I have been working from home since I started writing for an online magazine when I was 16. Since then, home office is basically all I know. I occasionally work from coworking centres and more often from coffee shops, but it’s still the same. There’s no boss who will make you work on time. No one tells me what’s the most important task of the day. I’ve learnt all the pitfalls of having no discipline and routine. Here’s what they are.
1. Making Coffee Is A Way Of Procrastination
I often catch myself thinking of I should make a cup of coffee while I’m working. While there’s nothing wrong with it, having your 3rd cup of coffee or tea in less than 3 hours is a way of procrastination and avoiding doing the work. My suggestion – have a limit and don’t go over it. Or take deliberate breaks and make more coffee only during the breaks.
2. Routine Is Your Saviour
If your workday is different every day, it can be difficult to get the work done. Although sometimes it’s impossible to keep a routine and changes in your schedule are inevitable when you work for yourself, I am more efficient when I do certain tasks repeatedly. Most importantly, I perform certain tasks on certain days of the week. For example, Mondays are dedicated to meetings and consulting, while Thursdays and Fridays to creating content.
3. You Need A Separate Workspace
Limited workspace can sometimes be tricky. If you don’t have a separate office room, you will most likely have to rely on having a desk in your bedroom, living room or kitchen. If that’s the case, make sure your desk provides everything you need. Another hint: don’t work deliberately from your bed. As soon as you turn that into a habit, it will be hard to tell apart what is your work time and what’s your rest/sleep time.
4. You’re Not Supposed To Clean Up The House
I like to excuse myself from work by doing the housework. It’s a typical pitfall I’ve heard from many people working from home, especially women. There’s nothing wrong with doing the dishes when you have your lunch, but don’t try to do much more than that. Even doing the laundry may look innocent because the washing machine does it for you, but it may take more time than you think. I suggest to leave any cleaning up for evenings or weekends when you don’t work.
5. Working In Your Pyjamas Won’t Cut It
When I started to work from home, I admit I enjoyed having the choice of being lazy. That included not changing from my PJs or not putting my makeup on. Today, although I work from comfy home wear, I don’t even think about working from pyjamas or not putting my makeup on. If I don’t, I feel weird. Only because I know when I do that, I’m ready to do the work.
6. Social Life Stops You From Overworking
One of the best things I’ve discovered from working from home is that how much value my social life has. In fact, it’s probably the only thing that stops me from overworking. If I don’t schedule a dinner or drinks with friends in the evening, I tend to work longer. Of course it’s probably not possible to go out with friends every day – truth is, any activity in the evening will do. So whether you cook at home for your spouse or go to the gym, it all counts. Put it in your calendar and stick to it.
7. You Need People Around You
If you work from home, sometimes days can turn into weeks without seeing a human being. However, being surrounded with people is more important than you think. It takes you away from the boredom and makes you more productive. Eating out for lunch can help you get some fresh air and ideas, and talking to a friend will bring some positive mood into your day.
What are your tips and tricks that keep you healthy and sane while you work from home?