Working from home is all about picture perfect lunch dates, lounging in PJs all day and having an Instagram worthy desk, right!? Quite the contrary—it requires self-motivation, discipline and all the blood, sweat and tears along the way.
I am SO thankful I have built a business that allows me to “stay home”, especially now with my sweet 6 month old daughter Remington. But that doesn’t mean every day is Instagram perfect or easy. I hustle, and I hustle hard so that I can relax and play even harder.
Yes, working from home requires discipline, but you also cut out a lot of the “noise” and distractions that come with an office environment. You can choose to hustle and get your work done, probably in way less hours, and then move on to living! OR you can goof off all day and then be stressed at night when you haven’t hit your deadlines. The choice is yours.
PS…this isn’t really a post about building your own business or being an entrepreneur like I am, this is more for anyone who works from home!
Smarter Business Practices When Working From Home
Get Dressed + Ready For the Day
This is something my husband really encouraged me to do! I see so many entrepreneurs talk about working in yoga pants all day, and yes sometimes that is nice, but for me personally, I believe that how you “show-up” to work is going to reflect in your work.
Taking the time (seriously sometimes its 5 minutes) to wash your face, put a touch of makeup on and a cute (always comfy) outfit, sets the tone for your day and will impact you positively all day long. And from personal experience, I can tell you that I am far more productive on days I do this!
To me this isn’t about what I look like for others, but more importantly what I look like for myself and how I choose to adorn myself each day. I love that word and I think how you choose to adorn yourself—clothes, smile, positivity, attitude, word choices—really impacts your day and also encourages self confidence!
The discipline you have in your personal life is going to translate into your business life and set both you and your business up for greater success. It’s not about a fashion show, it is about dignity!
Set Working Hours
Ok, full transparency here—one of the MOST frustrating things about owning my own business and working from home is that most people just don’t get it. They think I can just play all day—I’m always curious when people think the work gets done!? Many people don’t understand why I can’t just go to lunch or get-togethers during the day. I have learned the hard way over the years—during my first few years of business I would say yes to events during the day and then at night be stressed, needing to work when my husband was home and discontent with myself because I had nothing to show for my day. My health, both physically and emotionally, suffered.
So, I set working hours and said no to events during my “office hours,” typically from 8:30-3:30 Monday-Thursday. Besides my twice weekly pilates class and the occasional doctors appointment, I don’t take other commitments during this time….and I CHOOSE not to feel guilty or let others make me feel guilty for doing this.
These days, now that I am a mom, the moments are fleeting. If I say yes to distractions throughout the day, then I am stressed and distracted when it is family time and that is not a compromise I am willing to make. I am thankful to have an amazing nanny, but I have to get my work done during the day so that in the afternoons and evenings I can give my full attention to my sweet family. Gosh, the freedom I have experienced doing this has been incredible and my stress levels have greatly decreased.
Don’t be afraid to say NO. Set boundaries that are best for YOU and your own needs. You will be a better business woman, mom, wife, friend, daughter because of this.
Structure Your Workday Best for You
Yes, the best thing about working from home is the flexibility. You can choose when to start and when to end and how to structure your days.
For me, at the end of every week or on Sundays, I try to write out my “BIG 3”—these are the 3 most important tasks I need to get done each day. I always try to accomplish these first thing in the morning, so I can free up the rest of my day for other tasks that maybe don’t take as much brain power as my brain (and most of our brains) are way better in the morning time.
Then, if something distracts me throughout the day, I know I still accomplished my “BIG 3.”
I am a big to-do list person and use a combination of both written lists and computerized ones. To keep track of projects I use Asana (I can easily collaborate with my team), google drive, iPhone reminders and calendar as well as my physical written planner.
I typically try to avoid my inbox and social media first thing in the morning, except to check in with my team, because it frees me up to get my most important tasks done first. Email and social media can be a rabbit hole, so if you turn to those immediately in the morning, you might end up wasting hours!
In the afternoons, I love to go for a brief walk and get some movement and sunshine. This helps break up your day but also boosts your energy during those afternoon sleepies. Again, find what works best for you—make a routine and stick with it!
Give Yourself Deadlines
Just because you are not in an “office” environment, does not mean you don’t have a boss, even if that boss is you, and it sure doesn’t mean you don’t have deadlines. There is something so deeply satisfying about finishing a task or ending the day realizing you accomplished something.
Don’t keep putting off till tomorrow what you can and need to do today.
Remember, there is no perfect time to do anything. There is just today, tomorrow and now. You have to decide what you are going to accomplish and be diligent to see the task through. Yes, its easy when you work from home to be like, oh that can wait till tomorrow…I will do laundry or turn on the latest episode of my TV show. In the end however, this mentality will only keep delaying the inevitable and make you much more stressed.
So set deadlines. Hustle hard one day if you have to get something done and then maybe the next day give yourself an hour of grace to sleep in or go for a long morning walk. When you meet your deadlines and feel confident about your week’s work, your physical and emotional self will greatly benefit.
Do you work from home? What practices have worked for you?