night owl – I joke that I’m more of a midday chicken. My most productive hours are between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. I do the majority of my work during these time periods.
Mandee Pogue of The Kitchen Wife believes that setting a schedule is the most important aspect of working from home. “I can easily work 24/7, 365. However, I learned very early on that is not healthy and you will become burnt out quickly. Also, make sure you take the weekends and holidays off to spend time with friends and family, or even just on yourself. You can easily become a work-a-holic, and it is important to take breaks,” she said.
Create a Workspace
As I type this article from the comfort of my bed with my dog curled up at my feet, I realize that I really do need a dedicated space for working. There’s something about having a dedicated space that can really change your work habits. Workspaces should be clear of distraction and visually stimulating – don’t be afraid to make your space about you.
Local musician Corey Shields works from home and has two requirements to make his job at home successful. “Headphones and a room meant for work are necessities. That being said, once you get in the groove, you can work a lot smarter and harder from home than in an office,” he said.
Make Lists and Avoid Distraction
I am a habitual list maker. I have lists on my phone, in my planner and on documents in my computer. Each morning, or even before you go to bed, make a list of everything that needs accomplished for the next day. This will help you budget your time and keep you productive when Netflix and a nap sound like the best idea.
“For me productivity is all in organization. I have a planner that I keep all of my major to-do for that day in. Then I also make a daily list of random things that I would like to do. I work from 6 a.m. – 12 p.m., make lunch, then I work from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. to finish up any loose ends. After that I will work on my housework and anything else. My husband gets off at 4:30 p.m. and then it is life. I try to keep social media, television and phone time very limited during work hours so that I can focus on the task at hand,” Mandee said.
Get Dressed and Take Yourself Seriously
This is a struggle for many entrepreneurs. Sometimes, when you have to identify your job, it’s easy to say, “oh, I just work from home.” No. This needs to stop to be successful and productive. The best way to take yourself seriously is to dress the part. Every day, wake up at the same time based on what is best for your schedule, then get dressed and aim to be working by a certain hour. By setting you schedule, and taking yourself seriously, others will take you seriously as well.
Working from home is a great experience, and it’s something that I absolutely love about my career. What are some of the ways you enhance your work from home experience?