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Last month, I wrote a post focused on working from home. I wanted to follow up with some extra tips and tricks that I’ve learned from working at home in the past year.
If you haven’t already done so, you might want to get organized. I have a lot of meetings and what saves me when working on different projects, is being able to go back to the notes. One of the best things about having a to-do list is that I can easily sit down and look back on the things I’ve done. When you work at home, especially as a creative entrepreneur, you can often work so long on one project that it’s hard to tell if you’ve made any progress. Being organized is the only way my business stays afloat. If I didn’t keep track of things, I’m sure I’d be in a terrible place.
- Shop Supplies. The fun thing about having you own office space is that you’re able to decorate it however you’d like. Buy supplies that make sense for your job or business. If you never use paper, you probably don’t need a stapler. One place that’s awesome at providing gorgeous office supplies is Poppin.
- Manage Your Office. As with any office, you need to make sure your home office is managed well! Are you using equipment? Is your software up to date? One of the things that I learned in my years of office work is that it’s easier to know everything about what’s in your office than to spend every three months trying to figure out where to buy ink from. Have spreadsheet that lists all of the supplies you need, when you last bought them, the price, and from what vendor. You’ll also be thanking yourself at tax season when you can go back and reference what you’ve bought.
- There’s An App For That! Why do things like tedious project management and accounting when there are apps for it? Using apps like Asana, Zoho, and Freshbooks allow me so much flexibility in managing my business on the go. Remember all of those meetings I was talking about? Even when I’m not in my office, I know what’s happening in my office. Also, unlike most of my peers, I work with a partner so I need to know what he’s doing as well.
If there is anything I hear from my traditional office peers, it’s that working from home would provide too many distractions. There’s the TV, the fridge, and the bed all located in walking distance. How is anyone able to get anything done when Daredevil is on Netflix?!!! The key to surviving in your home office is to keep your mind on the prize. Distractions don’t pay the bills!
- Know Your Discipline Level. I have friends who have no problem working from home with the television on and still get everything they need to done. There are many people who cannot. Please don’t encourage yourself to be distracted with TV or constant snacking. Treat your office like it’s any other office.
- Trick Your Brain. If you don’t have the brain signal that tells you to start working, you may need to trick your brain. Still set your alarm, get dressed, and even put on your shoes if you need to. Do what you need to do to get your brain in productivity mode.
- Stop The Music. Working with music is great and I love it but what makes me more productive are podcasts. There’s something about being educated while working that motivates me to keep going. I keep music for my workouts and my car, and let podcasts guide me through my workday. If you absolutely can’t work while people are talking, switch up your music to something light. You could also try working with noise apps like Coffitivity.
The second thing I hear from my traditional office friends is that they love having co-workers too much to leave the office. I’ve only worked in one place where I had traditional co-workers that I worked with every day and now those people are some of my closest friends, so I understand. There is something quaint about going into a building and being able to say hello to the receptionist who knows your name, going a group lunch or coffee run, and office potlucks. However, what I remember most about office are office politics and spending a lot of time in my office with the door closed praying to remain uninterrupted. There are ways to be social with your home office without necessarily needing the office.
- Work Outside of Your Office. The great thing about working from home is the ability to pick up your laptop and take it anywhere you want. Last year, I spent so much time outside of the office. I would work at Starbucks, other coffee shops, at the park, and absolutely anywhere my laptop to connect to WiFi. Try to take some time to work somewhere else if you miss people! Co-working spaces like Canvs here in Orlando or The Hive in Philadelphia are great options as well.
- Go Out To Lunch! There is nothing about working at home that stops you from grabbing lunch with a friend. If you need some social time, meet up with a friend and eat. You can do it on their schedule, which is amazing, and you don’t have to worry about time constraints on your end.
- Join A Meetup. Meetup is fantastic. It has introduced me to so many amazing people, events, and groups in this city that I wouldn’t have ever known about. All you do is put in your interests and you’re connected to a world of amazing new opportunities. If you’re not sure where to start connecting with others or you’ve just moved to a new place, I would recommend attending a meetup to get to know some people. This also forces you to get out of the house!
I think I’ve covered everything that I can think of for now in this series. I really love working from home and having the freedom to do what I want, when I want, in my office while still doing what I love. Does your job offer working at home as an option? Try it out!
First Photo Credit: Unsplash