Tips for Working from Home

August was my first month working full time from home. Working from home has been a huge blessing, as it provides me flexibility both in where I work and when I work, and for this I consider myself very lucky.  But to be honest, working from home is a bit of a challenge and can take some getting used to, and it certainly isn’t for everyone.  If you find yourself needing help with the transition I’m here to list my best tips and tricks for how to make working from home work for you.

A bit of background: My job is in the field of education, and I work for a university in a different state. I can mostly work autonomously – I know what I need to do, and I only need to communicate with my supervisor a couple times a week. All of my work is done on a computer, and I am allowed to work up to 40 hours a week in whatever combination of hours I want.  Basically, I can work 9-5 Monday-Friday, or I can work from midnight – 8AM.  Also, as long as I have a computer and wifi (sometimes not even wifi is necessary) I can get my work done.  So I can work from basically anywhere I can bring a computer to.  So, with all that in mind, here are my tips for working from home!

  1. Schedule it in your day.  I make sure that I get started early in the morning, but after my workout.  If you prefer to get off work early then make a commitment to start work early.  If you don’t mind working until 6 or 7 then take time to sleep in or get other things done in the morning.
  2. Schedule at a consistent time. Even though you have the flexibility to work whenever you want, it is helpful to stay consistent.  Your brain will be ready to work at the same time each day and you’ll
  3. Dress for success.  A girl in one of my college classes said she wore glasses to her exams because it made her feel smarter.  Same idea here.  One of the benefits of working from home is that you can work in your pajamas.  But too many days of sitting around in your pajamas can get you feeling pretty grubby.  I recommend still getting dressed and putting on makeup (if you’re a person inclined to do so) and essentially dressing for work at home the way you wold dress for work at an office building.
  4. Set the mood.  I liked to sit in a bright room, light a candle, and sometimes listen to music.  If I’m looking at a computer screen all day I like to be in a bright area – sometimes I’ll even go on the patio when it’s nice outside.  I avoid the TV room so that I’m not tempted to turn on the TV and I try to avoid watching any YouTube.
  5. Set goals for each day. There were some days early on when I would finish work and think, “Did I get anything done today?” I started feeling guilty like I wasn’t really earning my paycheck or getting a good amount of work done.  So I started making a to do list each day and crossing things off as I went. That way I could definitively say that I accomplished tasks that day and made progress toward finishing my project.
  6. Stay organized. I kDesk organizationeep all my pens, erasers, rulers, tablet, and any other relevant items to my job in stackable trays on my desk.  These were from my classroom and I think they’re so cute so I didn’t want to get rid of them after I left my teaching job.  They look a little disorganized but I can fit everything I need in them.  I also keep a binder with notes and ideas in it, and use it to keep scratch paper.  There’s something about having a pen in every single color that exists that makes me happy.  You never know when you’ll need those colors, right?
  7. Leave the house.  I am such a homebody that it doesn’t bother me to be in the house, but once or twice a week I like to work at the local university, or spend the morning at a coffee shop.  A chance of scenery is always welcome.
  8. Put aside time for socialization.  Working at home can be a very isolating experience, especially if you don’t even interact with people through email (like me).  I am very introverted and it doesn’t bother me to spend all day by myself, but even I need to have human interaction every once in awhile.  Sitting at a coffee shop and listening to other people can be helpful, and making time to see friends during the week can go a long way.

How do you make sure that you’re productive while working at home?  Does working from home sound like a blessing or a curse to you?  Let me know in the comments!

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