Working from home is one of the best things about running your own business. And this last year, SO many of us learned why it’s nice to be able to work from your own cozy desk or kitchen table… and why it’s not always great either. Over the last few years of working at home while raising a kid, I’ve learned a few things about making sure I actually get things done from my home office. I’m excited to be sharing my top three tips for setting up my day for success while working at home!
Create a prioritized to do list.
Whether you’re a paper person or an electronic one, find a system to create a to do list for yourself. And then prioritize the tasks on that list. It’s GREAT to simply brain dump for the week… but if you don’t prioritize it, focusing on what’s most important when you have limited time can be difficult. Think about which deadlines are first, and which projects are bigger. Break things down into manageable chunks and focus on getting through things one task at a time.
Find the software you like and stick with it.
There’s an incredible number of platforms out there for just about anything you can imagine: lists, team communication, social media planning, you name it – it’s out there. The reality is, you don’t have to use them all. Find the ones that work for you and stick to those. Some of my favorite include Slack for communication, Voxer for voice messages, and Trello to provide tasks to my assistants and collaborators. Staying organized can help you from getting distracted by notifications on 8 different platforms while you’re at home.
I don’t know where the idea came from that because you’re working at home, you aren’t able to take breaks. But give yourself time to breathe and relax, as you work each day. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is to STOP eating lunch at my desk. I try really hard to eat away from my desk so I can actually relax and take a little break. Give yourself breaks every hour for a quick chore or a chance to read (or whatever relaxes you!). It can be tempting to focus on all of the things that need to get done (I see that laundry over there, too!) instead of work. But if you give yourself time for that later – or even a quick break to stretch and fold that laundry, it’ll all be under control before you know it.
Bonus Tip: Set office hours!
Another big tip that’s helped has been to create office hours. These are shared with clients so that I can establish boundaries between my work and family time. Although it’s not always perfect, I’m being really careful about actually responding only during those times for my own sanity. I encourage you to set some boundaries for yourself too! Turn off the computer, shut the door (if you can) and move onto something fun when your work hours are over.
Working from home is amazing most days. But I totally get how it feels when work and life start to blend together. Or when you feel obligated to work on a sunny Saturday morning because there’s work to do. While I’m never an advocate for ignoring work that has to be done, I’m a HUGE advocate of creating and following boundaries for yourself so that your day can be focused and successful.