Before you actually do it "working from home" conjures up visions of exercising every day, having amazing meals cooked every night, blasting through loads of work whilst sipping tea in the garden. Then you leave your corporate job, kiss goodbye to that awful commute and for a good few weeks feel totally lost (and knackered!).
Suddenly there's no-one expecting you anywhere, no routine at all to follow and it's just you (and the pugs in my case!)
Cue days where you do virtually nothing or days when you have the best intentions but end up faffing with something totally un-important. Then feel guilty and useless and start to actually consider getting another job. Urgh.
But, it will be ok! With a little time, experimentation you can build your own routine, figure out what works for you and how to keep yourself on track! I've been working from home for just over a year now so here's what I've learnt so far and maybe some tips that might help you adjust too!
What I've learnt after my first year of working from home...
1. Figure out what keeps you motivated? - There's so many distractions at home so I have to remind myself regularly of what I'm trying to achieve and why. I have my goals written down and stuck on my office wall and a reminder that goes off on my phone every month to review my goals.
2. You'll discover your inner washing ninja - Seriously! As soon as those dirty socks hit the wash basket they're on the line to dry. Unfortunately the ironing is still as boring and unlikely to be done.
3. Setting up a dedicated work space improves productivity - Even if it's just sitting at the kitchen table rather than on the sofa I always get more done if I'm working at a "desk". It also helps you feel more balanced if you can work in a different room to where you relax in the evening. Otherwise the boundaries will easily become blurred.
4. Friends + family will ask you to do more favours for them - well you're work from home, how busy can you be?! (Deep breath!) I've accepted it now rather than getting frustrated. I actually love the babysitting and don't mind picking up extra bits from the supermarket if it helps them out but I let them know when I'm working so they don't just 'pop over' at random times just as I've gotten in the zone.
5. Find when you work best - we all have times of the day when it's easier for us to concentrate so work out when it is and use it to your advantage rather than fight it (you'll only end up procrastinating anyway!) Schedule your day so you can take advantage of your 'prime time' and use the times where you loose focus to get your food shopping done, faff around on Facebook or go to the gym.
6. It can get a bit lonely sometimes - it's normal. Even for an introvert like me I sometimes crave a bit of human interaction. My top tip here would be to have a couple of sociable activities built into your weekly routine and to organise regular catch up's with any other business friends you have. You can also join online groups on Facebook or Instagram for more daily chatter. For example I run the #workingfromhomeclub on Instagram - here's all the info if you want to join us!
7. The phone will always ring or the doorbell will always go just as you're about to get into the shower -Fact. Get used to it.
8. Take care of yourself! - I know it sounds basic but making sure you get out of the house (even if just for a quick dog walk everyday), exercise regularly and eating healthily all make a huge difference.
9. Enjoy every second of Wimbledon fortnight ;-) - work harder the few weeks before and after Wimbledon if you have too so you can make the most at actually being at home to watch it when it's on! It's one of the best things about working from home for me as I love it and always resented going to my 9-5 when there was a big match on.
10. Set yourself some boundaries - you need to schedule in some downtime too! No doubt you want to set up your business or work from home for a reason so don't feel bad if you set aside an afternoon off to do something nice - just work round it. I now have two rules in place: 1) no work after 6pm and 2) no work at the weekends unless I've taken more than a day off during the week. Don't forget it you were in a 9-5 you'd be taking holidays so you need to build in breaks for yourself at home too.
Do you have any tips to add? Can you identify with any of these in particular?