More people than ever before are moving to working from home – either due to COVID, or due to moving into some form of self-employment.
I’ve been fully self-employed for over 10 years, and I’ve worked from home for this entire time.
Over this time I’ve learnt what works – and what doesn’t! – for me.
From working with other self-employed folks for many years, I’ve also seen the same struggles and issues pop up again and again.
In today’s show, I share 10 general tips that will help you to become happier and more productive when working from home – especially if you are self-employed, and therefore have 100% control over how you spend your time.
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Highlights from this episode:
- Start by envisioning what your ideal day would look like – and then plan your WFH routine around that! You’re the boss! Do you wish you could go to the beach every afternoon? Guess what – you can! Do you wish you could work a 4-day week, guess what – you can!
- Get up when YOU want to – don’t listen to anyone else’s idea of when the workday should start.
- Have work days/hours, and stick to them the best you can. Don’t get stuck in the idea that you must work 9-5, 5 days a week. You’re your own boss now, your work hours are up to you! Maybe you want to work 4 hours in the morning, then take the rest of the day off. Or maybe you want to work in the afternoon or evening. When do you do your best work? Plan your workdays around your own personal rhythms.
- Set boundaries with friends and family – work time is work time – but no-one will respect it if you don’t. This includes those who live with you, and those who don’t. Train them when work time is. If they keep interrupting you, ask ‘if I were working at …. (old job) would you just walk in to talk to me/call me/drop by and expect me to stop working to talk to you?’ If you have small children, this is obviously almost impossible, but if there is another adult at home who is also WFH, switch out who is the ‘go-to’ parent so you both get uninterrupted work time.
- Have a dedicated workspace (if possible). This means you can ‘go to work’ and then ‘leave work’ at the end of the day. If you don’t have a space, then have a ‘set-up’ or a ritual that differentiates work time from non-work-time – i.e. you set up your laptop, diary and water glass at the beginning of your workday (or your crafting materials), then pack it all away when you’re done.
- Go for a daily walk – you lose a lot of incidental exercise when you don’t commute/have to leave the house daily to work. This is in addition to any structured exercise you do – it’s just to help your body stay active, to reduce stress, and get you out of the house.
- Curate a daily/weekly hobby or pastime that distracts you from work! This might be working out, reading, doing a different craft, watching movies, growing an indoor garden, a sports team, etc. The idea is to have something else to occupy your mind when you need to switch off, so you don’t get burnt out by being all about work, all the time.
- Schedule (and share) your chores. Just because you’re home all day doesn’t mean you should be doing chores constantly, OR that you should be the only one doing them!
- If you’re alone, strongly consider getting a pet (or pet houseplants!). Just having another living creature in the house with you can go a long way to alleviating the loneliness that comes along with working by yourself all day, especially if you’re an extrovert.
- Have structured meal times. Especially if you tend to get ‘in the zone’ and forget to eat, having regular meal times (set an alarm to remind you if you need to!) will go a long way to giving your day some structure. Make sure to take a break when you eat, and do something other than work. Also helps to plan (and possibly prep) your meals ahead of time if you struggle to eat healthily.
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