As a freelance writer, a majority of my time is spent working from home. Unfortunately, I’ve found that I often have a hard time focusing or distinguishing between my work time and home time. Not ideal when you have multiple deadlines swiftly approaching.
To those who don’t work at home, it probably seems like all I do all day is lounge around in my pajamas flipping through magazines (like Monsieur Saint Laurent in the photo above). Not the case.
My day is spent according to a tight work schedule that divvies up my time evenly between my many freelance jobs, allowing me to accomplish every assignment on time. It’s a balancing act that, unfortunately, more often than not, gets thrown out of wack.
This problem sent me on a little search to see what I could change to make my apartment more hospitable to getting work done and completing the tasks I need to every day.
If I want to be able to handle an increased work load and accomplish it all in a timely manner, some of my work habits are going to have to change.
Below, I’ve culled together five of what I think are the best tips to making your home environment a better work environment. Hopefully these will help me be more productive and help you out too in the process!
1. Set A Schedule (And Stick To It!)
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you don’t need a work schedule. Choose the hours you want to work and stick to them no matter what! My problem is I always say I’ll do something by some time or wake up early and do something and then I just hit the snooze bar or procrastinate because the only person I’m reporting to is myself. Time to be your own boss and get yourself into work on time!
2. Designate A Work Area (Not Your Bed)
Pick a spot in your house or apartment that is your work area. It doesn’t have to be a desk, but it does need to not be your bed or anywhere where you’re too comfortable. Accidental napping while on the job should not be a major concern. Make sure your work area is neat and tidy so nothing can distract you, and make sure you have all the tools you need on hand to get the job done. Hey, one less excuse to get up and wander around aimlessly.
3. Make A To Do List That Actually Gets Done
Start every day by making a to do list that, much like your work schedule, you will hold yourself to actually accomplishing. Again, I love making lists, but don’t love completing them. Especially when the longer that list gets, the more overwhelmed I feel! So start by writing down only the things that are absolute top priorities for the day. As you cross them off, you can, of course, add more tasks, but keeping it small will help keep you from feeling like you’re facing the impossible. Just make sure they actually get done!
4. Make Sure Your Family And Friends Respect Work Time
I am absolutely guilty of not following through on this one. Most of my friends know which days I work from home and take that to mean I’m free to hang out, when what it actually means is I have a long list of tasks and assignments to fulfill before a certain time. I’m just as culpable as my friends, however, because, while I can’t stop them from calling, I certaintly don’t need to answer every time! Let your friends and family know the hours you’ve set aside for work, and make it clear you’ll be unavailable to chat or hang out during those times. It sounds simple and like a no-brainer, but I find this rule can be surprisingly difficult to achieve!
5. Take A Break
I know I’m sending you mixed signals with this one, but sometimes it’s all right to stop doing work for a couple minutes. Studies have shown that people who spend too long sitting and staring at a screen actually start to work less effectively! So get up every now and then, stretch, get another cup of coffee, but make sure that break doesn’t start going from ten minutes to thirty!
Do any of you Lovelies work from home? How do you stay productive and focused? How do you find a way to balance work and home life? Any tips for distraction-proofing your apartment?