Hi everyone! Given everything going on in the world right now, a lot of people are starting to consider working from home, even if it’s only temporary. Or perhaps they’re looking to start writing and aren’t sure where to start.
I’ve been working predominantly from home for several years now (and I do 90% of my writing from home), and while it absolutely works for me and I LOVE it, the transition certainly wasn’t always a smooth one. So I’ve compiled some of my biggest tips for anyone looking to work from home or make the most out of their space.
These days I have a home office, but when I started, I had a junior apartment in a not-great area. Not all of these will apply to everyone, but hopefully they’ll help jump start some ideas.
1. Dress like you’re going to work. This sounds simple, but don’t stay in your pajamas or comfy clothes all the time. I’m not saying you need to wear a suit, but you want to dress in the mindset that you’re going to work. It’s a little thing that goes a long way.
2. Create a dedicated space, and try to use it only for work. This will depend largely on your resources, but please, DO NOT WORK FROM YOUR BED. This is where productivity goes to die. You may find that you like working from different places in your home for some variety, but my main recommendation is to find a space that makes you feel productive.
3. Make boundaries with work. It’s very easy to let your work slip into your evening or personal time when you work from home. Keep your hours to about whatever your regular work hours would be in an office, and stick to it. Now that you’re literally bringing your work home with you, you’ll have to be diligent about making it stay to only work hours.
4. Remember to move around! It is alarmingly easy for me to sit at my desk all day with no movement. Now, I make sure to take walks around my area, or occasionally go out and grab a coffee, or take lunch at my kitchen table and not at my desk.
5. Use time to your advantage. One of the best things about working from home is the flexibility. I no longer have a work commute, so I spend my mornings cleaning the apartment, journaling, writing, reading, doing yoga, getting groceries, etc. I used to just sleep that time away, but now I’m careful to make it ‘me’ time.
6. Don’t isolate yourself. For many people, the hardest part about working from home is being alone. This is especially jarring if you’re like me, where I lived in Manhattan, was around people CONSTANTLY, and then just…saw no one once I moved to my not-good neighborhood and transitioned to working from home. Make sure you spend time out of the house, whether it’s working from a coffee shop, or setting dinner dates with friends, or jumping on the phone to chat with your colleagues instead of being on IM, or playing co-op games, or joining a club/gym in your area. There are a bunch of ways in and out of work hours to spend time with other people, so you can find the ones that work best for you.
7. Regarding kids: I don’t have kids, so I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert here. But a few of my colleagues have kids ranging in different ages, and the biggest thing I’ve seen from them is both adjusting their time to fit their kids’ schedules, while also still setting boundaries with them so they understand you’re working. These folks usually start work a little earlier than I do, but they might randomly be gone for a half an hour to get their kids from school or take them to an appointment. Again, flexibility with working from home can be your best friend, and it’s simply a matter of adjusting your schedule to make it work.
8. Talk to someone if you’re struggling with working from home. It can be tough, and sometimes knowing other people feel the same way helps. This goes back to not isolating yourself!
I may end up adding more to this, but these are the ones that stood out. If you have any questions or more tips, let me know!