It’s not easy to work from home, but everyone thinks it is!
Your friends with day jobs and office jobs think you spend your time lounging in pajamas and watching Bravo TV marathons. Your parents are afraid you’re dealing drugs because you make money without leaving the house. (Okay, maybe that’s just mine. The day my Mom held my hardcover book in her hands was a major affirmation that I’m not dealing crack on the corner.)
All your loved ones are slightly jealous, truth be told. And yet, working from home is not always a walk in the park. These tips will help keep your work space and your home life divided, whether you’re wearing pj’s or not.
Designate a work space. Make sure you can close the door/zipper/curtain on it when necessary.
Since I’m an author and a business whisperer, it’s fairly easy for me to keep all my business supplies in a backpack. The backpack — which contains my laptop, notebooks, pens, power cords, notes, and a few files — comes out of the closet and is opened every morning. When I’m done working, everything is packed up, zippered up, and put back into the closet. This unpacking and repacking ritual helps me to keep my work and home life separate, even though they take place in the same space. You might do the same with remaking a closet into an office, pulling a curtain on a space that is only opened when you’re working, or even fashioning a “Bother at your own risk” sign to keep your loved ones at bay while you’re in the zone.
Mentally separating your business from your home life is crucial to working at home for the long term, and will keep your pets/kids/loved ones happy, too.
Figure out your genius time. And work during it.
Your genius time is, quite literally, the time you function at peak capacity as a human being; the time it’s easiest to channel your genius into your work.
I’m at my best between 7am and Noon, and find myself absolutely useless after those hours have passed. Sure, I can Tweet or Facebook or sort accounting bits and pieces into categories, but my best work happens before lunch. I’ve learned to schedule meetings and writing for early in the day, saving workouts, errands, cooking, cleaning, and other tasks for later.
Whether you work best at 8am or 8pm, identifying the times your brain feels clearest and/or your hands feel most inspired to make stuff will help you maximize the time you have to work. Using this tip, you’ll be a faster and more productive worker without changing anything except when you work!
Get out of the house once a week for business.
It’s easy to go into working-at-home mode and refuse to leave for any reason. I’ve had groceries, books, and clothes delivered to make time for keeping my nose to the grindstone.
We all know that’s not the healthiest behavior on the planet, though, and getting outside to talk with other human beings on a regular basis will keep you from turning into the crazy cat lady who only talks about YouTube videos and photography tips. Getting out for your business could mean finding a biz buddy to talk shop with over coffee, networking with local businesses, joining a meet-up group, or shopping with the idea of partnering with brick and mortars in the back of your mind.
Go on, prove that you’re not a total agoraphobe by getting into the world on a regularly scheduled basis — it’ll help you enjoy your pajama time even more than you thought possible.