In theory, working from home sounds like the best thing ever. You can have a RHONY marathon playing in the background, make whatever you want for lunch, and go to mall at 10am on a Thursday (this is the ONLY time to go to the mall don’t fight me on this). But… all of these amazing things can prevent you from doing what you’re actually supposed to be doing: working.
In the beginning, I would get distracted so so easily. It can be hard to hold yourself accountable when YOU are the only person who knows if you got your work done. I would spend all day on Friday hurrying to finish my to do list, which would have been very simple and manageable if I had not procrastinated all week!
During the off-season, I gave myself some pretty lofty goals to accomplish and to make my days feel purposeful. Listen – I’m still learning. Tomorrow is my one year business anniversary, so I’m still pretty new at this! But here are some lessons I learned that have REALLY helped me while working from home.
TV has become a big no-no for me while working from home. I was always getting drawn in to an episode and 40 minutes later I would realize that I hadn’t answer a single email. Not a good feeling at all! Now, I only listen to podcasts or music while working. I do love a lot of TV shows, so I will watch an episode while making breakfast or lunch as a clarity break. Bonus: it makes an even better reward once you have checked everything off your to-do list for that day!
When I first started my business, I would wake up with no direction for my day. As you can imagine, this made me feel very overwhelmed because I never knew what to do. To hold myself accountable, I started planning out my days the night before. That way when I wake up, I know what I should be focused on. There is no better feeling than being able to check an item off of a list, so keeping a to-do list in my planner has also been extremely beneficial!
Spoiler alert: I’m a night owl. Ever since I read Twilight in middle school, I have stayed up way later than I should reading, watching TV, or simply scrolling on Instagram. I still tend to stay up later than I’d like, but that’s a work in progress. I found that if I don’t set an alarm for 7:30 at the latest, I will wake up too late and feel like I wasted a good portion of my day. This may seem like a late wakeup to some of you, but hey – one of the benefits of setting your own schedule! 🙂
There are days where I head to my kitchen to make a cup of tea, and I can’t focus at all. The clock is ticking too loud, or I’m suddenly distracted by the crazy squirrels in my backyard. Living in St. Paul, I am fortunate enough to have a lot of amazing coffee shops and cafés that are within walking distance of me! Sometimes, even that 1o minute walk clears my head immensely. I always make a goal for myself too: “I have to update these three timelines and go through a gallery before I leave this afternoon”.
You do not need to be working 24/7. Let me repeat that for you: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE WORKING 24/7! This one is still a challenge for me. I’ll get an email or text from a client at 9pm asking a simple question, and I’m learning to ignore it. Why? Because that one question can turn into 7 more, and suddenly it’s 11pm and you still haven’t showered or planned out the next day – oops! Think of it this way: if you have a question for a venue, or a bank, or a restaurant… they won’t answer it after business hours! It’s okay to get some work done during this time, but communicating with your clients at 10pm will set the expectation that you will be available at 10pm every day. Of course, choose hours that work best for you and your business, but know that it’s okay to not be available every hour of the day!
I hope that these lessons will help you, whether you work from home full time or part time! Now, I’m going to check this blog post off of my to-do list and move on to my next task 🙂
Photo by Uppercase L Photography