How to Start Off Your Day
Even though you don’t have to endure “the pleasures” of commuting anymore, you still need to get up and get dressed before starting your workday. Even if that just means showering and trading your pj’s in for something equally comfortable and casual, because this allows you to transition from sleep to work mode (thus ensuring you’ll actually get some work done).
Location, location, location…
Working from home can also mean working from a coffee shop, the public library, or any public space with a good wifi connection. If you feel like you need to get out of your apartment to be productive, then do it. The world is your oyster. As long you don’t just go to the movies – that could only be construed as working in AMC’s Mad Men series. In reality, most of us find it difficult to compartmentalize our lives – keep our work separate from our private lives – and if you choose to work from home every day, it’s only going to get harder. But it’s not impossible! It takes a little bit of practice and a will of iron. The rest is pretty much up to you.
If you do, however, prefer the quiet confines of your home to the loud, hectic vibe of a Starbucks, craft your own working space at home. If you don’t have the luxury to set up a separate office space, choose a spot that will allow you to focus on your deadlines, instead of the pile of dishes that may or may not be distracting you every 5 minutes. Or, just remember that one of the biggest perks of working from home is the ability to work from bed if you want to. As long as you get the job done, nobody really cares where you’re working from.
Set Your Work Hours
Some people prefer more rigid schedules, 9 to 5 and whatnot, while others are perfectly satisfied spreading their working hours throughout the day – a few hours in the morning, a few in the evening. Some are night owls and can only work after most of us have already gone beddy-bye. We’re all different and we’ve got different needs.
The key is figuring out what works best for you. There are certain times during the day when our creativity levels are at their highest. Build your schedule around those hours. You’ll notice an uptick in your productivity, as well as that sense of accomplishment that usually comes after a long day’s work when you’ve managed to cross everything off your to-do list (or your imaginary one for that matter) and you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Have a Break, Have a KitKat
Whatever schedule you end up choosing, make sure you leave some room for a little R&R, be it a fun lunch with a friend, or a close encounter with your bed (a little midday snoozefest). Just as importantly, when the working day is done, make sure you disconnect. There are a million different things you can do, like reading, binge-watching your favorite Netflix show, or just staring vaguely into the air waiting for something interesting to happen. The point is to make a habit of remembering to do it every day.
You Don’t Have to Be a Buddhist Monk
Don’t isolate yourself completely. While dealing with the same coworkers on a daily basis is no small feat, depriving yourself of all social contact is not the answer. You can use Skype, Slack or even Google Hangouts to keep up with everything that’s happening at the office or connect with other freelancers. Having someone to ask, “What’s another word for…” and commiserate with over dreadful tasks or trying clients can help ease that sense of isolation, and provide you with the much-needed focus to complete your tasks.
Remember to Stay Active
One of the few benefits of working in an office is the daily commute, which for most people usually entails having to walk to and from the bus stop or subway station every day. That’s a minimum of exercise you’ll be cutting off completely if you choose to conduct your affairs from home, every day. The solution? Pick a time during the day when you’re least productive and go for a walk. It will help you clear your head while also getting some much needed cardio exercise. Or, take advantage of not having to go to an office and pick up a hobby – preferable sports-related. Choose an activity you’ll actually enjoy doing and that time during the day when inspiration refuses to be of help will actually seem productive.
Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…
Without any colleagues or managers to check up on you, it’s easy to get sidetracked. There’s always something that needs to be done around the house, some new Netflix series that everyone’s talking about – distractions come in many shapes and forms. And they can be overwhelming sometimes. But it’s best to steer clear of anything that might prevent you from being productive. Out of sight, out of mind. Keep any distractions out of arm’s reach, and turn off your phone to avoid incoming calls from family and friends. Or, better yet, get one of those productivity apps that block social media from both your phone and computer, keeping you from falling prey to procrastination.