Work from home! Be your own boss! Set your own hours! Make millions!
These and many more are all the glittery promises of any career when you’re self-employed. Even if you’re not your own boss, and you’re just working from home, it can often be more difficult than it sounds.
Work life can start to mix in with home life when there’s no clear line between the two, other than what time you decide to pull your laptop out.
As an example, let me give you a run-down of how my morning went:
9:00am Wake Up (but fall back asleep)
10:00am Wake Up Again
10:30am Shower, Stretch, Make Coffee
11:00am Sit on the couch with my SO while we drink coffee
11:30am Maybe I should open my laptop now?
11:45am Check Facebook, remember that a year ago today was the day that awesome California vacation began, share pictures with family
12:00pm Open unfinished Word document from yesterday
12:05pm Decide I could use some motivational music, spend 10 minutes making a playlist
12:15pm Check email
12:20pm There’s a tropical storm warning in the gulf? That sounds important
12:30pm Toast an asiago cheese bagel
12:35pm Look at unfinished Word document again, type two sentences with greasy asiago cheese fingers
12:45pm Clean the kitchen while singing “Misery Business”
These “work from home” jobs aren’t always as luxurious as they might sound. Especially when you live in a less-than-luxurious post-college apartment with only a second-hand kitchen table and a garage sale loveseat to work from.
Some of us are more disciplined than others, and I find myself falling into the less-disciplined category more often than not. Even so, working from home is still possible! I’ve put together a few hacks to help your mind get motivated.
Clean and Protect Your Workspace
If you’re serious about working from home, you need a specific place in the house to work from. When I say specific, I mean almost sacred: this is your workspace, and your workspace only. This is the pristine temple where you retreat to daily to create your beautiful life’s work. And it should be treated as such.
Make it cute and decorated, if that’s what you like, or make it minimalist and organized, whatever helps you feel inspired and ready to be productive. Again, this is your temple, so set aside some time making it look and feel the way you want it to.
For me, when I sit down at my computer, I tell myself I’m going to write until my brain is no longer churning out ideas: that’s my cue that it’s time for a break. I like to take yoga breaks: there are plenty of five- to fifteen-minute yoga videos on YouTube. I have a few quickies saved in my favorites list that are perfect for getting the blood flowing again.
For Writers, Try Distraction-Free Writing Apps
These come packaged either as websites or downloadable applications for Mac and PC. A writing app is basically a full-screen, toolbar-free Microsoft word—some have keyboard shortcuts rather than a toolbar, and others have swipe-down visible toolbars. These apps enable you to write on a blank screen without the constant temptation to switch tabs and check Facebook.
There are plenty available for free, such as FocusWriter. For additional features such as optional audio, there are paid apps such as OmmWriter.
Do you have favorite hacks you use to keep the productivity going? What does your daily work-at-home schedule look like? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!