People always ask me how I manage to get anything done when they find out I work from home. “I would just sleep in till like noon everyday,” is one I hear all the time. Honestly, working from home can be just as worthwhile as working in a professional setting, you’ve just got to know your boundaries and limits. If you’ve considered working from home but don’t know if you’d be able to manage it, here are six tips from yours truly on how to stay on task and get a ton done while still being your own boss.
1. Set an alarm and wake up when it goes off. You know, so you don’t sleep in till noon? If you want to be productive, you’ve got to think of what you’re doing at home as a real job. Be as hard on yourself as a real boss would be, and I don’t think a real boss would take kindly to coming in to work at 12. For me, my alarm is my husband. When he gets up to go to school (he’s a teacher, so he goes in at 7 am), I get up and start my day. I don’t let myself sleep any later.
2. Make a daily list of to-dos. This is the best way to start your day – think of all the tasks you need/want to accomplish and write them down in a neat list. As you get these tasks done, cross them off and have tangible proof to how much you’ve gotten done! I even put personal things like working out on my to-do list. It helps me organize my day.
3. Take breaks if you need to. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to be working every second. Give yourself half and hour for lunch, fifteen every now and then to enjoy the sunshine. Taking breaks always helps freshen me up, especially in between tasks.
4. Break up your day into different categories. For instance, in the mornings I tend to work on computer stuff – dictations for my transcription business, blog writing, any Etsy or social media promoting for Peels and Posies. Around ten, I’ll package any outstanding orders and get them ready to take to the post office at lunch time. In the afternoons I work on product development. It’s a basic and flexible arrangement, so if I need to make adjustments I can, but it really helps me make the most of my day.
5. Set a time to “go home.” Obviously, you’re already home. But when working from home it’s important not to let it take over your whole life. You still need family time and though it’s super easy to get sucked in to work when it’s right at your fingertips, it’s simply not conducive to your emotional well-being. Obviously, there will be some days when you may need to work late, and that’s okay – just try not to make it a habit. My work day generally ends when my husband gets home. In the late afternoons I allow myself to cook and bake, read, watch a little tv, and hang out with my husband. It’s great.
6. Enjoy yourself. This is ultimately the most important thing about working from home. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing at home, you need to find a new job, something that you do enjoy! The main reason people decide to quit their “day jobs” is to do something more exciting and personally rewarding – so hopefully that’s how you feel too. I wake every day and feel blessed that I get to stay home and do what I love – not many people are able to do this.
Do you have any more tips on how to stay on task while working from home? Leave your thoughts in the comments!