When I worked in an office, working from home was the ultimate dream, I imagined waking up when I liked, watching morning tele with an ipad on my lap, lounging in my pj’s and lunching with friends at the drop of a hat. Then I was lucky enough to actually work in the comfort of my own home it didn’t take me long to realise its not always as rosy as expected.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it and the fact that I no longer have to suffer the dreaded tube journey twice a day is heaven on Earth… but it can also be very tough. It can get very lonely, monotonous and it can be really hard to keep yourself motivated. After a few years of working from home under my belt, I’ve found a few ways to combat some of the pitfalls that you’re likely to encounter and some ways to thrive when working in your own little haven.
- Set yourself work times – I am an early bird, I function better in the morning through to late afternoon so the normal working hours of 9am-5pm suit me. However my hubby on the other hand is the opposite and works best in the late afternoons into evenings. Once we’ve collected our son from nursery at 5.30pm I’m ready to settle down for the evening whereas Andy is keen to get back to work! We both run our own businesses so technically we can work the hours that suit us best. If you’re able to, set yourself working hours when you know you will get your best work done. If you know that you need to lie in until 10am in order to feel more energised, then start work later and finish later. That is the beauty of working from home… the office never closes!
- Limit distractions – I don’t turn on the tele because I know I’ll find it hard to pull myself away from. I also don’t have it on in the background because I would be constantly distracted. I keep my phone plugged into an iphone doc so that I don’t find myself insta-scrolling or checking emails whilst working. I’m really into podcasts and having them on whilst I work doesn’t seem to distract me at all, in fact I often feel really inspired and motivated whilst listening to them. I Find music works in the same way, if I need to calm down during a stressful day I’ll put on some slow chill out music, or if I need some energy I’ll play something that’s fast and uplifting.
- Set yourself goals – just small ones. When I’m on a roll I will work until I’ve finished something. Sometimes I’ll really need a wee or a drink but I will work until I get to a certain point before I let myself stop. That may sound extreme but even something small such as, ‘I will make lunch once I’ve read all of my emails.’ That small goal will keep you focused and will also give you some motivation to get things done.
- Meet up with friends – Working from home can be quite isolating and lonely so I make sure that I plan to see a friend at least once a week. I know that if I go too long without seeing another human I will go a bit crazy. I try to limit going out in the evenings because it can get a bit much for me, so instead I will meet up with friends either when I do my morning dog walk, for a coffee at lunch time or on the days that I have my son at home with me and I’m not working. If you are more of a night owl than I am then meeting up with friends in the evening after a day at home is a great way of making sure you stay in the real world and don’t become a bit of a hermit!!
- Try social media networking – I’ve met some lovely people through social media. There are a lot of us ‘work from homers’ out there and the internet is a great way to connect. The people you meet online will know exactly what you deal with and how you feel when it comes to working from home. They can offer advice, sources of motivation and even just someone to chat to and bounce ideas off of. There are lots of networking groups that you can join to meet like minded people and lots of them host events and workshops etc which means getting out of the house too – bonus!
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Is there anything that you do to stay focused when working from home? I’d love to hear your tips,
Till next time