Working from home certainly comes with its perks: an easy commute, relaxed atmosphere, and the ability to work in your pajamas, to name a few. But, as someone who lives where they work, I can assure you it’s not always so glamorous. With that extra freedom comes a new set of challenges, and staying disciplined becomes more important than ever, especially if you’re also your own boss.
Between blogging and consulting, I’ve spent some time mastering the role of acting as my own boss while working from home. And while I certainly haven’t perfected the role, I have learned a thing or two along the way. Here are a few things I rely on to help me stay productive:
1) Create structure
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, it’s important to establish a routine that works for you. I used to spend my mornings taking care of personal errands, but that always led to late evenings in front of the computer, which took a serious toll on my sleep. I’d justify the 2 a.m. bedtimes by relying on a nap the following day, but it wasn’t a productive cycle and only led to burnout. I still pull the occasional late nighter, but making a point to stick to a more traditional 9-5 schedule has done wonders for my sanity, productivity and my social life, now that I’m back on the same schedule as my family and friends.
2) Treat your home like an office
The lines can be blurry when you live where you work, so it’s helpful to create a distinction between the two. Would you scroll through Instagram, online shop or watch TV if you were in an office? It’s easy to give in to those temptations when there’s no supervision, but eliminating distractions and behaving as you would in a professional setting will help keep you on track. I used to convince myself that throwing a load of laundry into the washer or doing the dishes were effective forms of multitasking. But in reality, I was spreading myself too thin, preventing me from focusing on the tasks that really needed to get done.
3) Invest in reliable WiFi
This one should go without saying, but there’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a slow WiFi connection when you’ve got a long to-do list. Even though I live in a relatively small apartment, the WiFi signal has always been inconsistent from room to room, and as someone who likes to move my laptop around throughout the day, this can be extremely frustrating. I’d heard rave reviews of eero, a WiFi system that promises reliable coverage to every corner of your home, so I jumped at the chance to test one out. The set-up was simple (I didn’t even have to ask my tech-savvy boyfriend for assistance), and the system comes with two portable eero Beacons that can be plugged into any outlet around your home, so I can even work outside from my balcony when I want some fresh air and a change of scenery. I generally do my best to keep unsightly tech objects hidden away, but the sleek design of the eero blends right in with the rest of our decor, so there’s no need to conceal it. Whether you’re working from home, or just want a faster internet connection when streaming your favorite Netflix shows, eero has you covered with high-speed internet that actually works. After a few weeks of using the eero, I truly can’t believe I lived with spotty internet for so long. If you’re interested in trying one out (and trust me, you should), you can receive yours as soon as tomorrow with free overnight shipping! Just select overnight shipping at checkout and enter code: ADORNED
4) Set a schedule & follow a to-do list
Without set office hours, it’s easy to get a late start on your day or continue working late into the evening, so setting a schedule and mapping out your day will help you stay on track. I keep an ongoing to-do list with all of my tasks for the week, along with a timeline of when I plan to complete them. Seeing everything written out can feel overwhelming, but it serves as motivation to cross each item off.
5) Get ready (kind of…)
You don’t have to put on a fancy outfit and a full face of makeup, but just because you can stay in your pajamas, it doesn’t mean you should. I usually throw on some comfortable jeans and a simple top like I’m wearing here. Along with changing out of my pajamas, I always try and make my bed each morning so that I’m not tempted to get back in.
6) Unplug & recharge
No matter how busy I am, I always try to pencil short breaks into my schedule to allow myself time to unplug and recharge. Whether that’s going on a short walk, grabbing coffee with a friend, or sneaking a quick workout class in, stepping away from the computer helps prevent burnout. And I generally find that the more I have to do, the more productive I am. So as counterintuitive as it may seem to squeeze a workout into the middle of my work day, adding more to my schedule usually works in my favor, especially when it’s something I’m looking forward to.
Do you have any experience in working from home or being your own boss? I’d love to hear your tips for staying motivated and productive!
*In collaboration with eero, a brand that I truly use and love.