6 Tips For Working From Home (Or Anywhere!)

I've been working from home for almost three years now and since there's still no end to the COVID quarantine in sight, I thought I should share some of my tips for staying productive while working from home that I've learned over the past few years.

  1. Distractions Happen - But Try Not To Let Them!
    Your pet, your phone, your s/o in the other room, the temptation to turn on the TV for some background noise could all be seen as perks of working away from a traditional office but all they'll really do is distract you from your most productive hours.

  2. Have a Strong Morning Routine
    Whether it's hitting the gym or going for a run, settling in with a cup of coffee and your devotional, or joining your family for breakfast before opening your laptop and getting started, a consistent morning routine will signal to your brain that it's time to be awake and productive!

    I love my sleep, so B knows that he's the one that has to get coffee and breakfast going before I'll emerge from the bedroom -- because there's no way any work is getting done before I've had food! His day starts almost two hours before mine with a workout and his quiet time before he prepares breakfast for the two of us. It works for us and gets us each ready to get to work by 9 AM.

  3. Create a Designated Work Space
    I began working remotely when we moved from Kansas City to Austin. One of the first things we did was find and refinish a Georgian-style writing desk that I could call my own. It took up a corner of our living room because we didn't have a separate office space. Having a specific uncluttered work area is another signal to my brain that I need to be making things happen. And at the end of the day, it's nice to close my laptop, push in my chair, and walk away from a workday to spend the evening relaxing.

  4. Set Ground Rules & a Schedule (and Stick With It!)
    I have a standing Monday Morning Meeting every week with my boss for about an hour. B knows it's on my schedule and that he can't interrupt me then, we can't schedule vet appointments during that window, and I can't be answering the door or asking him to take his own phone calls elsewhere (he's a little loud, even in another room). Just because you're home doesn't mean you can take care of all the at-home things or daily errands. A workday is still scheduled for your work, even if you do have more flexibility to take a longer lunch break or help with a last-minute appointment.

    This is also a good time to mention that just because you're home doesn't mean you're taking care of the house. Laundry, dishes, household chores are still tasks to be taken care of outside of working hours.

  5. Start With Your To-Do List
    Take time every morning to make a list of what's most important to accomplish that day. It's easy when you're not clocking in and out to procrastinate, but if you'll write it down for yourself you'll also get the joy of crossing off tasks and projects as you accomplish them.

  6. Take Breaks
    Just like in an office, you'll have to take bathroom breaks and lunch breaks and coffee breaks. Don't tie yourself to your desk in an effort to keep from getting distracted! You can even text with your friends, scroll through Instagram, or go for a walk outside -- but only during designated 10-15 minute breaks. Getting up and taking a break will allow you to come back to your work refreshed.

These are the same tips I followed while working remotely from Italy earlier this year. The time difference meant my workday started at 3 PM until Midnight, leaving plenty of daylight hours for exploring Italy with B. It takes discipline, effort, and self-control but following these work from home strategies means you can literally work from anywhere!

If you work from home, I'd love to hear your favorite strategies and tips! Leave me a comment below.

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