Working from home can be a such a joy. It’s my favourite way to work, and it’s meant that I’ve been able to create a dream job as a journalist, writer, editor and author in my own sweet abode.
It’s not always easy to make magic happen when I can sooo easily relax in the sun instead, or pop into the pantry (again) or chat with my Mum for an hour.
However, when you find work that feels aligned and exciting, the discipline will come. The long hours will feel good. And the days off will feel absolutely delicious.
Here’s how to get loads done, feel accomplished, make money, and love working from home…
1/ Make lunch at breakfast
While you’re devouring your breakfast and packing the dishes away, take a minute to plan ahead for lunch. If there’s something you’re craving that you can get a head start on in the morning, do it. Especially if it means steaming a big bowl of greens, cooking some quinoa, or popping some eggs in a pot of water. It’s easy, nutritious, and saves time later.
2/ Choose music you align with
Right now I’m listening to Garth Stevenson. He wrote the music for a stunning Aussie movie my hubby worked on called Tracks. I’ve been hooked on it ever since, it’s the best kind of background music for my writing as it’s all instrumental, deliciously moving, and yet so calm. Find whatever works for you, be it classical, punk, or a random Spotify playlist.
3/ Be a flexible boss
When you’ve been working hard, you totally deserve a break. The beauty of working from home is that you can get your hair done on a Monday, or do some gardening on a Tuesday, or have a massage on Wednesday, or lunch with your mum on Thursday, or sleep in on Friday. (Maybe not all in the same week!) As long as you’re ticking off your list and kicking goals, do whatever you need to do. Freelance work often calls for nighttime and weekend work, so take it easy when you need to. Define what balance means to you and make sure you’re looking after yourself.
4/ Keep a timer
This is key for making things happen at my place. I’ll start a writing session and give myself a reasonable amount of time to work through it, but not too long that I get distracted or bored. 30 minutes is a good place to start. Turn off your email, put your phone in another room, stay away from social media, and go.
5/ Small things first
Don’t write anything on your to-do list that you can do in less than a minute. As for the little things on your list, tick them off first if possible so you feel more motivated. And for the really big tasks, keep them on a separate to-do list broken down into smaller parts for you to work through.
6/ Focus from your heart
Commit to focusing on working from the heart and devoting yourself to what really matters. When you let the heart lead the way each day, focus will feel natural, aligned and fluid. If you get too caught up in your head, you’ll overwhelm yourself with everything going on, and you’ll never feel satisfied. Keep breathing deeply, open your heart, and don’t take things too personally.
7/ Find nature
Whenever I hit a stumbling block in my writing, I look out to nature. It’s not a conscious thing, it’s a reflex and it’s so helpful. There have been studies to show the powerful mind-clearing effects of simply taking your eyes off the computer screen and looking at nature. If you don’t have a window to the natural world nearby, get a picture of nature’s finest to feast your eyes on. And whenever you can, get outside for a walk or at least a deep breath. There’s also something quite calming about having a plant nearby. Something alive that requires love and water. It’s a simple and cheap addition to your desk ~ try these pretty healthy things.
8/ Take mini breaks
We all need mini breaks, without them productivity takes a dive. Don’t think you can sit in front of your computer screen all the merry day long and get loads done. You need a break at least once an hour. Go meditate for five minutes, or make a cup of tea, or call your lover, or hug a tree.
9/ Create a schedule
If you’re new to working from home and not quite in a rhythm, set out a schedule for each day. You don’t have to stick to it exactly, but it’s a good guide so you don’t find yourself lost all morning because you don’t know where or when to start. An overall schedule for the week is brilliant too, it helps bring clarity to the mind and peace to the day.
10/ Sweet & neat
There’s nothing that screams my life is frantically crazy quite like a messy desk. Take all the junk off, give it a clean, and put back only what you need. Get drawers, boxes, folders, cork boards, baskets, and filing that will help you organize your nook and keep it neat. I promise this will do wonders for your sense of calm and level of productivity.
11/ Stretch those muscles
Human bodies are simply not meant to sit down for long. But unless you’re in the fitness industry, that’s all we do! Get a good chair, make sure your ergonomics are bang on, and then have a stretch every 30 minutes or so. Arms up, and down, legs circled, head gently side to side, and pointed feet. Now relax. Craving more? Try yoga at home or a dance break before lunch.
12/ Celebrate all the things
Every little win needs to be celebrated. Not everything needs a full-blown party, but a moment of acknowledgment is nice. Pause to appreciate each positive outcome. Gratitude for the good will only bring more good! And try to see the negative feedback as helpful too… it will help shape you in unexpected ways.
13/ Create rituals
Whether you love a pot of tea after lunch, or watching a TED talk every evening before you switch off, or you take the dog for a walk each morning, you can weave your own meaningful rituals into your day. Meditations, oracle cards, music, incense, you decide what rituals you need each day to nourish your soul.
14/ Follow your flow
For me, the hardest part about working an office job was having to work to someone else’s schedule. My best writing often happens in the afternoon, which is when everyone else in an office wants to chat. In the morning, I can be easily distracted and find it hard to focus. These days I make my own rules, which is the only way for me to follow my flow. When I’m tired I can go for a walk, when I’m focused I can write for hours. If I go against my flow it usually ends up being a tough day – and my work will reflect that.
15/ Grace & boundaries
If your job has anything at all to do with helping others, then you have an important job to do. The world needs you. You’re changing lives and that’s enormously valuable. So respect yourself and your job. Look after yourself. Don’t be fickle, don’t let others interfere with your energy, keep your head up and remember the Universe has an important role for you each day. Show up with grace and boundaries.
16/ Set an intention
Each morning, before you even look at your computer, set an intention for the day. Decide what you want from your time at work. I can tell you from experience, it will make such a wild difference. It can be: Today I am open to miracles and new ideas. Or it can be something more specific like: Today I’m calling in new ways of collaborating with creative, soulful, empowering women. Or try one word, choose how you want to feel: Inspired. Hustler. Grateful. Wild. Generous. Open.
17/ Open your mind
The minute you close your mind off to opportunities, box yourself in, or play small, you’re missing out on new possibilities, new collaborations, new jobs, new money, perhaps a new path. Keep your mind open, look for patterns, notice what people are asking of you, what they need. Relish the synchronicities. Where there’s a need there’s a new way to help others and make a living.
18/ Meet people
The one big thing I miss about my old office job was mingling with creative people. These days I make it a priority to see one friend a week, face to face, and to have creative lunchtime chats with my awesome hubby as often as we can.
19/ Keep it sacred
If you have friends or old colleagues who send you emails that are distracting, gossipy or low-vibing, kindly ask them to stop. You don’t need anything in your inbox that isn’t sacred or necessary to you. Be choosy with who shows up in your social media feeds, it’s in your hands and it has a big impact on your world.
20/ Fuel your passions
If you find yourself on social media a little too long during the day, you might have some valuable time up your sleeve. Bringing a side-hustle to life while you work from home is completely doable with the right planning. Whether you start a blog, sell old clothes on eBay or start a charity, you can bring in extra money and fun as you add some colour to each day.
21/ Switch off
At the end of the day, switch the computer off. You don’t need to check your email or social media at night, it can wait. You need time to wind down otherwise your body will never truly rest.