Working from home presents a whole myriad of things you don't have to think of when you're in a structured or semi-controlled environment. I've been self-employed for the best part of a decade and mostly worked at home. It sounds like an ideal situation but in my experience unless you get a few baseline rules implemented it can be occasionally tough and feel unproductive and lonely.
Household tasks can wait
Ignore the washing, dishwasher, bins and sink full of dishes. If you were in an office and not able to see them, they wouldn't be distracting. The expression done is better than perfect is so important to me and in the morning if I give the table a quick wipe and things look fine, then I'll leave it and get on with my work. It's very tempting to think you'll do all the jobs then get to work but before you know it, it's lunch time and the morning has been spent cleaning up or pottering about. I'm not advocating having a messy house, but just cultivating the art of leaving well enough alone and focusing on your work and yourself during your designated working hours... which brings me to my next point.
Have somewhat regular hours and don't do 'out of office'
I try my best to keep 'office hours' between 9.30 and 5. I get a buzz when I'm busy and there is a list of things to do, it's the quiet times where I find myself feeling a bit lost. Long-term though those quiet times have proven to be the most productive long-term. This is when the exploring and the re-evaluating happens and I reach out to clients, pitch new ideas and generate interest. If I go out or I am away I check my phone regularly and I never put on an out-of-office. I don't get inundated with emails so it's not too much to deal with but equally I want to be as efficient as possible. I know people will say how important it is to factor in time-out but I also know that if you work in an office and are on leave someone else will respond in your absence. I don't think until you are completely established that you can leave people hanging. If they're on a deadline they could find someone else to do the job. The luxury is that you can be replying from a coffee shop or poolside, but my advice is stay a little plugged in an even if on holiday designate half an hour a day to go through and reply to people promptly. Also on your return you won't be overloaded with emails to catch up on.
Don't switch on the TV during the day.
I sound very strict here but personally I have never been one of those people who can type away with the TV blaring. I also think that having things like the news on permanently in the background can really affect your mood. In a calm environment I am most productive. I have a few playlists of Ted Talks or Hay House I listen but in general I avoid the news or too much live radio when I'm on a deadline. At six o'clock or so turning on the tv feels like the end of the day.
Let those around you know you work Monday to Friday full-time.
This sounds very obvious but what I am getting at is that if people feel you are available freely during the week they will call upon you. Sometimes it's lovely and I have definitely enjoyed a few afternoons hanging out in the park with my friends on maternity leave, staying in coffee shops too long, getting my hair done and so on, but in general I try not to give off the impression that I am around all the time, because I'm not. Favours will always be needed and while I'm not saying don't help out, in normal working circumstances you have responsibilities and when you work for yourself I feel you have to enforce this, even if there isn't external pressure.
Have a working wardrobe
The joys of being at home is that you could work from bed in your Pj's every day if needs be but in my experience getting in and out of working clothes has a huge effect on your mindset. At the end of the day there's nothing nicer than getting into something comfy but during the day even just being casually dressed makes me feel so much more productive. I find if I spend more that 2 days in my slob gear it really affects my mood. Luckily I have quite a few working events to go to that require me to make the effort and I always feel uplifted and recharged afterwards. Simple pieces like this jumper, which is currently one of my go-to pieces and these jeans which are also comfortable yet also presentable tick all the right boxes.
This is something I cannot say I have been doing for a long time but in those few weeks when I have been organised enough and had some Tupperware in the fridge, it's been great. I find that if I don't have something I can't prepare quickly I tend to keep on snacking all day, drinking more coffee and actually skip lunch and then come four o'clock I am shattered tired and unproductive. I also think that even if you work from home and don't have any sort of an official lunch hour, you should try and implement this. Again I'm not great and sometimes those 5 minute naps turn into an afternoon gone, but in an ideal world breaking away from your laptop during the day can only be a good thing.
As I sit writing this it's 9.30 so I've already broken whatever guideline I said about switching off but this is a post that's been on my desktop for a while and I really wanted to share it!
I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know if you have any more tips for working at home?
Lots of love,