As an entrepreneur, I have been working away from the traditional office for the better part of a decade. In fact, I’ve never worked in a stereotypical office…come to think of it. The longer I have worked on my own, the more I have gained from it. So, it’s no surprise to me that so many people dream of living and working in their homes.
That being said, working at home poses its own set of challenges. There will be days when you feel isolated, alone, and uncertain. There will be times when you will crave the attention and reassurance of co-workers. You may find yourself feeling unmotivated and unproductive. But, if you’re able to find a rhythm that works, and a schedule that makes sense, working from home can be one of the greatest blessings you will ever experience. It can give you freedom and clarity you would never gain working in a traditional office.
So, I want to share five tips that I have learned during my time as a home-based entrepreneur in the hopes that they will help you develop the habits, structure, and attitude necessary to make this style of work, work for you! Are you ready? Here we go.
Tip #1: First things first. You need to set alarm and get up early. I know, I know, the one benefit you’ve dreamed of from working at home was sleeping in EVERY DAY! Well, I’m here to tell you that if you choose to do that, you will be less productive and less focused throughout your day. It’s true. You’ll also be missing out on a great opportunity to start your day ON PURPOSE and ON POINT. By getting up and getting to work early, you grab the best part of your day and use it to your advantage.
Tip #2: Take a shower, shave, fix your hair and dress like you’re going to leave the house every single day. Did you know that the way you dress, look, and feel affects the way your brain carries out a task? It’s not just about your appearance, it’s about how your appearance affects the way you feel. If you lay around in your underwear all day, you will feel lazy and achieve less. So, do yourself a favor and get dressed before you do anything.
Tip #3: Go to a dedicated space, rather than working in a shared space. If you work all over your house, you will have stuff spread out all over your house. Not only is that a confusing and messy way to work, but it’s also a bad for your psyche. On the contrary, if you have a dedicated workspace, then your brain will begin to associate that space with productive work. If you need to take a break, take a break. But when you go to your dedicated space, get to work and don’t let yourself wander.
Tip #4: Schedule periodic interactions throughout your day. The biggest obstacle to working at home is the way it isolates us. Having a day when you don’t leave the house can sometimes feel like you’re watching the rest of the world pass by through your kitchen window. If you schedule actual interactions with people throughout your day, you will feel more connected. I’m talking about phone calls, skype conferences, lunch meetings, or even casual checkins. Make sure you’re touching people, hearing voices, and looking someone in the eye on a daily basis. Don’t get lost in the digital shuffle of email and social media. You need real people in your everyday life!
Tip #5: When you’re done, leave. Seems silly right? I mean, you’re already home. Why would you leave? Simple. You need a definite end point to your day. When you get up and leave at the end of your work day, you tell yourself WORK TIME IS NOW OVER. You don’t actually have to go anywhere if you don’t want, but get up and leave your house, at least for a moment to mark the end of your day. Go out and get the mail, walk around the block, go to the store – whatever it is, just get up and get out so you know that the work day is done and the rest of the day is yours to enjoy!
Your work-at-home life can be successful and fulfilling if you’re intentional about it. So, get up, get organized, and stay connected! You’ve got this.