Most people who have never done it are dreaming about it and wishing they could work from home too.
Alone and free to be, not having to get ready and rush in the morning, prepare lunch boxes or commute through traffic…should I continue?
Those working from home are divided into two groups. Some love it, while others often struggle. Sometimes, having that much flexibility and free time can be challenging if you don’t have a clear plan and are not organized enough.
As for me, having been an entrepreneur for many years, I have had my moments, my ups and downs. When people ask me how I feel about it, I have given them the same answer — I miss going to an office mostly because of the interaction. I am a people person and there is always so much to learn while interacting with others.
I was blessed with a great team throughout my years in the corporate world so yes, I miss that “team” feeling. I love teamwork. And having a creative mind, I love to bounce ideas back and forth. I love to motivate others as much as I love to be challenged.
This is why things are not always easy when working from home but it really depends upon each person. You have to constantly pat yourself on the back and motivate yourself.
I had to master the art of discipline and stick to my to-do list in the morning — balancing time on/off. It was so easy to procrastinate in the beginning and be everywhere but nowhere at the same time. Very soon I was overwhelmed by my to-do list and I knew I simply had to readapt to my new working lifestyle.
One of the things about being an entrepreneur is that you end up working more, especially if you love what you do — which is the entire idea, isn’t it? Working on something you are passionate about becomes an extension of yourself and sometimes you don’t realize you are working. It starts early, first thing in the morning with researching articles, quotes, checking social media, then following up on emails and editing contracts until late at night, and so on. Sometimes, you work on different time zones so there is no end to it.
Sometimes you want to work beyond your scope of work in anticipation of what might happen. At least this is what I used to do. Thinking about something planned for the future but doing it now, the moment the idea crossed my mind.
I was guilty of all of the above but very quickly I realized that I needed a plan. Nothing drastic and nothing that would change everything overnight, but small steps for long-term results. I decided to set up rules and apply them as soon as possible.
“Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things.” – Byron Dorgan
This has worked for me so I hope it helps you if you are not already doing the following:
- Set a fixed number of hours
Think that you are working in an office and set a fixed number of hours for work. Monitor them. They do not have to be straight hours, but manage them accordingly. For example, I don’t compromise on yoga or gym in the morning and if I start work later, I finish working later as well.
Know when to start but mostly, know when to stop. Keep aside some time for yourself or for family in the evening. It is easy to confuse work time and free time. One is as important as the other. Make sure they don’t overlap with one another.
- Take a break
Break for coffee, stretching, reading a book or a short yoga practice and most important, break for lunch. There is no point in working non-stop until late and filling your mind with pictures, content, ideas, etc. Sometimes people think that a break kills momentum but on the contrary, it works in your favor and helps you manage your energy. Fifteen minutes of yoga can shift your mindset and help you remain more focused and energized.
- Stay hydrated and healthy
Working from home has helped me remain healthier and I have taken full advantage of it. I have not had the problem of taking my salad or favorite tea to the office. Being home, I have them right in front of me, all the time, taking away all excuses for bingeing on unhealthy foods.
Get the help of a health coach in the beginning, and look up interesting, healthy recipes. It is easier to cook what is planned, than to decide what to cook at the last minute, between two phone calls.
- Avoid distractions
Switch off the phone and notifications. Or allocate a specific amount of time for this. I don’t spend more than ‘x’ time on the Internet especially if it is only to browse and ‘wander’ online. I check Instagram in the morning and at the end of my working day. The same goes for Facebook, and nothing in-between.
Master the art of discipline. Follow your list and your top 5 to accomplish for the day. Do not divert from it, come what may. The only way to make sure that your day is productive is to actually cross things off your list. This does not lie. Step out, go for coffee, write the 5 top things to be done in the day and complete them.
I used to feel guilty at the end of the day that I hadn’t done a thing, until I started writing down all that I’d accomplished. And then I could give myself a satisfying pat on the back!
- Allocate a workspace
My favourite one so far — set up a proper working desk. It’s all too easy to work on the couch, on the bed or at the kitchen table. However, you will enjoy setting up a dedicated workspace. Add all your favourite things like your coffee mug, pictures, inspirational quotes, books — and flowers if you’re a romantic.
It is by building good habits that I have taken full advantage of working from home. So I will end with one of my favorite quotes —
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn
Once you build these great habits, you can work from anywhere you want. The world becomes your office. You are confident that work will get done, no matter where you are and what you do, and this is all that matters. It is all about making the best of it and enjoying your entrepreneurial journey.
What about you? Share your best practices for working from home.