How to Make Working From Home Work For You

After 6 months of working an (awesome) full-time job in addition to running my business, I'm excited to be back at CAF full-time. And a little relieved--I feel like I've just been through boot camp! But what any good boot camp does is prepare you for top performance in your field.

As I've transitioned back into working just from home, I've noticed that I'm working much differently than before my boot camp. And being the productivity junkie enthusiast that I am, I just had to share my discoveries (so wanted to make a biceps metaphor here) with you.

 

How to make working from home work for you:

 

1 | HAVE BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR TIME

Old way: Wake up at 6 am, immediately hop on the computer, work until 9 pm with few breaks.

New way: Wake up at 6 am, write some morning pages, have breakfast and get ready, and do whatever I want until 9 am. End work at 5 pm.

Boot camp benefit: With the old way, I never felt like I was done working. With no defined workday, I always felt like I should be doing more. Now I have a set schedule, making room for being a person, and can stop working at a reasonable hour knowing I've done a full day's work. I can always work more if I want to, but I have a sense of completeness at 5 pm.

 

2 | ACT LIKE YOU'RE WORKNG FOR SOMEONE ELSE

Old way: 2 pm on a Tuesday: check the fridge, need bread. If I don't have an appointment, go get bread. 2:30 pm, Mom calls. Answer the phone and talk for 15 minutes.

New way: No bread? Write it down and go to the store after work. Mom calls during the work day? She can leave a message.

Boot camp benefit: I used to interrupt my workday frequently with personal tasks and errands that a good boss would never let me get away with. "But Laura, one of the great things about working from home is the flexibility!" I know, I know. But that flexibility wasn't working for me.

 

3 | GET TO WORK ON TIME

Old way: Wake up at 6 am, check my email, do some social media, do some work. 10 am: realize it's 10 am and that I'm still in my pjs and haven't eaten. I've gotten some work done, some messing around done, but I feel kinda gross and out of it.

New way: At 9 am, I'm in my office, ready for the day, and do a quick routine which includes: feeding my 2 pet bunnies (they live in my office), opening the blinds, and lighting a candle.

Boot camp benefit: I feel ready and like a pro. I'm focused, and my little ritual triggers a "game on" response. "But Laura, one of the great things about working from home is that you can be in your pajamas!" I know, I know. Again, wasn't working for me.

 

4 | TAKE A WEEKEND

Old way: Work all the time, everyday, not sure what day of the week it is. Have faint memory of a mythical day called Friday, but never experience it.

New way: Work M-F, 9-5. Treat a weekend like a weekend. Create as Folk is pretty much a one-woman band, and I love what I do, so sometimes I might need or want to work. I still treat it like a weekend. Pajamas? Ok. Work from the couch? Ok. Watch new pilots on Hulu at 11 am? Ok. I take away all the structure from the workweek so I can relax a bit, but still get stuff done.

Boot camp benefit: I get to have a Friday! And down time. And be a person.

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This article might be more aptly named, "How To Make Working From Home Work For Laura Simms." While I think you'll find some helpful info here, you still have to find what will work for you. Be honest, evaluate often, challenge your assumptions, and keep asking, "Is this really working for me?"

 

YOUR TURN

  • 1. What are your tips for making working from home work for you?
  • 2. What about working from home do you struggle with?

Let me know in the comments.