Working from home can be a blessing, but it is also a lot more difficult than it seems. I started working from home three years ago when my family moved from the Chicago suburbs to the Indianapolis area. When I first started working from home, I struggled with the isolation and loneliness. That is when I learned how extroverted I actually am. The tips in this post are some of the things I’ve done to make working from home work for me. Whether you’re working a standard 9-to-5, freelancing, or working a side hustle, hopefully these tips for working from home can help you be as successful as possible (while retaining your sanity).
Working from Home Tip #1: Set Up a Workspace
One of the first things I discovered when I started working from home was the importance of setting up a dedicated workspace. When I began my remote work adventure, I was in a spare bedroom in our new (at the time) house with my computer on a folding table. The walls were a drab beige color and it was a very depressing space to spend the day. I quickly realized that I needed to transform that space into an office I wanted to spend time in. I bought a real desk (thanks Ikea!), picked a color scheme, and bought artwork for the walls. Once my husband and I officially set up my office, it became a beautiful space where I enjoyed spending time.
Decorate your workspace with items that will make you happy. One of the most important parts of my newly decorated office was my motivation wall. I decorated the wall behind my computer with artwork containing motivational phrases. Sometimes when I’m struggling with a project or need some motivation, I love to look up and see phrases like “You Got This” and “Make Today So Awesome Yesterday Gets Jealous!” It’s something so simple, but it has a major impact on my mood and productivity.
I have one last small tip for setting up a dedicated workspace. If you’re a snacker like me, keep your workspace as far away from the kitchen as possible. I definitely do not snack as much as I would if I were sitting at the kitchen table!
Working from Home Tip #2: Minimize Distractions
To be your most successful work at home self, it’s so important to minimize distractions. What are the things that will keep you from getting things done? For most of us work at home folks, I think the biggest distraction is our phones. Maybe I should check Facebook one more time? Did anyone send me a SnapChat? What’s Kristen Bell’s latest Insta story? Sometimes it is best to just leave my phone in an entirely different room. If my phone isn’t right next to me, I can’t be distracted with checking Twitter for reactions to the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Speaking of Game of Thrones (don’t worry, no spoilers here!), I recommend turning off the TV while you’re working from home. I know there is absolutely no way I can be productive if the TV is on in the background. I commend anyone who can watch TV and be productive! For me, I find it best to have a TV-free workspace.
Working from Home Tip #3: Set the Mood
The next tip for working from home is to set the mood. I like to choose different music to listen to depending on what I’m working on and how much brain power the task requires. When I need maximum brain power and concentration (such as for writing or complex tasks), I like to listen to instrumental music. I can’t have lyrics distracting me! My current favorite is the Westworld soundtrack. I save “normal” music for when I’m working on much lighter tasks.
If you like to work with some background noise, you may want to check out Coffitivity. This website lets you play background “coffee shop” noise from your computer. It has multiple options that vary from “Morning Murmur” to “Texas Teahouse.”
Working from Home Tip #4: Take Breaks
This next tip for working from home may seem super obvious, but you’d be surprised how easily you can get swept up in your work and forget about it. Make sure that you’re taking breaks throughout the day. This will help keep you from getting burnt out. I find it helpful to give my eyes and my brain a quick reset every few hours or so. Whether it’s going to grab a quick snack from the kitchen or running outside to check the mail, a few minutes away can do wonders!
Working from Home Tip #5: Take Care of Yourself
My last tip for working from home isn’t really work related, but I find it’s one of the most important things I can do. Self-care is so important to survive the ups and and downs of working from home. Since I’m at home alone working all day, I find it absolutely necessary to get out of the house and socialize when I can. Whether it’s going out for lunch during a work day or for dinner or drinks in the evening, getting out of the house and seeing people is so important for my sanity. I tend to get cabin fever if I don’t get out of the house every couple days! It’s also nice to work outside the home every now and then. Sometimes I will go to a Starbucks or Panera for a few hours to get away. I always welcome that change of scenery!
As someone who has struggled with working from home, I hope this post has been helpful to you. Here’s a quick recap of my tips for working from home:
- Set Up Your Workspace
- Minimize Distractions
- Set the Mood
- Take Breaks
- Take Care of Yourself
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments what you think of these tips and if you have any to add! Also make sure you check out some more awesome posts on Indy Mompreneurs!