I’m straying away from my usually lifestyle pieces to turn to a topic I’ve been quite familiar with for the last six months or so: working from home. It’s both the best thing in the world, and many times, the worst. I like waking up at 8:30 in the morning and working from my bed, but that only lasts so long until I start chugging endless cups of coffee and bouncing off the walls, probably blasting the latest Drake album or something. I don’t do that in an office. The best way to learn how to work from home comes with pretending you’re going into a office, forget that you’re in your own living quarters, and create an office space, even if you don’t have an additional room.
It should be easy to work from home, right? Hmm…maybe for you, but I’m a coffee addict and me + coffee + my apartment = a recipe for disaster and a lack of accomplishments.
Follow these tips to maintain your sanity while typing away from the luxury of your bed:
1. Turn Off Your Phone and Put it Away
This one is my number one favorite. Ever since I decided to take the “smart phone leap” my junior year in college, I’ve been a fiend since. It’s not on purpose, it just is. (I’m trying to get better.) To be honest, knowing you may have a message or two awaiting for you during your lunch break is more fun than always responding to your messages right as they come in. In fact, research from The Harvard Business Review suggests that sound alerts from your phone, whether it be a simple ding or vibration, can make you less productive and more prone to mistakes.
Do you ever get annoyed when someone doesn’t respond right away? Don’t focus on the negative and start getting what really needs to be done accomplished.
2. Stay Away From Your Social Media Accounts
Seriously, whether or not your friends are “re-gramming” last week’s impromptu vacation or just about TBT it doesn’t matter. You can care about that once 5 o’clock comes around…if at all 😉 Around 60 to 80 percent of Americans admit they don’t go online for anything necessary, but rather to kill time or be entertained.
Social media is great if it helps benefit you for work, but your personal accounts won’t benefit you any. It doesn’t matter during your work hours what your friends ate for dinner last night, or that your neighbor bought a new watch. Chances are, you won’t feel any better checking social media anyway.
Reddit, Imgur, even Twitter are everyday websites I go to for work, but I make sure to never log into my own account. It’s a dead-end!
3. Stop With the FOMO
Ok, you’re not in an office with a puppy or a Keurig machine, or you’re not getting free bagels on Friday. It’s okay! You didn’t have to commute, you’re working from the comfort of your home, and you can buy your own bagels for only a few dollars a bag. Or, better yet, grab some fruit and veggies or whip yourself up an omelette! You can’t do that in an office.
When all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with checking out some TED talks on productivity!
4. Coffee Shops are Work Spaces Too
Sometimes when I’m feeling down or unproductive, I hit up one of my neighborhood coffee spaces, which I know is good for working. (Atmosphere = everything!) When you’re around other productive people, you can be more productive too, even if you go in for just a few hours. Get a headstart on your work, and you’ll be done in no time.
5. Silence is Golden
Do you ever feel a constant need to put in ear buds when you’re at work because of all the outside sound? Yeah, well, who’s talking when you’re at home? (Unless your dog is yapping or you’ve got a roommate!)
Appreciate the silence, but if it’s getting to you, then take a trip outside, call a friend, turn on some productivity-enhancing music, whatever it may be that helps you concentrate. In fact, Business Insider recommends nature sounds with no lyrics to help you stay on task and even enhance your cognitive functioning.
6. Set Goals For Yourself
I love setting goals for myself, especially when I work from home. I used to struggle to write a 400-word article in several days in college, and now I aim to write 500-600 words in an hour. Not rushing or being sloppy with my writing, just making sure I block out any distractions and just writing. There’s always time for editing, but it’s much easier to edit when you already have something to work with.
7. Give Yourself Breaks
No one ever suggested working 8-hour days without getting up for food, exercise, sanity breaks, etc. You’re at home after all, so take some time to turn on the TV for a little while, binge on some daytime television (oh what fun!) and go back to work. You’ll probably enjoy working more than watching those terrible re-runs on TV.
If you work best in sprints of 3-4 hours, then set an alarm for a specific time to remind yourself to get up and take a break. If it’s warm outside, I try and run during my lunch breaks or even take a walk. Figure out what works best for you!
8. Think Longterm Benefits
Last I checked, you can’t get a promotion, a raise, or a congratulatory thank you from your boss or peers when you’re perusing endless cat videos on YouTube. Think about what you wish to accomplish from your job, your work, your career, even a month down the road. Do you have big dreams and goals for yourself? I sure hope so!
9. Have a Schedule and Stick To It
When I’m working from home, I like to plan my day right when I wake up in the morning and make sure I don’t spend too much time on one task. If I know I have a blog post to write that day, I’ll try and dedicate an hour to research so I don’t start going off-track. If I have a huge post to promote by the end of the week, I’ll spend a few hours during the day making sure I’m all set to promote right as the piece goes live.
10. Reaching Success
Remember, productivity is good! Accomplishing your tasks feels amazing, especially when you go above and beyond to complete your goals. Reserve the “fun” stuff for your lunch break and please please please don’t check your Facebook unless you’re posting your latest article for work! Only you can figure out how to work from home to achieve the most success.