Your work-from-home cheat sheet
I’m going to be brutally honest with you – I freaking LOVE working from home. But there are some aspects of it that are really HARD (I’m saying this in my best Cher from Clueless voice) and it took me a while to really get into the swing of things! It’s so easy when you’re home to turn on the television, take a nap, grab a snack, and fall headfirst into a Golden Girls rerun and pretty soon it’s 5pm and your whole day is gone!
But it doesn’t have to be like that and my pain points don’t have to be yours. Below I’m revealing (sounds fancy, huh) to you my tried and true steps to running a successful business from home with simple daily tasks that will set you up for weeks, months, and YEARS of success!
Dedicate a specific workspace/beauty space/YOU corner
Here’s the thing: when you go into an office you have a desk, pens, paper, a computer, and tasks. When a builder builds a home he or she typically has blueprints (plan), hammers, nails, drills, etc. - everything they need to do their job. So it just makes sense that you too, need a designated workspace that has everything you need to be successful. For me, it’s a room in my home that has all of my photography and video setup, all of my inventory, and my computer! That way, I’m not wasting time running all over my house looking for things I need and running the risk of getting side-tracked. My mind and body know that when I go in this room, I’m working on world domination ;)
Choose a morning 'start' and Get ready for the day
Find something in the morning that will be an official “start” to your day. Without an official start to your day, it is easy to waste time and not be productive, and the next thing you know, it's 2 o’clock and you haven’t accomplished anything. It happened to me all the time when I first started working from home. For me, my start to the day is going to the gym. For you, it may be yoga, reading a daily news app, reading for twenty minutes from a book, or a variety of other options. But START!
After completing your morning “start”, get ready for the day. I have found that when I get ready for the day, I am much more productive. It helps me get in the right mindset. How many times have you stayed in your pajamas and worked all day? It’s tempting but try getting ready for the day and see the difference.
Make a schedule that's realistic, not idealistic.
Man, wouldn't it be great to wake up every day at 5 AM, run ten miles, make pancakes and execute on a 5-minute face and blowout, and start work at 8 on the dot? I know some people do it, but not me. I'm more of an average morning girl — I don't prefer to wake up before it's necessary.
That said, I'm pretty sure that every article, ever, about working from home advises adherence to a daily schedule. Yes, schedules are important. If babies need them to sleep, you definitely need them to be your most productive throughout the day. BUT the best schedule is the one that helps you be your best, most productive self, while also being realistic. Figure out what rituals make you feel your best and build in time for them, but don't commit yourself to something that feels reaching. You'll just give up and feel down in the dumps.
As an add-on to this one, schedule your vacation days as well.
With the freedom to travel and arrange your schedule as you please, it’s easy to schedule long trips without working during that time. I have found that my “sweet spot” for vacation days and traveling is 3-4 days. Anything longer than that and my business suffers. It took me a while to realize that so I’m hoping you can avoid it altogether. Treat traveling and vacation as a reward for your hard work with your business, but make sure you are working sufficiently to reward yourself.
Organize a must-do list each day
Every night before I go to bed, I create a list of 3-4 important things that I must get done the next day. So much of my time each day was evaporating by answering emails, scrolling social media, replying to chats, and not really having my head in the game. If you don't watch it, you can spend your whole day just maintaining your work equilibrium instead of getting ahead of it. So I find that a short list of what I must get done every day is essential!
Once I complete the list, it has an added benefit of boosting my own sense of productivity and accomplishment. Since I don’t have the normal ‘You just completed a whole day of work’ satisfaction that leaving an office to head home creates, I can sometimes feel like I toiled away for eight hours and have nothing to show for it. ("I'm still right here with my laptop where I was this morning!") An active checklist reassures me that I finished significant work.
BATCH YOUR WORK
Do you ever come across an idea that is so revolutionary to you but seems like the most logical thing ever? This is batching my work for me. This one is all in big letters because I can’t stress this enough! Use specific days for specific tasks and get as many of that task done as possible on that specific day! For me, Monday is content creation day. All day is spent creating content for the week. That means taking pictures, writing posts, scheduling posts. With assigning specific tasks to days of the week, you will be able to get much more done. If you have a lot of blog posts to write, schedule a day where you can just knock those out! You can even assign a networking day, which means meeting with friends at your favorite lunch spot (mine is Sodalicious, not a lunch, more like a sugar cooking and soda). One trap I fell in to when I first started working from home was monotony. As the owner of your business, keep things fun and interesting. There’s no point in working from home if you are bored and hating life, right?
BONUS: TREAT YO’SELF
A lot of people think rewards come in the form of new purses, clothes, cars…but I’m talking about those daily or weekly practices and rituals that make you feel awesome and ready to take on the day. Even though they're not directly work-related, rituals that we love will absolutely help move you closer to your goal. It could be something like:
- Going to the gym or running
- Walking to your favorite fro-yo or lunch spot
- Listening to an uplifting or energizing playlist
- Going on a play-date with a friend (yes, even adults need these)
- Throwing the ball around for your dog
When you work from home, small feelings of discouragement or hurdles can sometimes drag you down even deeper, because you lack the energy of a group of people to remind you that everything's OK and, dangit, that people like you. A few self-friendly rituals will pull you up and get you on productive ground. Rituals and rewards are IMPORTANT! They help us queue up for additional work because we know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you've been at this whole work-from-home thing for a while, these tips can be applied at any part of your journey and be just as effective as if you applied them day one!
P.S. If you're not currently working from home and would like to, send me a message or email and I'll let you know how you can make that a reality!