Working from home have you feeling all sorts of frazzled? We feel you. Chances are, it’s not just a new work setting, but also new coworkers [cough cough husbands and kids], new wardrobe requirements [aka sweatpants] and maybe even new roles [like homeschooling!]. It’s a lot, and working from home takes a little bit of a mental adjustment for it to be a success. At LIY, we’ve been working from home for a few years. As many people are working from home right now due to COVID-19, we wanted to share what has worked well for each of us over the years, and tips and tricks for keeping both productivity and positivity high!
It’s been a few years now since I’ve worked from home and while it can feel like a constant adjustment to figuring out what works best to stay focused and be productive, there are a few constants that I’ve found really help me. 1. I’m all about finding and knowing your flow zone. I consider this to be the time that you know you are most focused and effective and then scheduling your day around that. For me, my “flow zone” is early morning [I find I am distracted the least from 7-9 am] and then later in the afternoon between 3-6 pm. Knowing that I can knock out the bulk of my computer work during these hours, I allow the time between 9-3 for showering and getting ready, taking pictures, having any meetings that need to happen, lunch and if I’m lucky walking the dogs, etc. 2. The other thing I’ve noticed that helps me when working from home is getting ready for the day. Yes this means hair and makeup done, presentable clothes on and heck, even perfume. The more put together I am, typically the better my mood is.
Those are two of my tips but shoot, if all else fails maybe try popping a few of these Focus vitamins and that should do the trick! Or at least it does for me 😉
I can’t believe it, but it has been 3.5 years since I was brought on at LIY and started working from home! One of the lessons I have learned is that when working from home [and to be honest still trying to let sink in!], I can easily forget to take breaks. I’ll sit down with my laptop and my morning coffee and dive deep into a project, and the next thing I know it’s 4:00 PM and I haven’t moved out of my chair and I forgot to eat lunch! When you work from an office, you likely take multiple breaks throughout your day. You stop and chat with a coworker on the way to the bathroom, you join up with a group to have a piece of cake and celebrate someone’s birthday, you take a walk to the watercooler, and you most likely take an actual lunch break. You should give yourself permission to take the same types of breaks when working from home! Although you might not be having any birthday cake, you can still step away to get outside for a few minutes, get up and stretch, take your eyes off your laptop and enjoy a few minutes of screen free time. And allow yourself to take an actual lunch! This little time for yourself will fill up your tank so that you’ll be more productive when you work!
Over the last three years of working from home, the one thing I have to keep reminding myself is to have dedicated time for working and dedicated time for family. Of course there are times when my kiddos need something and interrupt “work time” (and vice versa!) but what I’ve found to help me feel the most successful as a mom and as an employee is to split my time rather than trying to do both things at once. When my kids were younger, I mostly built my working day around their nap times. I tried my best to get the majority of my work done while the younger ones were resting, and keep the computer closed while they were awake. Now that they’re older I aim to have time during the day that they know I’m working and they work on independent activities (like playing games together, looking at books, coloring, worksheets, etc.) which allows me to feel free to focus on them when my dedicated work time is done. It’s not perfect and there are definitely still some overlaps, but I like that it shows them there are times you have to get some work done before you can have fun and I feel best about what I’m giving of myself to both work and home when I fully focus on them separately.
One of the biggest tips that has helped me work from home, especially if my kiddos or husband are around, is setting a timer. I will set a timer for a good chunk of time to work and get as much done as I can, but once the timer goes off I stop, snooze notifications on my phone and spend time with my family so I’m not distracted by work tasks! Before setting a timer I noticed I was easily distracted and wasn’t giving my work and family the focus it deserved and it was causing a lot of issues!
I get it. Working from home is the perfect excuse to ditch your bra, skip the makeup, and stay in your PJs all day [I’d be lying if I said I’ve never done it]. Just how many days in a row can you actually get away with dry shampoo? Stay tuned, challenge accepted. But in all seriousness, getting into a routine can go a long way when it comes to your WFH mindset. As simple as it may sound, my best [and most productive days] begin with an early-morning workout or walk, followed by hair, makeup, and a bra as if I’m actually going to the office for the day. Get into a routine and stick with it, whatever it may be- and don’t underestimate the power of a bra. Ps. Don’t forget to take breaks, it’s okay to step away!
One of the most important things I challenge myself to do everyday, and especially on days that I am working from home is, EAT THE FROG! Let me explain… Typically when I have a task that I am truly dreading doing, big or small, I always seem to put it off or leave it until the end of the day. It only seems natural to procrastinate something you are not looking forward to, right!? But, I realized that having that one task daunt over me all day would completely throw off my mood and productivity. So, the concept of “eating the frog” simply means starting off your day by completing that daunting task, whatever it may be! Even though it sounds like a terrible idea, it really does make an impact on your entire day! It leaves you feeling accomplished, productive and also relieved! That being said, I am not perfect and some days I still push off that task to the end of the day and sometimes until the end of the week! But I leave that day or week feeling unproductive and somewhat frustrated with myself! So I highly suggest trying to “eat the frog” to see how it impacts your day/week! Huge shout out to Erin for introducing me to this concept!
If you want to read more about this concept and other ways to stop procrastinating check out this book.
I’ve been working from home for just short of two years, and it took me awhile to find my groove. But once I figured out these two key factors, it changed my productivity and my work/life balance. 1. Set Up A Dedicated Workspace. I found that by setting up a small area away from distraction forced me to focus on work, rather than what needed done around the home. Away from the laundry, away from the kitchen, and away from the bed [naps… so tempting]. 2. Set Dedicated Work Hours [with some flexibility as needed]. Just because you can work at any hour doesn’t mean you need to work at any hour. I found that the first few months, I was on my phone or computer non-stop because a note would come in and I would immediately tend to it because, well, I could! If I had downtime, I’d hop on my computer! However, I was finding myself neglecting my husband, son, and me time. This can quickly have you feeling run down [even if you’re enjoying what you’re doing!], and feeling like you have no balance between work/home life.
What are your tips for working for working from home? Hopefully you found some tips in this post that will help your work-from-home setup!
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Founder and creator of LIY, Erin turned her dream of a hobby blog into a full-time career which she now runs alongside the LIY team! When not in front of her computer screen [with a La Croix or wine in hand] or in front of a mirror taking mirror selfies, you can find Erin spending time on the water, cuddled up with her two pups and husband most likely watching the latest Shark Tank episode, or getting lost in an easy beach read.