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 my own dream job as a writer 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 the work that feels aligned and exciting, the discipline will come. The long hours will feel good. The days off will feel absolutely delicious.
Here’s how to get loads done, feel accomplished, make money, and truly enjoy 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 could get a head start on in the morning, do it. Especially if it means steaming a big bowl of greens or popping some eggs in a pot of water. It’s easy, nutritious, and saves time later.
2/ Keep the snacks stacked
If there’s chocolate in the pantry it’s history, right? Me too. That’s why I make sure I have healthy snacks made for the kid’s lunchbox and my afternoon slump. Keep some organic homemade popcorn, activated nuts, bliss balls, or fruit handy. You’ll need it.
3/ 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 Spotify playlist.
4/ 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. 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.
5/ Keep a timer
This is key for making things happen. I’ll start on an article/blog post/email 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.
6/ 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 so you feel more motivated. And for the really big tasks, keep them on a separate to-do list broken down into smaller parts.
7/ Focus from your heart
Commit to focusing on your work from the heart and devoting yourself to what really matters. When you let the heart head the way each day, focus will feel natural, aligned and fluid.
8/ Find nature
I am so unbelievably fortunate that behind my computer screen is the most gorgeous backyard ~ a whole reserve behind our house full of noisy birds and swaying trees and a flowing creek. It’s heaven. Whenever I hit a stumbling block in my writing, I look out. 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. But 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 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 ~ or go all out and get a huge plant in a big pot in your office. Try these pretty healthy things.
9/ 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.
10/ 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 to start.
11/ Make it 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 clarity and level of productivity.
12/ 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. All better.
13/ 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 every single positive outcome. Gratitude for the good will only bring more good! And try to see the negative feedback as awesome too… it will help shape you in unexpected ways.
14/ 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, a chat with a friend or mentor, you decide what rituals you need each day to nourish your soul.
15/ Follow your flow
For me, the hardest part about working an office job was having to work to someone else’s schedule. My best work often happens in the afternoon, which is when everyone else wants to chat. In the morning, I can be easily distracted and find it hard to do the tough jobs. 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 go go go. If I go against my flow it usually ends up being a tough day – and my work will reflect that.
16/ 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 the most important thing in the world. So respect yourself and your job. Look after yourself. Don’t be fickle, don’t let others take you down, keep your head up and remember the Universe has an important role for you each day. Show up with grace and boundaries.
17/ 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 the most massive difference. It can be: today is all about clarity and new ideas. Or it can be something meaty like: today I’m open to new ways of collaborating with creative, soulful, empowering women. Or try one word, choose how you want to feel: Inspired. Hustler. Grateful. Generous. Open. Wild.
18/ 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. Where there’s a need there’s a new way to help others and make a living.
19/ 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 chats with my awesome hubby as often as we can.
20/ Ask for help
You have three options when it comes to tasks that are too tricky for your current understanding. 1. Find a friend who can guide you through it so you learn the ropes and know for future. 2. Find someone who will skill swap. 3. Pay someone to do the hard work (I recommend finding someone through word of mouth).
21/ Switch off
At the end of the day, switch the computer off. You don’t need to check your email at night, it can wait.