The other day my friend called me and said “I can’t believe you don’t weigh 1,000lbs”. I laughed and asked why? Her reasoning was that she spent the last week telecommuting and working from home and she felt like she spent every hour on the hour in the kitchen. Each time she’d go in there, she’d find a snack or eat a full on meal which caused her to think she gained 10lbs working from home. All I could do was laugh even more and said, “you’re probably doing that because you’re procrastinating”. We laughed more about how much food she ate and it led me to think how lucky I am to be able to find a “work at home” balance. How many times have you had plans to work from home but wound up doing the laundry or cleaning your countertops because you were avoiding something? You can’t tell, but I’m raising both hands up in the air because it’s something I am constantly struggling with.
It has taken me years to figure out a schedule but no matter how much I think I’ve figured it out- when I’m most productive or what works best for me, it is a constant change. Something that worked for me last month, may not work for me today.
So here are a few tips I’ve come up with for those of you who work from home and still want to be productive:
- Set a schedule and stick to it like a regular office job. Just like showing up to a job at 9am, you gotta keep to maintain that same mindset. Working from home is great because sometimes you can create the schedule with what works best for you, but you have to be honest with yourself. I used to think I was most productive in the mornings, but more recently I’ve found new inspiration in working in the evenings. So with that said, I will schedule my days to have my most creative times at night and do all the busy work like replying to emails and client work during the day.
- Change your environment. Sometimes it feels like you are trapped in your house. You spend every waking moment in the house and it’s so difficult to get out in to the real world, especially when it’s cold outside. To break that up, I’ve actually been going to coffee shops to get things done. There’s something about seeing other people work on their computers that motivates me to work on mine. I’ve found myself more focused on my task. Whether it’s preparing blog posts or catching up on photography tutorials, I love getting out of the house with the intention of getting work done. Usually I’ll just leave in the morning and get as much done as I can until I start feeling hungry. I’ll go home eat lunch, reset, and will be eager to get back to where I left off at home. Even if you can’t leave your house, just changing rooms like working from the dining room instead of your desk can cause a major positive shift in workflow.
- Take breaks. This is where I express my gratitude to Frankenstein. Having a dog has taught me and forced me to take breaks. Whether it’s for a short walk for him to go to the bathroom or a quick belly rub session, Frankie has taught me the importance of walking away from the computer to take a quick breather. These little breaks always put a smile on my face. Even when you really don’t want to, taking these quick breaks has taught me to refocus on what is important and how to prioritize my time more efficiently. I think if it weren’t for him, burn out could come way more easily and frequently.
Those are just a few tips. Don’t worry, I have plenty more. Let me know if you’re interested and I can definietly make this a series.
My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1.6sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens. It was taken during a full moon rising behind the US Capitol.