Working from home... it's the dream, right?
(read: completely over glamorized)
The truth is, while some days I have semi-normal work hours... other days I'm editing like a mad woman into the wee hours of the morning. There are distractions (lots of them). There is chaos (hello toddler!). There are times I want to pull my hair out.
So what makes the biggest difference? (and please don't hate me)
Yup. It's true what they say. And I'll be the first to tell you that I am not (naturally) a very scheduled person. Routines were never my "thing". I could have a completely different "routine" everyday and it wouldn't bother me one bit. I even go weeks without coffee or tea simply because I forgot. Yikes. I know.
Here are a few things that I (a naturally very unscheduled person) do to keep myself more organized, more productive, and less stressed:
1) Get up early.
I know that part of the "lure" to working from home is that you don't have to wake up to an alarm. And trust me, I was more then happy to kiss mine goodbye for several years. But it's back, and I'm actually HAPPY about it.
My main goal with this was to have time before my daughter wakes up to devote to meditation, exercise, reading, etc.
Now, this little girl is an early riser, generally awake and ready to play and eat breakfast by 6:15am. And this used to be my "alarm clock". But I realized I needed headspace, so I now get up at 5am. everyday. (I'll share more on my sleep/morning routine soon)
2) Write out my goals for the day
Writing out my top 3 big picture (business) goals helps give me more focus. Keeping my most important one on the top, and having it be the first thing I tackle in my work day.
I also make a master to-do list of ALL the things I need to get done (whether they have a timeline yet or not). I generally do this at the beginning of the week and add to it (and hopefully cross off) as needed.
I personally have one list for business tasks and one list for home life/everything else. It's important to remember that this "master to-do list" is not meant to get all done the week (or even month) I make it, but is more of a release to get the task onto paper so it's not clogging my thoughts and so I can schedule it out when the time comes (with out forgeting what it was;).
3) Schedule out my time. (time block)
Writing down what I'd like to accomplish for the day is step one. The second (and most important) is to plan when I'll be doing what. Like, say checking my email or editing a job, etc. From what time to what time will I be doing each of those?
This will vary based on when you're most productive, what your childs schedule is (if you have one), and what errands you may have for the day. **side note: having a calendar with an hour by hour schedule is a huge help!**
Eventually, you learn what's consistent in your schedule and can plan the time blocks in advance. - *it should also be noted that I do have days that are geared more towards work, and days that are geared more towards home life.*
4) Have a dedicated workspace.
Although not a make or break, I find this to be very helpful. Up till recently I was just working at our dinning table, but then we got a simple long desk for our library/guest space that both my husband and I can sit at.
We love having a space dedicated to work, and that we can still sit together (like we used to at our dining table). The space that you use does not have to be large in anyway, but simply having a spot in your home that's dedicated to work is so helpful to get "in the zone" right when you sit down.
5) Set a timer.
Part of having time blocks is sticking to them. I set a timer both to get business work done or to get house work done. I've got to say this probably makes the biggest difference for me when it comes to getting. it. done. Especially in a short amount of time.
When I was a kid my mom would set a timer and say "lets clean as much as we can in 10 minutes"... I hated it. But now? I love it. You'd be amazed at how much you can get done in 10 (or 15 or 30) minutes. *thanks, mom!*
6) Get out of the house.
Wait. Isn't this a "working from home" post?
It is. BUT I've learned that to be my most productive I need to set aside work time away. On shoot or consult days I'm definitely out of the house, but besides that most of my work is done on my phone and laptop. And although that means I could technically work from my bed, it's really important for me to get out of the house.
I aim to work outside of the home 2+ times a week. I used to go to a local coffee shop, but I recently started renting from a co-working space called Thrive. I was introduced to Thrive through Dala (the designer of the amazing space) who hired me to photograph the interior and I love it! It's so nice to have somewhere quiet to go and get work done, and bonus: you're surrounded by inspiring business women. Win win.
p.s. If you're in the east valley and looking for a work space, I highly recommend them! Find more info: HERE.
So those are a few ways I make working from home work for me.
Do you work from home? I'd love to hear your tips!