Congratulations! You've finally escaped the office and entered the illustrious realm of the remote worker.
You can work from the beach. You can work in a park. You can work with your feet up. There is no-one watching.
Wait... There is no-one watching. In fact, there is no-one around at all. No-one to check on you and all those household distractions that keep whispering to you.
Here at Tartle Media we all work remotely, apart from when we meet up on our Work Together Days. Therefore, we know virtual working can be both a blessing and a curse.
Here are my tried and tested top tips to help making working from home work for you:
1. Have a separate workspace
Your need to separate home life from work life. Having a dedicated workspace means you can get into the work mindset whenever you are in that area. This could even be small desk in a corner - it's a mental distinction, not a physical one, that you need to make.
2. Take a break
Breaks are always important but getting out of the house and talking to people on those breaks is critical. If you work all day at home and then spend the whole evening at home you can rapidly start feeling trapped and bored, or even housebound. Take the dog for a walk, jog or run, meet a freelance friend for some circuits in the park, buy a coffee and talk to the person serving you, chat to the neighbours. That refreshed feeling and change of atmosphere can be great to push through the day.
3. Keep pen & paper handy
Machines are great and all but we find paper can be great for jotting down ideas and planning. Come back to it every week and go over what you wrote. Maybe it will be all embarrassing crap but hey, sometimes the best work comes from those random sparks of inspiration. Did you know, the prettier the stationery you use, the better the ideas you have. It's proven. And you should believe everything you read.
4. Invest in headphones
If home is pretty noisy, there are builders yelling down the street, or you plan on working around town, invest in some decent quality headphones. Noise cancelling headphones can do wonders in keeping you focused instead of eavesdropping on the conversation at the adjacent table in a café. Becky said what?
5. Change things up
Working remotely doesn't have to mean just working at home. Changing up the scenery even one day a week can keep things feeling fresh and interesting and having other people around you will make you feel more human and connected.
6. Go towards the light
Never work in a dim room. Sitting in your own home in the dark will just make you think of sleep. Always sit near a good source of natural light and use desk lamps as we move into winter and the days get shorter
7. Learn to delegate
Emily has no idea I just pay a group of poor English Literature grads in chewing gum to do all my work while I play video games. The system works.
8. Know when to stop
One of the great benefits of working from home is meant to be the work-life balance. When you're done for the day, shut your computer down so you aren't tempted to hop back on.
9. Run a tight ship
Homeworkers are rarely micromanaged. Set goals and use scheduling with reminders on your phone or laptop to keep yourself on track.
10. Keep it clean
This doesn't mean distracting yourself with house chores during the day. When you eat or work, just keep your desk and the area around you tidy and don't fall into a pattern of working in a clutter and sorting it out later in the day. A big pile of whatever next to your laptop doesn't help much when you are trying to focus on your work.
11. Dress to impress
This one surprised me. When I started working from home I made the most of it and wore any old clothes that were lying around but I felt way more sluggish in PJ bottoms. Still, making the effort to look good makes you feel a bit more serious and gets you into the mindset to work.
12. Separate your tech
This one could require some negotiation with the boss, but if you can do it then it is invaluable. Have a separate work phone and work laptop to keep your worlds apart. Keep all your distractions on your home tech so you can work and never have work communications sync'd into your home life so you can still turn off at the end of the day. It will be a blessing for your productivity and your wellbeing
13. Get up early
While you can just roll out of bed and into your home office on some days, it isn't the best way to start a productive day. Getting up early to do something else before the day begins can do wonders for breaking you out of the "aww I have to work" mindset that can creep in some days. If you're really committed to living your best life, you could channel Mark Wahlberg, rise at 2.30am and invest in some cryotherapy. Or do as we do, and just copy his two breakfast rule.