SEVEN TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME, WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND,
PLUS 10 THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR TIME AS A BLOGGER!
Amidst the global pandemic that’s impacting every area of our lives (I’m asking myself daily: “Should I be buying more loo roll?” “Should we be chancing the cinema?” “Should I sack off my meetings in London?”) it seems the increasing advice is that, if you can, you should be working from home. Although a huge proportion of the work force just doesn’t have that option, if you’re lucky enough to be able to step from your bed into your makeshift office then now is the time to embrace it.
I’ve been working from home-slash-coffee-shops for nearly seven years, and over that time I’ve definitely learned the best (and worst) ways to structure my day and ensure I don’t slip into bad habits. Much to the disappointment of the generation who think the self-employed just fanny about all day, it’s not all getting up at midday and working from the sofa in your PJs; at least, it’s not if you want to be efficient and successful.
So if you’re a young creative just starting out, a self employed whizz who’s going at it alone, or just an office worker looking to find salvation in working from home for the foreseeable future, there are some things you can do to make it a more pleasurable and efficient experience.
Here are my seven tips for working from home, without losing your mind…
So simple, but it makes such a difference. Sure, I may have days when I’m so focused on what I’m doing that I don’t get dressed until 11am, but on the whole I’m ready to crack on sans-PJs by early morning. Even if it’s jeans and a jumper, or your stretchy yoga leggings and a cardigan, putting on clothes helps get you out of that sleepy state and into a more focused one immediately.
FIND A GOOD WORKING ENVIRONMENT
The first few months of my self employment journey were spent sat on the sofa, because I didn’t really have another option. But as soon as I was able, I set up a home office that was separate from my relaxing, socialising or sleeping space – which really helps get your mind in the best place for being productive. Being able to shut the door at the end of the day (or pack away your dining room table,) really does keep the distance between work and play while allowing you to keep to working hours as much as possible. If I’m sat in a suitable chair, with my laptop at a suitable height, I’m more comfortable and in the headspace to get sh*t done.
STRUCTURE YOUR DAY
I try to stick to a daily routine as much as possible, setting my alarm for 7.30am and usually being at my laptop by 8.30am. I may change what time I get showered and dressed, when I walk the dog and when I take my lunch, but having an overall structure really helps. My mornings are usually spent doing the more admin-based tasks, as well as taking photos or recording video content, while my afternoons are more creative and often when I get writing or brainstorming. Come 5.30pm I try to wind down, knowing that my husband will be home imminently and we’ll start prepping dinner; that’s the cut-off I need to stop me working all the way through to bedtime.
WRITE A TO-DO LIST
A to-do list is a must for me, as it’s something I really live from in any area of my life; writing down all the tasks you want to get done (no matter how big or small) helps not only to keep your focused, but gives you a sense of accomplishment when you seen them being ticked off one by one. I usually have an overall to-do list with everything I know I need to get done at some point, as well as a daily one with everything I know I need to achieve by the time I clock off; I even have one for personal things, which I attempt to tackle during my breaks, so I never forget anything super urgent. (That’s the theory anyway!)
Clear away the mess before you sit down, put your phone in a drawer and don’t be tempted to catch up on the next episode of The Stranger. It’s so easy to find yourself wasting time when you’re not in the structured environment of an office, so it’s even more imperative you reduce as many distractions as possible. Personally I love to either work in silence or have Radio 1 on in the background (which plays the same 20 songs on repeat and turns into a blur over time!) as listening to my favourite tunes or podcasts means I’m not focusing on what I’m doing.
ALLOW FOR REGULAR BREAKS
It’s healthy to want to step away from your computer, so make time every hour for a ten minute leg-stretch or scroll on your phone; step outside every couple of hours to get some fresh air and look at something other than a screen, and if you can afford an hour out for your lunch, go for a walk around the block once you’ve eaten your sandwich. My maximum productivity level is about two hours, and after that time I almost need to ‘re-set’ so I can come back with the cobwebs blown away and my creativity amd focus restored.
FIND CONNECTIONS & NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS
One of the main downsides of working from home (and for yourself in general) is the lack of contact with others; as humans we thrive off interaction, so it can be tricky when you find yourself operating solo. Right now we’re being advise not to spend our days surrounded by people if we can help it, so finding connections and conversations online is your best option. There are amazing communities on Facebook that discuss issues, offer advice and generally chat about everything you can possibly imagine (I’m specifically a member of female creative and blogging groups,) while Twitter is a great platform to connect and chat with likeminded people. I have a number of WhatsApp group chats with friends, colleagues and other bloggers which really helps me to feel connected on a daily basis – but often it’s just the conversations that happen in my Insta DMs that make me feel like I’m not completely isolated.
If you’re a blogger or influencer who already works from home (or spends most of there time in coffee shops,) you may have nailed your strategy already. But what should you be doing to ensure these quieter weeks are still super productive and allow you to prep for the rest of the year? Here are ten things you could be filling your to-do list with:
- Brainstorm new content ideas and think about what you want to achieve for the rest of 2020
- Pitch to new brands or re-connect with brands you’ve loved working with
- Create a bulk of new content to get ahead of yourself and feel prepared for every eventuality
- Audit your social media channels, checking your bio / links / pinned content
- Focus on your Pinterest page, creating new pins and boards that support forthcoming trends and topics
- Embrace LinkedIn as a way of connecting with those in the industry and showcasing your skills
- Update (or create) your media kit, including your key stats and fees
- Start to build an email list and create a regular newsletter
- Discover new blogs and content creators you want to connect with and support
- Invest in yourself by finding e-courses, panel events, workshops and retreats you can be part of
Will you be working from home more over the coming weeks?
How else do you ensure a productive day working from home, if your self employed or otherwise?
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