What happens when you’ve worked for other people for years, but you’ve started a business where you now work from home? I have a full-time job outside of my business which means that nights and weekends are my extended working hours, and keeping myself accountable inside a house full of distractions without any supervision has proven to be pretty challenging at times. Because this is the final month before I am to launch my handmade shop (on May 30th), I decided it was time to get extra disciplined and come up with smarter ways to keep myself focused and on task, and it’s made a world of a difference for me so far.
Tips for Making the Switch from Off-Site Office to Working From Home:
- Continue to keep set hours. I set up a weekly schedule that works for me just by observing the natural wavelengths that I operate on throughout the day and figuring out when the best times are for me to get into work mode. I leave room for set breaks so I don’t forget to eat when I get too ingrained in a task, or do relaxing activities like going for a walk or reading a book which resets my mind and helps me to work more efficiently when I’m in the studio and not get burned out as easily. It also keeps me on track when I know, “Oh, it’s Wednesday, I need to go to the post office and ship out orders and go grocery shopping today.” I used to spend too much of my time running errands, so now I have 2 set days to do it instead of spreading them all out for each day of the week (unless I urgently need something, of course).
- Find a good routine & stick with it. When it came down to a daily routine, I was all over the place. There would be blog reading breaks in the middle of the day where I’d get lost on the internet for hours, or I’d be up until 2 am exhaustively working away at something with my eyes half open because I couldn’t pull myself away. Now when I work on the weekends, I try to make mornings all about checking e-mails and I even give myself time to read some blogs and check social networks. After lunch, I get to work on the more hands-on kind of projects because that’s when I tend to get sleepy and unmotivated, but if I’m working on something that I’m really into, I won’t feel as tempted to get sidetracked. After dinner I tend to do more planning and designing on the computer. Figure out what works for you and make it a habit! Before long it will become second nature.
- Come up with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals and go over them often. Because I don’t have a boss telling me what to do, I have to know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and make sure that I’m making progress towards my goals. I keep several lists with Wunderlist that help me do this. I like it because I don’t waste time writing the same things down over and over (I type much faster!), and it’s easy to drag tasks around (i.e. If I don’t finish something on my list for “This Week”, I can just drag it over to the “This Weekend” list.) I always have master lists (the “Someday” list or the “This Month” list, for instance) where my brain gets dumped of all of its crazy thoughts on things I’d like to do, and when I have time, I drag them over to “This Week” or even “Today” if I’m feeling especially productive. I also keep lists of “Financial Goals”, “Business Goals”, and a list of things I need to do before I can launch my shop.
Working from home can be really amazing, but it requires quite a bit more organizational and task management skills than getting in your car, driving to the office, and doing what someone else expects from you all day long. The wonderful thing is that you can set your own schedule, so why not schedule yourself for maximum efficiency? I think tricking yourself into thinking it’s a real job (even when it’s not quite there yet) will also someday help you ease yourself into KNOWING and making it a real job, so treat it that way! Your business completely depends on you to get things done, so get out there and come up with a good program that will help make it happen for a long time to come.
– Natalie / Half Asleep Studio