The rise of the internet has opened up many opportunities for people to escape their 9-5 office jobs and start working from home. No longer is this a lifestyle reserved for freelancers or a few lucky ones – this is a real career possibility.
It looks like we’re moving towards a more freelance-oriented way of working. Some estimates say that by 2020, 50% of the US workforce will be freelancers. Half!
While working while you travel, and writing from coffee shops is awesome, most people will find that the bulk of their work gets done at home. This is why it’s important to learn how to start working from home in the best possible way. Luckily, I’m here to show you how 😉
How To Start Working From Home and Boost Productivity.
Whether you’re thinking about starting or you’re already working from home, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. I’ve been working from my living room for the last few months and there are definitely pros and cons.
I’m going to share what I think are the biggest action points to creating the best working-from-home environment and being super-productive.
Create an efficient working space
When you first get started working from home you’ll probably be working on a laptop or your home computer, meaning that they’ll be fill of distractions. It’s so tempting to fire up YouTube and start watching your favourite content creators talk about their stuff, but it won’t do you any good.
You need to set up a new account that is just for work. No games, no films, no fun internet – just work! This is boring, but it’s what works best.
You’ll also need a space in the house that serves as your professional place. If you have a spare room that’s great! Otherwise, any table will do.
I started out working from my sofa, bending my neck at unhealthy angles for prolonged periods of time. Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well, so I ended up buying a cheap computer screen, mouse, and keyboard. You don’t need to spend much at all, even the most basic models will do the job.
Another tip is music. Listening to music can boost productivity for some people. As obvious as it sounds, it appears that gentler music without lyrics is the best choice to boost productivity.
If you have trouble working in silence and you’re too distracted by music, check out Noisli. It’s a background noise generator that lets you set a combination of soothing sounds like rain, waves, wind or thunder.
Set a routine – and tweak it!
When you wake up – or even before you go to bed the previous night – it’s a great idea to write down your goals for the day.
Once you’ve got into the habit of working from home, you’ll start to learn what works and what doesn’t. Through repetition, you’ll develop a routine, which will make even the most mundane tasks a breeze.
It’s similar to how to can program your brain into saving money through habits, but even easier!
Know when to stop
The best thing about working in an office is that there is a stark contrast between work and play. At the office, you work, and at home, you can play and relax. Never the twain shall meet!
Working from home is a different story – the line between work and non-work can become blurry, and it’s tempting to keep working until late at night. When you start working on a business that you’ve created yourself and that you enjoy, it’s too easy to never stop working or thinking about it.
I’m often guilty of this myself: I’ll work until the evening and then I’ll keep reading more articles on how to become a better blogger or listening to entrepreneurship podcasts while I’m in bed!
This is why it’s important to set time boundaries and know when to stop working – both physically and mentally. If you decide to stop working at 5pm, then be disciplined and actually stop.
Take a longer lunch break
Just because you were only allowed to take a half-hour lunch break at your 9-5 job doesn’t mean you have to keep it up when you’re working from home.
You want a break that’s long enough to really disconnect from your work worries, yet too long that you can’t get back to work!
I think that something around an hour is great. It gives you enough time to cook a yummy meal at home (no more brown-bagging!) and chill while you watch an episode of some sitcom – really loving It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia myself.
Exercise during the day
One of the best things about working from home and having a completely versatile schedule is that you can choose when you do certain things.
I love going to the gym and lifting weights, and I used to go after work when I had a 9-5 job. The problem was that everyone else did the same! The gym was packed with people and weights were often taken, leading to unproductive, stressful sessions. 🙁
Now that I work for myself, I go to the gym in the late morning, when it’s much more empty. There’s no traffic, no parking issues, and everything is free.
This freedom can apply to anything you do in the evenings: shopping, strolling, taking classes, going for a cycle… etc.
Another awesome effect of exercising is that you’ll be way more productive. Exercise is one of the most potent “drugs” there is, and it’s free!
Don’t kick yourself if you have an unproductive day
As your own boss, it’s very tempting to be hard on yourself. You know your potential and you expect nothing less.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works!
You won’t always have good days. Some days you’ll wake up with the best of intentions and end up spending all day watching Youtube videos and talking to your friends on Whatsapp. It happens.
You ned to remember that these days won’t affect your long-term success as long as they aren’t frequent. As long as most of your days are productive, you’ll be fine.
This is the approach I’m taking with my goals for 2017. I know some days will be rubbish, but I’m still going to mostly have good days. Apply the Pareto principle and you’ll be fine.
How about you, what are your best tips to start working from home? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to share this on social media 🙂
Alexis @FITnancials says
I work from home and have yet to create an efficient working place. I constantly have dogs bothering me and there are so many distractions!
Mrs. Picky Pincher says
I won’t lie–I got to work from home a few times this week and it was WONDERFUL. It sucks because 100% of my job can be done remotely. It’s possible for me to work from home, but obviously the company wants me physically there most of the time. I love remote work because I can do a load of laundry while I’m on a conference call or check email while watching TV.