1. Play music at a low volume.
It is really tempting to keep the tv on “in the background”, but tv and videos are super distracting. Stick to music or podcasts, which you can listen to quietly in the background while still keeping focused. Listening to quiet music has actually been found to increase productivity. I like to listen to instrumental music (acoustic guitar type stuff) on Pandora, and I find that it keeps me working hard without getting bored.
2. Step away from the sweat pants.
Chillin’ in your sweatpants is part of the “working from home” fantasy for most people, but in my experience, when I have tried to work in sweats or pj pants, I just felt unproductive. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing, but I think when you look like a slob, you feel like a slob. It just makes me feel like I want to go to bed! I’m not saying you have to wear a ball gown and full hair and makeup, but even just wearing workout clothes rather than sleep clothes will make a big difference. In other words, wear something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to leave the house in.
3. Create a separate space for working.
I am very lucky that in our current house, I have my own office space, which is ideal. If you don’t have the space in your home for your own office, just find some space somewhere that is only for you and your work. In our old apartment, I had a space in the corner of our living room. It’s just important to have an area that is just for your supplies, computer, etc. so that you can stay organized.
4. Make a daily schedule.
One of the best things about working from home is that your schedule is so flexible, but I still think that having at least an outline of a schedule is a must. I am always trying to improve and adapt my schedule to my current situation, and right now I seem to have something that really works for me. My schedule is flexible but still has blocks of time for certain activities. For example, every day, I do my exercising first thing in the morning. That is something about my schedule that never changes. I also leave Tuesday afternoons open for appointments and meetings. I will do a full post about my schedule at a different time, but thinking in terms of blocks of time has really helped me to stay productive.
5. Do things ahead of time.
You will find, as you start working from home, that you can actually get more done during one day than you could at a regular job or an office job. This is because you free up so much time from not having to actually drive to a different location or attending meetings and such all the time. Use this free time to take care of things that are coming up. I am not always the best at this, I’ll admit, but I’m working on it. It’s really tempting to use your free time for fun, especially since you’re already at home and in a comfortable environment, but scheduling a blog post ahead of time or getting a jump start on the next day’s orders will just make you feel like a boss.
Holly Casto is the owner and product designer behind Charm & Gumption, a blog and shop dedicated to inspiring women to design a life they love. She lives in Nashville with her husband and goldendoodle.