I’ve worked from home for a while, I had 3 little ones under 18 months and a full time business. I never really had a balance with it and always found myself a bit unorganised and flustered. I wrote a post here: ‘a few small changes‘ and using a few little tricks has changed my work flow massively this year. Ready?
GET DRESSED FOR THE DAY:
This one sounds simple enough, it’s easier when your kids are in school and you have to get dressed to take them. When mine were really tiny I would find it was 4pm and I sometimes hadn’t even managed to brush my hair let alone get dressed after all the day to day tasks were done I would sit down at the end of the day, exhausted from running around and when it was finally time to get work done I was too tired. I’d turn off the laptop that had been sitting on for 12 hours untouched.
Get something comfortable on, not pyjamas. I know, I know. I am the least productive person when I wear pj’s and end up slumping. So, getting up and ready for the day as if you are going to work.
SET PROPER WORK DAYS/HOURS:
This one has been a very small game changer for me this year. I set days that I would work, and what I would be working on. Knowing what days/hours I was working made sure I could get specific tasks penciled in. I wake up each morning knowing what I’ll be doing and can get a quick start instead of staring at a list and not knowing where to start. Set a time for finishing too. I know all too well how easy it is just to check and send a few emails at 8pm when you are meant to be spending time with your partner or out with friends.
And with that, make sure your friends and family know the drill.
This one can be a little more difficult, but stick with it.
“oh, you can set your own hours, just come for a quick coffee”.
“why didn’t you answer the phone? Aren’t you just ‘working’ from home?”.
It’s not that they mean it or at trying to be disruptive, it takes a while to get used to working proper hours. Make sure they know that you mean business and treat your hours as if you were in an office. With set lunch breaks and tea stops.
CREATE A DESIGNATED WORK SPACE:
Not the sofa. Well, I mean if you are productive there by all means, go for it? I can’t work on a sofa, or in bed. I slouch, I put the tv on and end up binge watching The Good Place or Friends, and before you know it, it’s time to pick up the kids. If you create a space that you feel inspired in it makes working there a much nicer experience and in turn makes you more productive. Pinterest has some amazing home work space ideas, no matter the size of the space you have to work with, go make it yours!
TAKE YOURSELF OUTSIDE:
Alternatively, if you can focus at home a cafe is an excellent make shift office. I love working from a cafe, I take my headphones, get a coffee and get myself comfortable. I don’t get sidetracked by dishes and I can pick a new ‘office’ each week. I have a handful of favourites around the city and I often find working somewhere can be inspiring. The ones I choose are often filled with students and other people with laptops so you can crack on with what you need to do. Top tip: charge all devices before you leave the house, not all cafes have power points/wifi.
MAKE A LIST & DO ONE THING AT A TIME:
Sounds simple enough, it can be daunting having a bunch of tasks, so when you start one, get a little bit done, then start another, just a little bit of that gets done. Just one more. So, start with 5 things on your list. 3 easier ones and then 2 more time consuming. When you get a couple of ‘easier’ tasks done first you can trick yourself and get motivated to keep going wit the list. Don’t forget to reward yourself. Remember when you were wee and when you did the tasks on your chart you got a shiny gold star? This ones similar to that. Set yourself micro-tasks, or big ones and when it’s complete you can check instagram, or have your tea break.
SET AN ALARM:
When you are on a strict time scale setting an alarm can help, I work better on a deadline so when I set an alarm to get a task done, it’s usually done. I have 5.5 hours when the kids are at school. I set small alarms through the day, one being a lunch alarm, sometimes you can get engrossed in a task and forget to eat. I give myself 30 mins to type a post. Maybe an hour to set up and shoot some stuff or time to edit images. I know if I don’t set myself specific time slots time can slip away leaving you with a bigger to do list the following day.
CONSOLIDATE YOUR TASKS AND BATCH WORK:
So, now that you have set work days and know what’s on your list to do, figure out and plan what you want to do on each day. Have a set day for taking images, maybe a set day for blog posts and get them all typed or drafted out, a certain amount of time for emails each morning. Batch working means you can focus on a task instead of flitting between 2/3 and potentially not getting any finished. I get really distracted going between tasks, you can switch these up too, if you wake up on a Tuesday and its a photography day and you just aren’t feeling it, you can absolutely swap it out for another task. Thats the perks of being your own boss.
GET SOME WORK BUDDIES:
It can be a lonely place working from home alone, we don’t get a Christmas night out or have work parties, but we also get to do what work we like and don’t have to go to team building meetings. I’ve got a small Whats-app group of friends that hold me accountable. We cheer each other on and make sure we are getting the work done. We set each other goals and proof read blog posts and most importantly check in on each other. Having a group of friends in similar jobs means they know how tough it can be some days when you don’t feel particularly creative or are honest when you come up with a new idea you aren’t sure about.
TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA:
I am a sucker for checking my phone and 3 hours later realise all I’ve done is sit on Instagram and scroll scroll scroll. I flit between apps and then I find myself annoyed that I haven’t gotten anything done from my to do list. So, switch it off, or if you can leave your phone in another room until you’ve completed a task that needs done… then use it as a little reward!
I hope these tips (though simple) are super helpful. Just a few small changes has really changed my workflow this year. Is there anything I’ve forgotten? If you have a tip I would love to hear it!