The day is here.
After years of working at a cold desk, walking up and down store aisles, plastering a smile on your face to disguise the inevitable RBF (basically just a scientific term at this point – wouldn’t you agree?) that comes with having eyes on you constantly as you do your own job – today is the day. The day you start working from home!
You’ve been dreaming of this day a long time, but here’s what no one prepares you for. That aimless “work in my pajamas” feeling? It doesn’t go away automatically. You thought being managed by someone else was bad – now you are your boss, and you have to manage yourself.
Managing yourself can be a tricky task – it takes a tremendous amount of motivation, a splash of adequate self-care, and a keen sense of direction. Where are you going? How are you going to get there? Follow my simple roadmap. We’ll get you where you want to be!
1. Meet The Morning
While I understand and respect that not everyone is a “morning person”, I do think it’s possible to train your body to be one. Many of our modern greats take part in the practice of having a morning routine, and you’ll probably be surprised at what they do with their time in the wee small hours. Oprah Winfrey greets the day with meditation, a crisp 15 minutes of exercise, and finally, a balanced breakfast. Barack Obama makes sure to wake at least two hours before his schedule starts, often rising around 4:30/5am (even when he was Mr. President!). He spends his time reading up on current events over green tea (doesn’t drink coffee!). Steve Jobs, after making his bed each morning, would ask himself one question:
“If today were the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m doing today?”
Make your morning routine a part of your day you look forward to. I get out of bed as soon as I wake up, often times between 6:30 and 7:30, and take a shower. It helps me center my thoughts and makes me feel awake and presentable. I then drink my morning coffee (another ritual of mine) and write my “ideal” to do list down in a notebook. For me, doing this physically with a pen and paper helps me remember, and the act of checking something off helps me continue to feel motivated throughout the day. I often use my time in the morning to tidy the house, do extra dishes, or a load of laundry as well, which kicks me into a productive, getting-it-done space. I consider my mornings sacred, and giving myself time in the morning helps me give my clients my full attention during business hours.
2. Start Off Strong
After you’ve met your day with a sense of purpose and are feeling ready to tackle the world, you need somewhere to spread that productivity. After I eat breakfast (more on that later…), I sit down and take care of my correspondence. I use this time when I’m feeling most productive and inspired to reply to emails, take care of administrative work, and respond to any clients that have issues I need to address. This ensures I will be able to get as much work done throughout the day, and I never feel rushed or like someone is waiting on me. I start this process usually from 10 – 11am. 10 to 11am, you say?? But the business day starts at 9! Haven’t we established this? You work from home! That means you control your hours! Studies have shown that the majority of people start their work day a few hours too soon – and end it a few hours too late.
A study done in Sweden has shown that a 6 hour work day can decrease taken sick days and increase productivity on the job day to day (More on that study here.). I adopt this philosophy as I work – getting the bulk of my work done as soon as I begin so I am able to cultivate consistent productivity, and still give me time in the day for myself. I use tools like the scheduled automatic posting on CoSchedule – so that even though my social media work runs all day, I only have to do the bulk of it once in the morning. Some even say it only takes three hours to have a productive day – it’s all about how you start!
3. Whatever You Do, Don’t Get Comfortable
They call it working from “home”, but often times your work from home attitude is going to stunt your growth as a business and as a person unless you create spaces that inspire productivity. Sitting at your dining room table pounding away at a keyboard while F.R.I.E.N.D.S plays in the background will do nothing but distract you and your creative side. Multitasking doesn’t work. Forbes Magazine published an article telling you why – and the biology shouldn’t shock you. Our brains don’t have the power to split information into two streams in our heads and then retain everything. When you do multiple things at once, each one of those things will have missing information later, at least in your memory. You might think it harmless and say you can’t work in silence and to that I say – Get comfortable with your inner monologue and let it guide you in your work, instead of trying to drown it out with Netflix. You will see changes in your work, whether it be in marketing, writing, social media, and you’ll be able to retain information better as time goes on. Soon you won’t even miss the background noise!
Now, what about the rest of my day?
If you follow these three tips, the rest of your day should fall into place and you’ll be able to get a jumpstart on creating a workflow that inspires your productivity and keeps you happy as the hours go by. Soon you’ll find you have extra hours you never knew were there, and that is where you will find the beauty of an at-home job. Harness that freedom and put it to good use –
Next stop, early retirement!
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