Working from home is such a dream for so many people and I’ve got to say that I am loving it so far. I’ve already talked a bit about the freedom of freelancing and would totally recommend it to anyone.
Whether you plan to work from home full-time or just before/after your day job, setting up the right environment is so important.
I am lucky enough to have a small spare room which I’ve dedicated as my home office. Having my own space is really helpful because I have two overly excited kittens. They’re adorable, but not always the best company when you need to get shit done. So, being able to shut the door is really helpful, but sometimes they come to watch me type.
I realise that not everyone has their own office, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll just assume that you have some kind of space to call your own.
Make it a space you love
I can’t recommend this enough. If you’re used to working in corporate offices all day, you may be tempted to bring some of that ultra-professionalism home with you.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You left your job for a reason right? Or you’d like to in the future. So don’t bring that joyless vibe back. Make it a space that you love to be in. You may not love your work all the time (even if you’re working from home) but having a space that you enjoy to be in can be so helpful.
Don’t be afraid to inject all your personality into your space. Put up posters, pictures of family, motivational notes, planners. Bring in a bit of nature with plants. Have a scented candle or oil diffuser pumping out your favourite fragrances.
In my office, I have a wall planner, old-style travel posters (I love travel), I’ve got an oil diffuser/mood lamp. I have a little bonsai tree and a coffee maker.
All these things make the place a bit more homey because – well it is my home. I love the space. But you might want something entirely different.
Have everything you need at hand
Think about the things you need to have close to hand during the day. It could be your phone, your headphones to concentrate, a little tea/coffee station to keep you full of caffeine.
If you’re like me and get way too distracted, it really helps to have everything I need close to hand on my desk or at least in my office. There is less temptation to sit down and watch TV on the way to make coffee, for example.
There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve got a ton of work to do but you’ve got backache from sitting in that dodgy old chair that’s about to break at any moment.
Invest in your office and work towards building an ergonomic workstation. That means a chair that supports your back, a desk with enough space, a computer screen that’s sat at eye-level and so on.
Whatever you can do to reduce eye strain, neck and back strain will help you stay productive and healthy.
I have a laptop stand that puts my laptop at eye level – with a separate keyboard that’s close to my body so I’m not leaning over. I’ve got a mouse mat with wrist support and a foot stand to prevent knee pain.
These things don’t need to cost that much – most are quite cheap – and you can add them bit by bit if you need to.
If you’ve got the cash to splash or can make one yourself, try out a standing desk.
I was toying with the idea for so long but managed to make my own one with this weird block in my office that goes over the stairs in my house.
It’s perhaps not Pinterest worthy but it gets the job done.
However, not going to lie, my legs hurt a bit while standing up but it’s a nice change from sitting at a desk and it allows me to fidget all I want.
I only stand for about 30 mins at a time a couple of times a day at the moment. The important thing is not to stand all day – staying in any one position isn’t great for the body. You’ll just end up in pain.
Tackle distractions head on
Distractions are probably the number one downside to working from home. I am awful with procrastination. It could be Netflix (it often is for me), or housework, pets, children, noisy neighbours, and of course social media. I’ve recently discovered the world of Youtube and Instagram. Of course I knew about them before, but I’d never spent so much time on them. I feel like an old lady who just wandered onto the internet to see what all the fuss was about. And my god are they a time drain.
Whatever your main sources of distraction are, you really need to tackle them head on.
For example, if social media is an issue for you, here are some ideas:
- Put your phone in another room while you work
- Uninstall apps on your phone
- Create a ‘work’ account on your computer – keep social media off your bookmarks!
Tiredness or hunger (my second and third worst distractions):
- Meal plan and prep – less time cooking when you should be working + healthier diet
- Keep healthy snacks on hand
- Try fasting or keto to reduce hunger (not for everyone!)
- Make time for exercise – this will improve your energy levels
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. No more midnight Netflix binges.
- Wake up early and have a slow, peaceful start to the morning – you’ll be more refreshed and productive when you eventually start work
Try to keep consistent hours
I am very guilty of this. I tell myself that I need to stay flexible with my time but the truth is, we all work better with a schedule.
However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be flexible in nature.
Try to establish what times of day you’re most productive and set your routine up to make the most of these times.
For example, if you’re more creative in the morning, you may set this time aside for writing, creating or designing something.
You can choose whenever you work but try to keep consistent. Once you’ve got into the habit of doing something, it’ll become much easier to get straight to work because your brain sub-consciously knows what’s coming next and prepares for it (thanks brain!)
So there you have some of my tips for setting up and actually getting to work in your home office. I’m loving it so far and I hope you do too!
Do you work from a home office? What tips do you have to create a productive space and keep on track? Please share your thoughts below!