Although I absolutely adore my coworking space, sometimes I really just want to stay and work at home. Working from home looks especially enticing after I’ve been traveling or perhaps I’m feeling less energetic than usual.
The truth is sometimes I really just don’t want to be bothered with putting on regular clothes and dealing with traffic. Sometimes I just want to stay in my cocoon, get work done and chill out.
Of course, working from home isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, I’d make the argument that working from home can be especially difficult at times – especially if you live with other people or have kids. The former is actually one of the primary reasons why I ended up going to coworking space in the first place.
With that being said, working from home is a great privilege for many of us and it can be done. You just need to put in some strategies to make sure you can work from home effectively.
Have a dedicated work space.
If you can, make sure you have a dedicated work space when working from home. This could look like a home office or even a specific corner of a room where your mind and body will know what’s up.
If you don’t have the space for that, or if you like to move around like I do, I have found that it’s helpful to note where you can’t get any work done to save your life.
For example, I refuse to work from bed. As tempting as it is to do, I know I won’t be as focused and will probably end up taking a nap instead.
Have your rituals and routines.
Morning rituals and routines are all the rage these days. Just go to any major business media outlet and you’ll find at least 15 articles about how millionaires and CEOs structure their mornings.
Why is this such a big deal? Because how you start your day actually matters. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that having rituals and routines is even more important if you plan on working from home.
My logic behind this is that I find it easier to stick to rituals and routines when I’m going to my coworking space. I know what time I have to be there, I know to meditate for 10 minutes, I have my breakfast, I know when to break for lunch and I know when to leave.
However, when I work from home this all tends to go out the window. Simply put, I get lazy. Really lazy.
That’s why if I’m choosing to work from home on a given day then I make sure to follow the same rituals and routines that I would if I were going to my coworking space.
At the very least, I make sure to meditate and actually take a lunch break. This helps my mind and body prepare itself for work because that’s they associate with getting down to business.
Use whatever tools you need to help you get work done.
Because working from home is sometimes more difficult than going to a coffee shop or a coworking space, I pull out all the productivity stops to make sure I actually sit down and get something done. Here are a few of them:
- Using SelfControl for Mac to block websites I use to procrastinate. In other words, I block YouTube so I don’t get sucked into a black hole. I also block news sites.
- Using Newsfeed Eradicator for Google Chrome so that my Facebook feed is replaced with an inspiring quote. If I can’t see what people are posting then I can’t get into it.
- Using brain wave radio especially geared for productivity. This stuff is magic and it works.
- If I’m really struggling then I’ll use something like to Pomodoro Method which times you. Truth be told sometimes I just feel like I need a challenge.
- All the holistic tools I can find. Aromatherapy candles, crystals, incense, whatever. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but when I need to really hunker down I don’t care as long as I feel like it’s working.
Is some of this overkill? Maybe. Do I always use all of these things? Only on the days when I really feel like I’m struggling when I’m working from home.
Set boundaries with other people when working from home.
The downside of working from home is a lot of people – including those you live with – may feel like you’re not actually doing anything. They’ll ask you clean something up, cook, run an errand or they’ll just constantly interrupt you.
You have to set boundaries with people. Whether they live with you, are blowing your phone or are in your inbox.
Sometimes this looks like putting a sign on the door. Sometimes it sounds like saying, “Sure I can do that when I’m done working. That will be around 5 pm.” And, sometimes, it just looks like ignoring people.
Frankly, this really isn’t any different than a lot of the boundaries you would have to set if you weren’t working from home. The only difference is at an office it’s assumed that you’re working. People don’t necessarily make the same assumption when you work from home.
Ask for help.
I don’t have kids, but I do have colleagues who have small children and have a nanny. The nanny takes the kids a couple of times a week so my colleagues can actually get some work done from home.
For some reason, we have this cultural aversion to asking for help. We’re somehow weak, far too privileged or bad parents if God forbid we ask and pay for help. This has led to some very cranky people with lots of opinions.
Like I already said, I don’t have kids. But, if I did, you bet I’d be asking for help so I can actually get something done.
Working from home is one of the best parts about running a business and living in the age of technology. While it’s not always easy, it is worth it.