It’s hard to put an exact figure on the statistic, but somewhere between 25 and 40% of people in the U.S. work from home. And there’s something else to know: that number is quickly rising. With so many benefits, why wouldn’t it?
I do most of my work from home and love the flexibility of the hours. If I rather work a bit later in the day instead of at the crack of dawn, I can. If I want to take a 2 hour lunch and make it up later, I can.
That’s not to say that working from home is free of drawbacks. There are certainly days I can’t find the motivation to sit myself down for 3 consecutive hours. Sometimes it’s because of distractions you don’t find in an office. Sometimes that much freedom can be too much. And just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re not as concerned with the same bottom line: a paycheck.
9 Ways to Get Things Done When You Work from Home
For me, it’s a mostly positive experience, but I still always get asked, ‘how do you get anything done?’ Here are a few tips – some learned the hard way – for those trying to get into a groove working from home.
1. Get dressed
Sounds simple, right? Well, I know from experience that it’s super easy to stay in my PJs all day. You might not shower or put on makeup to save time. In reality, however, it doesn’t help.
Our minds are still stuck in the relaxation of being in bed, making it much harder to wake up and concentrate. Keep a morning routine that gets you showered, dressed and put together as if you were actually heading into the office.
2. Create a pleasant work space
This can be challenging, especially if you live in a small apartment or home like I do. Even if you don’t have a spare room for an office, I recommend getting a desk and adding a few personal touches like a candle or plant. Your workspace needs to be a place you enjoy going, not something you dread.
3. Honor your work time
It’s so easy think that you’ll work whenever you feel like it or have a free moment, but it’s much less stressful when you organize a work schedule. Until I got really specific with my work days and hours my ‘work time’ was constantly eaten away with non-work activities (doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, kid activities). Suddenly you’re doing everything last minute, working until midnight and entering the chaos spiral.
Then get specific with your time. Instead of saying you’ll work for 6 hours straight (which is draining to even think about) try breaking your day into 2- or 3-hour blocks. For me, I need time chunks for making recipes, writing and editing. This helps break up the day so I’m not staring at a computer for hours on end.
4. Start the day with 3 priorities
Before you go to bed or while you’re drinking your morning coffee make a list of 3 things you will get done that three. No more than 3. I’m the queen of making a mile-long list and then accomplishing exactly nothing. Three is doable. Three is perfect. Stop there.
5. Give yourself deadlines
For some reason I’m able to get so much more done under the pressure of a deadline. So now I make them up for myself. Or I set a small reward, like ‘when I get this post done I can have a coffee.’ It’s pointless to sit around twiddling your thumbs pretending to work when you’re actually not doing much.
6. Just start
I am the master of coming up with excuses for putting off writing. In The Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes compared sitting down to start writing with running. It’s painful at first, but it gets easier. Just sit down and start.
7. Take breaks
Working prolonged periods of time is never a good idea, whether you work in an office or at home. Each hour take ten minutes to stretch or take a short walk. Keep your water bottle nearby and this will be easy. You’ll up your water intake and have to get up to go to the bathroom!
Anything to give yourself not only a mental break, but also to get your blood flowing. Sitting is really hard on our bodies, so it’s best to get up every once in a while.
8. But limit snacking
Inevitably, when I get up for a break I find myself in the kitchen. It’s too easy to eat out of boredom when it’s in the next room over. Instead I make tea. The ritual keeps my hands busy for a few minutes, and I find sipping something calming. Keep plenty of fresh fruits and veggies around and limit the sweets.
9. A don’t forget to get out
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. I often go to the library because it’s quiet and I can stroll through the books. Since you’re spending a lot of the time away from coworkers, make sure you still have a healthy dose of friendships and outings in your life.
Take charge of meeting up with your friends each week and get out and enjoy healthy activities. It’s easy to lead more of a hermit lifestyle working from home and not only is that no fun, it can also impact your health.0