How to make working from home, work for you

Working from the comfort of your own home can quite often sound like the ideal scenario.

Picture yourself now, you’re able to work uninterrupted and surrounded by your very own sights, sounds and smells. There is also really no need to change out of your pyjamas either.

… Is there?

No heavy traffic, office politics or delayed trains to be seen here!

This is a particularly nice thought, if like me, you happen to have an arduous commute into work every day, or perhaps you find it hard to properly concentrate in the office you work in due to the daily hustle and bustle.

Working from home can be incredibly convenient

That said, I never thought that I’d be the one to say that working from home can actually be really challenging. I typically work in an office during the week but work remotely from home one day a week.

Maybe you do the same? Perhaps you’re a self-employed freelancer or a full-time blogger? Whoever you are and whatever you do, working from home can be both a blessing or a curse, especially if you enjoy the physical company and the structure that working in an office can offer you. Working from home also presents other challenges such as endless distractions, the worst one for me is the constant noticing of tidying/cleaning jobs that need to be done /could be done around the house.

When you work from home, it’s also quite tricky to switch-off once your working day has ended. Not to mention the fact that everyone presumes that when you work from home, you’re free and available for that phone call, clean the bathroom, or run those errands.

It’s not all bad though, as a natural loner, working from home is for me, the ideal scenario. Over time, I’ve discovered some things that have really helped make working from home, work for me.

How to work from home both efficiently and effectively

1. Make the bed and get dressed

It’s all too easy to stay in our pyjamas/joggers if we’re working from home. I’ve found that before I start my day, I make sure my bed is made and prioritise getting dressed into my ‘proper’ clothes. Nothing fancy, just a simple jumper and jeans combo, but it helps me to feel ready for the day. It also really helps when the doorbell goes and the postman’s stood on the front doorstep.

2. Create a designated space to work from

It goes without saying that this one really depends on how much space you have available. For example, when I lived in my studio flat, I definitely did not have the room to work in a separate area, which meant being creative with my work area. The same goes with whatever space you dedicate to work, whether it’s your dining room table, a small desk in the box room, or your living room sofa.

Just please, make sure it’s not your bed!

Once you’ve chosen your space, that’s where you’ll ‘go to work’ every day. Having a dedicated working space really helps you to differentiate between ‘work-life’ and ‘home life’ as it tricks your mind into slipping into ‘work mode’ as soon as you sit down.

3. Identify your productivity peaks and troughs

Productivity and motivation ebbs and flows throughout the day. I find that in the hours between 09:30am and 12pm I have the most motivation- and again later in the day between 7pm and 10:30pm. I NEVER feel motivated between the afternoon hours of 1pm and 5pm. This is honestly the worst time to catch me.

One of the key benefits of working for yourself is being able to adapt your work around your productivity peaks — Though, for many of us, I know this is not always possible. Try and schedule your more challenging/meaty tasks around your productivity peak, leaving more menial tasks such as emails to the time when you’re not feeling as productive.

4. Develop a routine

When we travel to and from an office every day, Monday to Friday, our routines pretty much stay the same, and for creatures of habit, this is actually quite comforting. When you work from home, it’s far easier for your routine to be much less regimented. Especially when you’re bad for: ‘I could just do’ or ‘afterI’vee done..’. To tackle this, I try to have my breakfast, my 11sies tea break and my lunch at the same time every day — Not only does this give me incremental goals to reach, but it helps keep my day more rigid and focused.

5. Airplane mode is your best friend

I first heard Pandora Sykes mention on the How to fail podcast, that when she needs to focus and nail down her work, she puts her phone on airplane mode to limit distractions. I think this is a really good idea, just be sure to let your family and friends know you’re MIA momentarily and how to otherwise contact you in case there is an emergency!

I already have my push notifications turned off on my phone, but airplane mode is a great one for when you don’t want anything to break your flow state. If there’s something I really need to focus on, such as a piece of long-form writing, I also pause my Gmail inbox for a short period of time and shut down my internet browsers. With the kind of work I do in influencer marketing, I pretty much always have social media accounts such as Twitter and Instagram open and this can be very distracting, especially when sucked into the ether of mindless scrolling.

There are many positives and negatives to working from home. I love working from home, and if I had the opportunity to do it more often, I definitely would. Keep in mind the 5 points above if you’re making the transition from office life, to working from home…or even have simply found yourself in a rut when working from home.

@holliebradbury