I blog and write and create as my job. I do this job from home. There are days when I desperately miss having a desk, in an office, that I drove to, tidied up before leaving, and promptly forgot until the next morning. There are perks to working from home, to be sure. However, you must work smartly–or you’ll find yourself at 5pm with nothing done, morning breath, in your pajamas, having only eaten cereal all day. Oh, that’s just me?
Well, frequent Tiny Twig contributor Jennifer Blair is here to fill us in on her secrets. She works hard as a photographer, and just rebranded and relaunched her site yesterday! Head over to see her good work.
I used to envy those who worked from home. It sounded like such a dream. Then I started my own business from home and suddenly the dream became a nightmare. The house was messier. My to-do list was longer. My days seemed even shorter. It was like I’d wake up, blink and the sun was setting and I was still in my pjs. I was overwhelmed and working my tush off, but still not getting enough done. I had to change. Take these tips from someone who learned the hard way.
1. Set office hours
This has been the most effective thing I’ve done for my business. Instead of checking emails late into the night and then sluggishly getting to work in the morning, I have a pretty strict 8:30-6:30 policy. Having a deadline for the day has made me so much more productive. This also goes for interaction with my clients. They can reach me anytime during those hours, after that my husband and home have my attention. Although I love what I do, it can become a burden if I don’t create boundaries between work and the rest of my life.
2. Take breaks
If I tried to edit a wedding straight for a whole day I would undoubtably lose my mind. (Trust me, I’ve done it before and yes, I lost my mind!) Taking refreshing breaks is important. However, browsing facebook and twitter does not count as a refreshing break. It only distracts. Inevitably I find a link to click on or pretty photos to browse every time I get on. Instead I’ve learned to read a Psalm, take a few breaths of fresh air outside, play a song on the guitar or do a little yoga. When I come back I am more focused for work.
3. Get dressed…at least sometimes
You’ve probably heard the saying “dress for the job you want”. It’s actually very effective, even if you work from home. I feel so motivated and successful when I actually get dressed for the day. Now, I am all for taking advantage of wearing my sweat pants whenever I can, but I also know that getting dressed sets me up for a successful day.
4. Don’t undervalue yourself and your time
Man, this is a hard one to learn, especially when you first start out. Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you’re worthless. Know the value of your time. This is especially important if you’re in business for yourself. If you don’t have confidence in yourself then no one else will.
5. Make time to interact with people
Working from home can get lonely. For the most part I’m by myself during the day. When I first stared my business, I’d almost tackle my husband when he walked in the door. I was desperate for interaction with someone else by the end of the day. Poor husband! On the other hand, he was ready for a little rest and quiet at the end of his work day. After a few months I realized I need to make friendships more of a priority. I try to go out for lunch with a friend once a week. It does wonders for my sanity.