For me, working from home can sometimes be really difficult to separate my personal life from business life. It's hard to stay focused and keep myself presentable because I get so comfortable with, well, being comfortable. But most times it can be incredibly productive.
Here's how to balance it all and get the most work done while staying at home:
Get Ready in the Morning
It is a bit scary how easy it is to catch myself late in the day still in the clothes I slept in, with messy hair and bed unmade. Now I'm not saying to get completely dressed up like you're going out to a special occasion, but a good rule of thumb is to look presentable enough if a neighbor or the mail carrier knocks on your door. My specialty is a comfortable, classy ‘in-between’ clothes like stretchy pants, yoga clothes, or boyfriend jeans and white tees — things that are comfortable enough to sit in at the computer all day, yet styled enough to run to the grocery store or Starbucks. A good rule to have is not to allow yourself to sit down at your desk until you have showered, brushed your teeth, and gotten dressed for the day. I promise it's not silly, rather than felling more tired, comfortable and lazy, it will make your day much more productive and you will feel more ready to take on your work load for the day.
Separate Your Work Life from your Personal Life
Set boundaries in your day for when you take care of work versus doing household errands. Be up front and strict about your work hours (whatever they may be) and try to work when you’ve set aside the time to. This is the only way you can really by productive.
I'd drive myself crazy some days when I'd spend the entire day inside. Though I love working from home, in most cases, cabin fever still creeps up on me. When I lived in my own apartment, I'd spend days, almost weeks, in my room. Occasionally stepping out to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. And I'm sure my roommate was worried for my sanity because she just wouldn't see me for weeks at a time before finally having to just get out. I'd make her come with me to the Yogurtland by USC or to Chick-fil-a, not only step outside and grab something to munch on, but to witness human life forms again....and some attractive ones at that. Thanks USC Student Body. So whatever refreshes your spirt and renews your mind, incorporate these small adventures into breaks during your day.
Have a Schedule
The night before, prepare a list of things to accomplish for the next day ahead of you. This can be as strict as you prefer. Depending how organized you like to be, you can set time slots for yourself and push yourself to meet your own personal deadlines. What I like to do is set a simple list, usually in the order of which I would like to accomplish them, (sometimes it jumps around,) and rather than putting a time in the day to accomplish that task, I write down about how long it should take for me to complete it. This really helps me stay focused and less distracted.
Also, don't be too hard on yourself. Setting this list can get very easy to become disappointed in yourself when you don't complete a certain task in time or quickly enough. Be flexible with yourself and realize that unexpected life events do happen. If you needed to stay up all night and have to stay in bed till noon, do it. But if you didn't do your work because you were distracted by social media or similar mindless distractions, then you can be disappointed in yourself about the work you didn't complete. Keep yourself on track and only allow your guilty pleasures of mindless entertainment to consume a small and scheduled part of your day.
One thing that will be especially helpful in maintaining a more flexible schedule is to plan ahead as much as you are able to. Not all work situations allow for this, but if you can schedule blog posts, design work or writings in advance, it will give you the room you need to stay flexible during the week for other things.
Whatever your situation, I hope these tips will help you have a happy and productive life at home with both your business and your personal life. It takes great discipline to be a successful while being at home. Just don't get too comfortable and you will make it just fine.
Photograph by Parker Fitzgerald