Working-From-Home: 6 Lessons I’ve Learned

For the majority of my professional life, I have always worked in offices. I always had co-workers, cubicles, desks and communal kitchens. I always thrived in the office chaos and enjoyed every moment of it. So this summer when I made the switch to freelancing,  I had no idea working from home would be such a major adjustment for me.

 

While I always dreamed of having a job with flexibility (and envied my friends who were able to) working from home permanently was an entirely new experience. The autonomy was fine, I’ve always been able to manage my time and plan out my schedule and priorities on my own. But between feeling isolated and losing that separation between work and home, it’s been a long transition.

 

After four months, I have finally found my groove and I love every minute of it. Here are the best lessons I’ve learned:

 

    • Wake up early. Since most of my freelance jobs are based on the West Coast, my work day doesn’t truly begin until 10am.  And while I could technically sleep in until 9am every day, I want take advantage of the free time I can get. I’ve adjusted my routine to wake up around 5am so I can get my workout, shower, breakfast and dog walks all done before 9am. With that routine, I still leave a little bit of time for me to enjoy blogging, catching up on the news or listening to podcasts.

 

    • Get dressed in real clothes. So I work from home and I get to wear sweats and pajamas all day, right? OK, maybe some days. But generally I’ve found I can’t get in the proper business mindset unless I’m wearing real pants – jeans at least. The phrase “dress for success” is real, so do yourself a favor and put in at least a little effort. Take a shower. Brush your hair. Put on real clothes. Be an adult. I feel so much more energized and motivated when I do.

 

    • Create an inspiring environment. OK – I’m smiling as I write this from our dining room table. Living in this apartment for only six months, we have not properly unpacked or decorated. I can’t wait to live somewhere more permanently, where I can hopefully establish a make-shift office. But regardless of the space you’re in, make it your own. I purposely sit facing our patio, so I can stare outside and receive plenty of daylight. I like to light candles, open the windows and listen to relaxing playlists.  You do you, girl.

 

    • Take breaks. Given the hours I work, I find myself heads down for hours.  Without coworkers or office distractions, I never get up. And honestly if it wasn’t for my dog, I’d probably never get up. I started to set alarms on my phone to get up every hour, stretch and step away from my computer. Even if just for a few minutes, a break to do the dishes or step outside does a wonder for my mindset.

 

    • Switch it up and work from different locations. It’s actually been a challenge to find a lot of places in Groton that have decent Wi-Fi. But if I’m ever in a creative funk (or I feel like I’ve been cooped up too long) I try to find a coffee shop or marketplace to work from. I try to do this at least once a week.

 

    • Try to separate work and home. This, by far, has been the most challenging aspect of working from home. I realize my situation is unique in that I’m working West Coast hours, so by that very definition my work time is cutting into my evenings. I try my hardest to front-load my work early in the day, so by 6pm or so I am done. When I am finally done with work, I close up my laptops and slide them back into their cases. Sometimes I even hide the cases under the table, so they’re literally out of plain sight. If I had an office, I’d definitely close the door. Separate work from home, as best as you can.

 

OK, that’s it from me! For all my other friends who work from home, how do you do it?

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