Being self employed usually comes with the big luxury that is working from home (as well as avoiding the dreaded office tea run- WHAT is the perfect cup I ask thee)! Although payday is never usually one set day (the phrase 'hurry up payday' has never been so ominous) and Christmas parties and usually solely just with yours truly; being able to do the majority or work from the comfort of your own home, is certainly something I love having as part of my 'job' description.
Saying that, as wonderful as it is; it can be incredibly difficult to get in to any set routine. Distractions are rife (it's only since working from home I've seen workout DVD's as a legitimate form of procrastination) and tasks can end up taking up the whole of your evening, long after most traditional Out Of Office's have been set. So, after beginning to form a routine in the last few months, I thought I'd try and share some of my tips for working from home successfully- I'd love to know any you turn to too!
Get yourself ready for the day!
This sounds ridiculous on paper, but it's invaluable if you know how important it is. It's nice to have the odd pyjama day, trust me, I'm the queen of the onesie/Rupert the bear style get ups when lounging on the sofa, but it does not aid productivity. Chances are, if I'm in my pyjama's I'll typically act as if I should be in them, meaning I'll sloth about, and take ages to get any one thing done (with sofa naps becoming all the more tempting). If, however, I hop up, put on some 'proper' clothes (anything from jeans and a jumper, to a prettier dress) and a little make up (certainly not obligatory)- I'll feel totally ready for the day, and more likely in 'office' mode- after all, who would head to the office in pjs? (we all would, if we could)...
Break down the tasks
If there's one thing that I can't resist it's a good stationary set, and when you're trying to get organised they are totally justifiable, whether it be a weekly planner (life saver) or some sassy notepads (notebooks can totally be sassy)- it's so much easier if you break down your weekly tasks into daily nuggets, meaning everything is way more digestible and achievable. This planner of mine and pads from Edited are total lifesavers, and my pal Kristabel has also done a post on getting organised so check that out too!
Have a break
Like in any job, it's important to allow yourself breaks and take a moment away from the computer to recharge. Although there's no one to tell you off for looking at Buzzfeed when you're at home, it's better saved up for when you're sitting pretty with a cuppa or a sandwich, and less for when you get distracted every other five minutes whilst trying to work on a blog post (ahem). Living close to a park, I like to take Maggie out for a walk to refresh myself, or simply get on with a couple of household tasks to take some time out- and by doing this, I feel more motivated to get things done and not leave them until last thing at night.
Allow yourself crappy TV- within reason
I do think that if you deny yourself watching daytime TV, you'll become distracted in other ways. Okay, it's a bit pants- but everyone loves Phillip Schofield, and if I haven't got anyone else in my 'office' with me, his voice in the background will suffice just fine. As long as you're not watching it all eyes, and having it on as more of a background noise, it's a healthy thing to put on, and can certainly make being home alone a little less lonely (Ruth and Eamon! In my office!)
Hop on up and don't make your room your office
Working from my bed was initially one of my greatest ideas. I felt like Kevin in Home Alone and that I'd hit the JACKPOT. But I got absolutely nothing done- a handful of emails perhaps? Being able to roll over and snuggle up made it all too easy to steer away from work, and getting up at 2pm to 'properly' start the day will leave you with little to no routine. It's so important to find an 'office' space in your home (be it the table, breakfast bar or sofa) that is away from your bedroom, and keep your 'work space' and 'living space' separate to avoid blurred lines, and keep the bedroom a place for sole relaxation.
And most importantly, make a routine
This is probably the most important of the bunch, and one I'm still working on. Since getting the pup, our routines have changed, so getting up at a set time (5:30), getting ready and starting work for the day (8:00) is still something I'm getting used to- but it's so beneficial to have a set routine. Being self employed, it's so, so easy to work way into the night, the weekend and beyond- but having that 'cut off' point in the evening is integral, and means you're more driven to start working again the next day. After all, it's very rare anything is that urgent that you need to reply to it at 1am on a Saturday, isn't it? (guilty).