How To Kick Ass Working From Home

Working from home always used to be seen as a privilege, something that only super important people did in order to get some piece and quiet, but as the world of work evolves ‘working from home’ is as normalised as ‘how many sugars do you take in your tea?’ More and more offices are downsizing and encouraging their workforce to stay at home, while others live hours away from their company’s base and so are forced to work remotely; with the increase in freelancers and content creators, it leaves a whole new generation working from the comfort of their own sofa. Having been self-employed for over four years, I’m used to to balance required to make it work. Although it sounds like fun and an excuse to stay in your PJs all day, the realities can be very different; it’s not as easy as popping open your laptop and watching daytime telly (although that does happen sometimes!) but instead requires a mindset to ensure you’re just as effective as you would be working in an office environment. If you’re considering working from home more often, or simply want to maximise your efficiency if you’re self employed, here are my golden tips to help… You’re welcome.

The biggest issue for me when moving into my present flat was to have a separate work space from the rest of my living environment. Having spent a few years working from my sofa or bedroom, I knew it wasn’t ideal to my productivity.  If space allows I would always recommend having a specific space or room from which to work, which allows you to mentally separate and retain a work-life balance; I know I can close the door to my office at the end of the day and enjoy the rest of my evening work free. My living room is for relaxing, my bedroom is for sleeping and my office is for working – if you can help it, there shouldn’t be any overlap! If you’re really short of space, even setting up in the corner of a room or having a designated place at your dining room table helps to keep the line between work and play clear. 

Recently I’ve got into bad habits of spending too much of my morning faffing, cleaning or watching The Wright Stuff, and I know it sets me up badly for the rest of the day. I’m always my most productive when I get up and ready like I would if I was leaving for the office, even if it’s so much easier to have a rummage around the cupboards or catch up on Broadchurch during lunchtime. Don’t sleep in, slouch about in your jimjams all day or refuse to do your hair: feeling ready to face the day is as much about looking it as it is being emotionally prepared. 

Eating well at home can be a challenge when there’s a biscuit tin overflowing, but shopping for appropriate breakfast and lunchtime items at the start of the week will ensure a full belly and a focused mind. You don’t want to be scoffing sugary snacks or cereals, nor do you want to be devouring packets of crisps or reaching for the chocolate come 3pm; stock up on soups, cracker toppings, healthy fruit bars and ingredients for great salads and you’ll be feeding your brain as well as your body. I know I always regret a sweetie binge when I slump a few hours later, so having a bowl of nuts at arms length pays off in more ways than one.

I spend so much time in my local Starbucks that I could probably call the baristas close personal friends. They know my order (coconut iced latte with a shot of sugar free vanilla, FYI) because I like to sit and work while sipping on my coffee, the change offering the perfect new surroundings for a refreshed mind. When your home environment gets a bit claustrophobic, setting up shop somewhere else for the afternoon provides no distractions and allows me personally to get sh*t done. I can’t find distractions or mooch around looking for something to eat: I just have to sit in one spot and concentrate on the task in hand. (Bonus points for Starbucks for providing ace WiFi and tonnes of charging points!) 

Sometimes I can go days without leaving the house or talking to other people, so it’s important to make those connections and arrange days to catch up with fellow creative or self-employed types. Even sitting around chatting with your laptops open can give you the connections we naturally desire, boosting productivity for the rest of the week or simply providing you with ideas or inspiration. I try to get out once a week into London and meet up with my blogging crew every fortnight, and sometimes it really is a lifeline; when my friends at home are so busy with work and families (and it takes three months to arrange a dinner date,) these gals keep me sane and focused.

Do you have any other top tips for those of us regularly working from home? If you work from home, what is the one thing you really struggle with?

PS – hope you like my cool new geeky glasses, which are part of the Kylie range for Specsavers!

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  1. Mikki Bergman
    April 19, 2017 / 10:26 am

    Working from home is something im striving towards, and im trying to get more information about it before I do! Thank you for this post. It's probably going to be a lifesaver in a couple of years! <3 mikki

    • Hayley Carr
      April 19, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      Hope it helps! x

  2. Liv Slack
    April 19, 2017 / 10:33 am

    I love those glasses, the new Kylie range is so nice! Liv

    • Hayley Carr
      April 19, 2017 / 5:45 pm

      It really is! I got two pairs and have been living in them.

  3. DtF
    April 19, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Great sound advice for those adopting the new way of working. Also like the variety of topics on your blogs despite it being a beauty blog and me not being a beauty enthusiast 🙂

    • Hayley Carr
      April 19, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      Thank you – I'm trying to shake it up and not just write about beauty, as I'm interested in so many other things too. Glad you're enjoying it!

  4. Lucy Cole
    April 19, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Some fab tips here Hayley! I definitely like to plan my day if I'm working at home, I always think setting some targets of things to be done by the end of the day help too!xx Lucy x |

  5. Rebecca Jenkins
    April 20, 2017 / 3:54 am

    I don't exactly work from home, but am a student. I find I work better going to the local library to study, although I do often look through books afterwards. I usually buy a coffee and head to the library until I'm finished. I find my local Starbucks too loud, but do like one of the independent coffee shops if I'm not in need of internet at that time.

  6. Áine McGovern
    April 20, 2017 / 8:46 am

    My main struggle is managing multiple different projects and keeping up with them all. I'm getting the work done, but I can feel flustered and the odd time a wee mistake happens, which is annoying. My main thing is frustration at lack of ability to get my shit in order I think. I can't seem to figure our a system that works effectively. I manage multiple trello boards. I'd love an in depth look at how you schedule a work or something like that maybe? Honestly Aine

  7. Danielle Jones
    April 20, 2017 / 9:02 am

    Great piece. Only thing I would say is be careful about having "specific" space when it comes to tax assessment and household insurance if you're self-employed. If you have a specific room there are caveats regarding this can end up costing you. I split my time between my study, living room and dining room. Mixes it up a bit too 🙂

  8. Chichi
    April 25, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Thank you for the advice in this post. I started working from home months ago, and until I graduated last year I was a full-time student. I am still trying to find my feet as a freelancer, but I prefer working from home. I work in the mornings because that's when I am most productive. I don't have an office but I make sure I sit at a desk or table and I prefer not to work at coffee shops (just my preference.)

  9. Rachael Dickinson
    April 26, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Yes – great post! I always procrastinate so my new thing is to make sure I do a list and check it off as I have achieved stuff!Rachael xox

  10. Hayley Skivington
    April 26, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Working from home can be challenging. I agree with you Hayley, Routine, Set Up and those all important Coffee Shops are essential. I also recommend getting yourself ready for a day of work and avoid the pull of the PJ's and Netflix!

  11. last year's girl
    April 28, 2017 / 8:58 am

    The lack of a routine is one of the many things that discourages me from properly pursuing a freelance/project-based career – when you've got an office to go to, you don't have a choice but to get up and ready! I'm going part-time from next week though, and the dedicated workspace/daily routine points are two of the things that I'm going to be focusing on when I do!Lis / last year's girl x

  12. Aria A.
    April 30, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    I've been working from home for 4 years now and I agree that it's very important to have a specific workplace and stick to a daily routine. I find that I'm more productive when I follow a schedule as opposed to when I'm just doing whatever I want to do at a given time.I also have days when I don't feel like going out and would just prefer to stay at home and focus on work. But it's really important to go out every once in a while and interact with other people. I've found myself in situations where I feel so uneasy and uninspired because I've been holed up at home for a long period. I think another important tip would be to refrain from using social media as much as possible when working and only open apps when necessary. I easily get distracted by social media, and it takes me longer to finish my work when I'm checking on Twitter every so often lol.Aria x

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