Monday morning and millions of people in the UK probably ran for busses, got stuck in traffic jams, or squeezed on the tube. Me? Oh, no. Why? Because I work from home!
Now, as soon as I say “I work from home”, people immediately assume I lounge around in my PJs all day. Don’t get me wrong…for the first few weeks I did. But then I realised that it’s definitely not the way to do it.
Here are my 5 top tips on how to work from home successfully:
- Get dressed
As much fun as it sounds to lounge around in a onesie all day, getting up and getting dressed is the best way of getting your head in the game. A sharp cut suit and stiletto heels are not needed, but throwing on your artist’s smock or putting on a dash of lippie works wonders for your go-get’em attitude.
2. Have a designated space
Most start-ups are run on a shoestring budget. (I know that’s how QuiddityGifts started!) But instead of working on the couch or taking over the dining table, try to find a little space that is all for you. Convert the garage, tidy up the tiny spare room, or set up in the greenhouse! Wherever you can find a little spot that’s all yours, it will do wonders for your mindset: “I’m at work now, so I’d better work“.
We all love browsing the internet to get the spark of creativity going, checking on what our friend (who we haven’t spoken to in about 6 years) is doing, spring cleaning our e-mail inboxes, etc. But, let’s face it…those 2.5hrs spent on Pinterest could have been spent actually making stock. So, make sure you’re technology free during dedicated work time.
Now, I’m definitely not saying ignore technology all together. Nowadays small business have to use social media to work on their brand image and get the word out there. Decide what works best for you. Maybe it’s arranging 1/2hr slots to catch up on emails throughout the day, setting aside a chunk of time to respond to everyone, or (if you’re ridiculously organised) using a program that allows you to schedule your tweets and posts so you can plan your social media campaign for the week or month ahead.
4. Write a to-do list
The key to a good ‘to-do’ list (and I should know because I write enough of them!) is to be realistic with what you can actually achieve. I know all the things I’d like to get done in a day, but realistically the hours just aren’t long enough. I used to prioritise by importance, but one of the best lessons I’ve learnt is that you’ve got to work out when you’re at your productive peak. Are you a 6am early bird, or a total night owl? I’m sort of in the middle- it takes me at least two cups of coffee to get going but then I’m ‘in the zone’ and end up having a very late lunch.
Don’t forget to include your social media schedule on your daily ‘to-do’ list. It’s all very well to schedule posts but Twitter likes you to get involved in discussions, so if you’re participating in a specific networking hour, make sure to contribute a few comments and maybe end up with some new followers, or find new influential people to follow.
5. Take breaks
I’m notorious for getting involved in something and focusing for hours on end, but it is really important to take breaks. In you’re in the creative zone, remember to get up every 20-30mins, even if it’s just to get a glass of water or walk about the room. This eliminates the risk of RSI (repetitive strain injury), which can be a nasty way to lose days/weeks of productivity while you recuperate.
Perhaps you’re someone who loves their afternoon nap. Don’t be embarrassed! Studies have shown a short power nap is a great way to recharge your creative batteries. Just make sure you set your alarm or you may doze away the whole afternoon!
Got your own piece of advice to share with work-from-home newbies? Leave a comment below 🙂