Working from home is a balance of freedom and discipline. Being your own boss means sometimes being bossy with yourself.
I’ve worked from home as co-owner of Living Pink Communications for 10 years with my husband. Here are the ways I make working from home work for me.
Location. Location. Location.
If you Google "laptop lifestyle" you’ll see images of people working on their computers at the beach. Really?
That might work for some, but for me, a spare-bedroom-turned-office is my base of operation. It’s decorated in pink (surprise) and orange with dry erase boards on the walls. It feels official. It feels like an office. And it helps create a productive mindset.
Set up your work space — whether it’s a room or a section of the dining room table — and make that place sacred. It will help you stay focused and allow you to separate work from the rest of your life.
Find Your Rhythm.
Working 9 to 5 (you know you just sang "what a way to make a living") is no longer your mantra. You set your own schedule.
I’m a morning person. I have a routine that takes full advantage of my productivity rhythm. I wake up at 6 a.m., get coffee and start my day. No commute required.
The first hour is spent responding to emails, checking social media and reviewing my tasks for the day. At 7 a.m. I hop on the treadmill and then do yoga with my husband who is just waking up. (He’s a night owl and works well into the evening.) Afterward, I get the bulk of my more-brain-power-required tasks done before noon. I’m rubbish by 3 p.m., so I stick to simple tasks or errand-running in the afternoon.
It’s important to know your rhythm to get the most out of your day. If you’re like my husband, don’t force yourself to get up extremely early because you read an article that claimed successful people get up at 5 a.m. Make time work for you.
Also, get out and socialize. Isolation can be an issue for those of us who work from home. Schedule lunches with friends to catch up or go to a coffee shop for a change of scenery. Take time to connect with others in the real world, not just on social media.
Brush Your Teeth.
When I first started working from home, I wore the same thing I had slept in (a T-shirt and shorts) for the entire day and didn’t brush my teeth until 1 p.m.. Yuck! I started to feel unproductive and unprofessional.
Today, I perform no less than three costume changes per day. I change from pajamas to workout clothes each morning. Then I shower and change into meeting clothes (usually jeans and a jacket) or office clothes (still a T-shirt, but nicer, and yoga pants). I’m still all about comfort, but I like the transition from sleep to workout to work. And, I remember to brush my teeth in the morning … usually.
Jodie Spears is the owner of Living Pink Communications, a full-service agency that helps clients communicate their unique brand in a creative, credible and consistent way through various media channels to ensure their marketing resonates.