Ever since I lived in Dubai, I’m used to working from home. When you’re mostly freelancing, that’s normally how it goes. It has its positive and negative aspects – like everything else – but mainly, it’s about knowing how to do it. I’ve been developing a few rules to keep me on track every time I have to spend the day at the computer. Now even more, because I also have to keep I life you up and running.
One: always keep healthy snacks around. This rule is something I have been following since my study days. When you spend so much time sitting down, it’s important to be aware of what you put in your body. I always keep a stash of nuts around, fresh fruit, granola bars, yogurts and dark chocolate. Never skip a snack in the morning or afternoon because they will help you keep that brain fueled.
Two: always keep my space organized. I’ve always been organized when it comes to my space. Whether it’s my room, apartment or working spot and it’s important to have one, so you’re not running around the house looking for a place to work. Keep it functional with basic desk essentials, clean at all times and with free space so you can place a snack, a glass of water or, in my case, my phone and camera at times.
Three: keep distractions to a minimum. This is not always easy because there are so many things in your apartment you’d rather be doing. I tend not to keep my phone near me, otherwise I keep scrolling down Instagram or checking for messages. Also do not turn on the TV, and I’ve fallen victim of this too many times. If you do feel the need to stop, walk around the apartment, refill my glass of water or go for some fresh air to clear my head. Don’t substitute technology with more technology.
Four: make sure your daily tasks are done before you sit down in front of the computer. When you work from home, you have to be careful into running your business and leisure hours because it can get confusing. There are so many things you could be doing like re-arranging your bookcase or washing the dishes, taking out the trash. I always make sure I do it in the first hour and a half of my day. I get up, wash my face, change into normal clothes – which is also a rule of thumb to get you more focused – have breakfast, make the bed, wash the dishes and, if there aren’t any more tasks to do, sit down on the computer to start my labor day.
Five: always keep a glass of water. Most of the times when I’m working I forget to drink water. I get focused on what I’m doing and time passes by really quickly. So, to avoid that, I always keep a glass of water on my desk and force myself to drink minimum four glasses everyday – not counting when I exercise.
Six: organize your daily tasks the day before. When I have things to do – even if it’s just one task – on the computer, I always write it down. It keeps me from obsessing over it or forget about it. It might be to send an email, to re-read an article or do a budget. I keep my desk filled with notebooks to note down important things, ideas for posts, inspirational quotes or to sketch something.
Seven: change into your clothes. This may sound unreasonable since you’re not going anywhere or meeting anyone but believe me, it works when it’s time to actually work. You will take yourself a lot more seriously and won’t procrastinate as much if you have your day-to-day clothes on. At times I even apply some foundation and mascara just to feel better and more professional.
Eight: exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Given that I’m sitting down in a chair/couch all day, I try to maintain a regular exercising routine. In the spring and summer I try to go for one hour walks or runs because it helps me to get out of the apartment and breathe some fresh air. In the winter I’ve been going to our building’s gym and, at times, do it in our apartment. It helps to have a playlist, cute workout clothes or even a partner. Even if you have to lay down on the floor and pedal – you might feel ridiculous but it actually can work.
Nine: try to have as much natural light as possible. This might set your tone for the whole day. If your blinds are closed and there’s not much light coming in you might feel a tad relaxed and not want to work at all. The minute I get up, the first thing I do is open up the curtains of our apartment and this huge amount of light comes in. I honestly feel more energetic and also take a few minutes to look outside.
Do you have any tips you swear by to work from home? I would love to hear them!