Working from home is the BEST gig on the planet ... seriously, it is the BEST. But, just like all good things there are things you can do to boost your productivity and things you can do to completely and totally pull the carpet out from under you. I've been working from home for six years now and had a pretty BIG adjustment moving from the structure of a corporate office to the comforts of working from home. If you're thinking about working from home or new to this amazing world, here are a few tips to help you either dive in or transition.
1. LEARN TO OWN YOUR DAY
The temptation is strong to over inflate the amount of time we have in a day especially when you work from home. When the coffee date and lunch invitations start rolling in (and trust me, they will) it can be difficult to stick to your work hours, regardless of how much of a workaholic you are. Because in your mind you can still do the work early in the morning and late at night, so why not go "hang" with your favorite peeps?
Another temptation or distraction can be all the stuff you need to do around the house. If you're anything like me, that pile of laundry, stack of junk or dirty floor will be SCREAMING your name. This is where discipline comes in and learning how to OWN YOUR DAY. All of us have different distractions and different time management styles. The key is knowing how to best set yourself up for success and sticking to it. I call this finding your groove. It might take you a little bit of time to figure this out. Don't be afraid to try a ton of different things and to toss aside the things that aren't working for you. The last thing you need to do is force something that isn't working. You work from home for a reason - be flexible and work the way you want ... after all, you're the boss now!
I've found the best way to avoid this is to "own my day'. Once a week I sit down, review my week and block out my "work" hours, my "sometime" hours and my "never" hours. Work hours are my hours that absolutely positively won't be compromised. They are blocked for a reason and they are the hours I'm open for business. Sometimes hours are the hours in my week that might allow me to squeeze in some work. Think of things where you're waiting for something (example, car pick up line, doctors office waiting rooms etc.). I also block my "never" hours. These hours are completely and totally off limits.
This approach has helped me set necessary boundaries and structure my work day and work week in a way that is productive and low stress.
2. CLOTHES MATTER
I get it, pajamas are the bombdittity but pajamas are NOT going to set you up for success. I came from an environment where the business suit was queen and I tossed those bad boys faster than you can imagine so you won't see me sporting a stuffy suit but you will find me in work out clothes (on my workout days) or jeans and a blouse. Find a uniform that works for you to keep things simple. Comfort doesn't mean sloppy or stuffy. You can be super comfortable and well put together.
I'm not going to pretend that I shower every day because that just isn't happening in my world BUT there is something about "going to work" and "getting ready for work". My commute is a quick walk down the stairs to my office but the minute I do that, I know it's time to work. The same is true for a shower ... it impacts productivity and takes me from chillaxin' to gettin' after it mode. So coordinate your clothes/showers with your work hours to help maximize your time.
When I first started working from home my home office was right smack in the middle of the normal traffic flow of our house which meant I was interrupted over and over and over ... NOW, I hide. Literally HIDE. I have two offices that are out of sight. One is in the basement and one is my amazing SheShed.
I heard the other day that it takes the average person 20 minutes to get back into action after being interpreted. Imagine how much one single interruption impacts your ability to bust your work out. Multiply that and you can see how that can really throw you off your game. My goal is always to get in and get out when it comes to work. I want to get my stuff done so I can play the rest of the day. 2-3 interruptions can add an hour to your work time .. WHAT?!? ... no thank you. So, now I hide. Do I still get interrupted? Yes, but not nearly as much as I did when my office was front and center.
4. LEARN TO TURN IT OFF
If you have workaholic tendencies (hello entrepreneur) you'll likely have to learn to set boundaries and turn it off. This can be super hard because work at home Mompreneurs are always at work, right. And if you're a creative like me ... holy moly ... my creative mind is NEVER OFF ...
You're family will thank you when you learn to keep work time work time and family time family time. There are so many tips and tricks that can help you with this but my favorite is turning off all notifications on your phone. This scared the heck out of me but has made a HUGE difference. Rather than being distracted every time I get a text, instant message, etc now I have set time throughout the day that I check my messages (GAME CHANGER).
Regardless of how you do it, just know this is important. If you don't set boundaries work will creep into every single corner of your life and that can be problematic. So set your boundaries and force yourself to turn it off!
5. ISOLATION IS A TRAP
Working from home can be super isolating and lonely if you let it especially for those of us that have introvert tendencies. I force myself to get out of the house a few times a week and to connect with other entrepreneurs on a regular basis via virtual coffees and lunch dates. Real conversations with real people are important. Learn ways to stay connected to your tribe to ensure isolation doesn't take over.
6. JUST SAY NO
No matter how successful your work from home gig is you will still find people that simply don't get it. They hear "work from home" and immediately think you should be volunteering for every possible committee out there, or ready and willing to do whatever it is they need you to do ... I mean come on, you work from home which means you've got nothing to do all day, right?
I was surprised at how many people had TRUE EXPECTATIONS of me the minute I started working from home. Almost a feeling of entitled to how I spent my time and demanding that I fit their needs into my day. Don't let this distract you. This is on them not you. Stay focused on driving your business and keeping your work hours. And don't be surprised by the random pop over unannounced ... just stand your ground and pretty soon people will understand that you really do work and are serious about your business even thought your office is in your home.
7. ROUTINES ARE YOUR FRIEND
How you start your day matters. I started using a concept called the Morning Miracle awhile ago and man oh man is it powerful. If you're struggling with where to start or how to set a morning routine that sets you up for success ... try using the acronym SAVERS to help guide you to guide them:
S = SILENCE / MEDITATION (5-10 minutes)
Start each day with a minimum of five minutes of complete and total silence.
A = AFFIRMATIONS
Encouraging words you tell yourself to achieve your goals, overcome fears, be heathy and happy and to live out your purpose. If you aren’t sure where to start I have a list called Jenny's Words to Live By that is developed by following Craig Groeschel's recommendation here:
V = VISULIZATIONS
Imagine yourself doing each thing step by step that you need to do to accomplish your goals. Then imagine what it will feel like when you succeed.
The most important part of visualizing is not only visualizing what it will be like when you reach the goals, but ALSO what it looks like on your way to the goals. For example, if you have a goal to earn $20k/month in recurring revenue, visualize yourself having successful sale and recruiting calls, doing team trainings that drive duplication.
E = EXCERCISE (10-15 minutes)
It doesn’t have to be powerlifting or long distance running. Just do something for 5 minutes to get your blood and oxygen flowing to your brain. Don’t think of this as a HUGE workout, just some stretches or walking to get you moving. As basic as this is, it has massive impact on shaping your day.
R = READING (10-20 minutes)
Fill your brain with positive thoughts and ideas to improve yourself. Learn the knowledge of people who have accomplished the things you want to do. You’ll be amazed at how much you can read in this short amount of time especially when you’re organized and ready to go.
S = SCRIBING (5-10 minutes)
Writing or journaling is a great way to process your thoughts and reflect on your life. It will help you be more self-aware and more articulate. Not sure where to start, consider capturing what you’re grateful for. List 10 things that are awesome. Starting each day in gratitude has MASSIVE impact on your day. You can also review your tasks for the day and identify the ONE thing that MUST get done.
All of this is a guide and a starting point. Make it work for YOU. I'm a huge music junkie so I've added a couple songs into the affirmations section because I dig music and it sticks with me.
For more detail, check out the book Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod. It's pretty amazing.
There you have it, some tips to help you succeed from home. No matter what, just know that it is totally different from working in an office BUT YOU CAN DO IT. Figure out what works for you and don't be afraid to do things YOUR WAY. Happy working from home, MOMPRENEUR. You're a world changer and what you do matters!