There are many reasons why some of us find ourselves working from home. Maybe the flexibility, offered by this lifestyle, works well alongside other responsibilities, such as raising a family. Maybe you’re wanting to save up some money for your dream studio space or simply to cut out a stressful commute from your day. Working from home can be a dream for some, but for others, this can be insanity inducing. Sure, you save money on your bus fares, you have access to all your home comforts and you can stay in your PJ’s all day looking like death (and no one will know) but how do you discipline yourself to stay focused, curb your Netflix addiction and avoid becoming totally socially inept due to crippling loneliness?!
As someone who has worked from home for a full year now and having experienced the highs and lows of this existence… Here are a few tips on what’s worked for me along the way:
1. Start your day as if you were heading to the office. It’s so tempting to roll out of bed at any time and stay in your dressing gown whilst hunched over your laptop – Don’t do it(!) Set that alarm for 8-9am and get yourself dressed. Set time aside for your morning routine, including a proper breakfast and shower to start your day off on a positive note.
2. Assign a place in your home as your workstation. I used the dining room table, which my housemates gracefully tolerated. Just keep it tidy and respect other people you’re living with! I’d advise if you can to stay away from using your bedroom as a workspace. You begin to associate it with ‘work work work’.
3. Take a break! Seriously – take half an hour away from your desk, make yourself a good lunch and eat it at the table and not over your laptop. Go for a walk. Stick your head out of the window or call your Gran. Breaks are so important and will give you fresh perspective on your work when you return to your desk. I get a bit obsessive over designing, and so absorbed in what i’m doing that I forget to eat. This is quite bad and if you’re like me, it’s really useful to set a lunchtime alarm as a reminder. If you’re really good at taking breaks, remember to get back to work afterwards. Don’t get distracted by Facebook or decide to watch Britain’s Worst Weather episodes back to back.
4. Give yourself a cutoff point. Asides from the occasion, that you’ll need to work overtime if there’s an important deadline to meet, you may find your time eating into your evenings. This is fine now and then. Though, on the times you can wrap up your day at an appropriate hour, do it! Again, alarm clocks come handy here. Set it for 5-6pm and just STOP. Put your laptop away, tidy your space and switch off. It’s very easy to keep on working through the evening, but it’s just not healthy. Your mind needs to rest and recharge, so you wake up fresh and ready to work.
5. Remember to enjoy yourself! Don’t work weekends, and try to go outside once in a while. Some find it easier than others to work from home. If it’s your passion, you’ll find a way of working that’s best for you. Just don’t become too obsessed, but don’t become too lazy either. Once you strike that balance your work will flow and you’ll get into a healthy routine that suits you. We all work differently. Some find studio spaces are best for them, whilst others find working alone is ideal for them. Figure out what suits you and go from there!