I often receive emails from people struggling to work from home.
Whilst working from home can be super liberating, and save you oodles of time on the commute to work, it can be challenging.
Many struggle to find the time to market their business, or just get down to work. Throw in a little human into the mix and it can sometimes feel so overwhelming juggling your different titles of “entrepreneur” and “parent” (and YES, being a parent is a full time job too!)
As someone who has worked from home for the last 6 years I’ve learnt the dos and don’ts the hard way!
Here are my top tips for working from home efficiently!
1. Always get dressed in the morning
This may seem really obvious but many make the mistake of rolling out of bed and sitting on the computer until noon in their PJs. Just because you aren’t going into an office where other people could judge your fluffy slippers or taste in nightwear doesn’t mean your nightwear belongs in your home office.
Getting dressed properly, in clothes that make you feel good about yourself WILL help your productivity. Some mascara will also give you that boost to make sure you take what you are doing that much more seriously.
When you feel good about yourself it reflects in your voice, your writing and your overall creative process.
2. Set your office hours
You probably work for yourself because you didn’t like being chained to a desk 9-5 every day, right? So why do so many entrepreneurs chain themselves to their desks from dawn until dusk and beyond?
Remember Parkinson’s Law; “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” – so if you don’t have set times to do other things you WILL be working (probably inefficiently) for as long as you have.
My working hours are dictated by 2 fundamental things: My daughter and my client’s schedules.
Since my daughter is in daycare until 4pm I make sure that I get as much as I can done before 4pm. I reserve 2 evenings a week to touch base with people a gazillion miles away who’s day is my night.
Obviously tight project deadlines can throw this off a bit but when things calm down again the schedule is back in force. I make time during the week to refill my creative cup with my daughter, friends and family.
Don’t try working when you have kids running around pulling on your arm. Trust me. You cannot be a great entrepreneur and a great parent at the same moment in time.
Create sacred space for both responsibilities.
If you want to take a whole morning, afternoon, day off you should. After all, it’s YOUR business (and you have a responsibility to yourself to be happy!)
3. Remind those around you what you do
It’s important to leverage your network of people around you from a marketing perspective so they keep you top of mind.
But ALSO so that they know that yes, you are at home, WORKING.
I’ve lost count of the number times people would call, Skype or just come over because I was at home and the idea that I was working from home was alien.
At times I have sarcastically replied, “yes, I lounge around at home doing nothing and miraculously my bills get paid!” Seriously!?
Set your boundaries for yourself and others around you. Turn your phone, Skype, social media OFF when you are working and make sure those around you know that!
4. Get super focused on what you have to do
When you know you have to get dinner made in 30 mins you do it. Apply the same thing to your business as often as you can.
Don’t spend 3 hours on social media “working” when in reality you’re chatting to friends and consuming other people’s content and ideas. This will kill your productivity dead one tweet at a time (and probably make you want to run away from it all to reset, like I did last summer)
Cut corners by getting some professional advice from a coach, mentor or consultant.
You are great at what YOU do.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to be great at every single aspect of your business.
Hiring someone to help you create an action plan with clear things to do will save you time, AND make you more money!
Those are my top tips on working from home efficiently!
Your turn: How do you do it? What would you add to the list?