When I tell someone I work from home the response is pretty typical-‘Wow, that’s freaking awesome, I wish I could work in my PJs every day’.
Granted, I AM currently in pajamas writing this post, and yes, it is pretty sweet.
There are plenty of perks involved in remote work, but that’s not the purpose of this post, and anyone who has worked remotely for more than a month will tell you that it is hella challenging to maintain focus.
side bar: idk when the west coast took over my east coast brain, but apparently I now say hella instead of wicked. Not sure how I feel about that one…
Being productive at home is all about creating the right environments (plural) around yourself, SO I listed out a few of my tried and true tips for a productive work/life atmosphere. Before you keep reading, you need to know why this is so important. Let me bullet point this shit for you: What happens sans proper work environment:
- Focus is non-existent
- Productivity halves when you are splitting attention between work, TV, laundry etc.
- The line between work and relaxation blurs, meaning your brain can’t distiguish when it’s supposed to do which. This lowers brain efficiency and increases stress and the likelihood of burnout.
- Spousal disconnect- Without proper seperation between work and play, communication lines are confused and your S.O. can feel underappreciated.
- Important documents can go missing.
- No clear determination of hours clocked. This is especially important for consultants and freelancers billing by the hour.
I could continue but I don’t think I need to. Creating proper work and play environments within the house is crucial to longterm remote work. Capiche?
Never. EVER. Work in your bedroom. Period.
Do you WANT to wake up at 3am thinking about financial incentives? Didn’t think so. Just don’t do it. Trust me.
Have at least 1-2 designated work areas.
This seems really obviously, but if you don’t mark them off as work-specfic you’ll end up with a craft/exercise/work hot mess and nobody can focus like that. Set up your office as if it’s seperate from your house, no combo rooms. Then go find another area, ideally with lots of natural light and away from the TV, where you can set up camp. Working from home results in a feeling I can only equate to as, ‘cagey’ and you want to avoid it at all costs. Feeling trapped or caged in puts a major damper on the creative flow.
Create a seperate area for relaxation.
Figure out what helps you relax. Pick scents that are soothing, make some tea, maybe grab a face mask or play your favorite band. Have a space that is keyed to relaxation and keep work completely out of it.
Keep the coffee pot brewing.
Obviously, this needs no further detail.
Two words: Daylight lightbulbs
These are a godsdamned lifesaver for the evening grind, especially in the winter. When it starts getting dark at 4 pm, I’m ready to call it a day, but work doesn’t really give a fuck about natural light. Pop daylights into your lamp/office lighting to signal your brain it is in fact still time to hustle and not sleep. (They’re also great as lighting in your bathroom or vanity to get a realistic idea of what your makeup looks like outside).
Seperation of Church and State, by which of course I mean, Meals and Work.
Do not, I repeat, do not eat at your desk. You end up wasting time and can’t efficiently do work while eating anyways, but more importantly, it’s unhealthy. Your brain needs to take the time to realize you are eating and register that your stomach is content so that you aren’t mindlessly munching away on uneccessary calories.
Television is the Devil.
I love binge-watching Reign as much as the next girl, but watching TV while you work KILLS your productivity and quality. You wouldn’t have a TV in a normal office, don’t put one in your home office.
The temptation to email while sitting on the couch watching TV, out at a restaurant, etc etc is ever present when your inbox is a button away. There are only so many hours in a day, I get it. I do. Counterpoint? Burnout. That’s right, keep blurring the lines between work hours and home hours and that’s exactly where you are headed.