Have you ever wanted to make money while comfortably sitting in your favorite pajamas? If you are looking for time flexibility, getting rid of the annoyance of commuting (believe us, we all hate that), a great deal of autonomy, and let’s face it—just simply staying indoors, then working from home might be the answer you’re seeking. As more and more companies are adopting this method, many millennials—especially freelancers and small business owners, are looking into working from home as a viable option for making a living.
But let’s be honest here for a second. As soon as someone mentions working from home our mind immediately pictures ourselves waking up at 3 p.m. after pressing the snooze button from our phone alarms at least ten times, eating pizza that has been under our bed for days, and just usually spending our days idling around without going out for weeks. However, that’s far from the truth if you want to keep yourself on good shape and actually be productive.
Transforming your own home into your workplace is more difficult than it sounds, but isn’t impossible, and requires a lot of self-discipline (remember, procrastination is your biggest enemy!). Today we bring you these awesome tips on how to work from home successfully—without losing your sanity in the process!
Set A Working Ritual
Don’t just wake up and get straight into your work without even brushing your teeth! We know many of you home-workers do this. Why not take a shower, brush your hair, and get dressed? This will help you maintain a “ritual” or code, and will keep you from being a disorganized mess, while improving your mental stability.
It’s not necessary for you to wear a fancy or formal attire if you’re just a freelancer working from home, but try at least to be presentable and clean while doing so. You never know when a video chat might pop up, and backing off from an important call because you are wearing the same dirty shirt for three days straight might seem unprofessional.
Time Management Is The Most Important Thing Of All
The best part about working from home is being able to establish your own working periods. However, as freeing as it may sound, setting a schedule can be a hassle if you’re not good at managing your time, especially if you’re a business owner or your own boss.
Keep a to-do list, and avoid multi-tasking which can lead to mistakes. Remember that planning your day will help you minimize distractions. Elude home disruptions like your comfy bed, TV, or pets by setting a different physical space to work in. Also, don’t handle your home chores during work hours. Communicate to others what your working time is, so they don’t interrupt you while you’re concentrated.
And while it’s important to stay connected, avoid over-checking your email, and try keeping to a minimum the time you spend on social media (turning off notifications while you’re working is a good idea).
Take Care Of Yourself - Always
Many stay-at-home workers and small business owners tend to forget about their own general health, as they might get too sucked into their jobs. Plan a couple of off-periods, like taking some time to relax by having a cup of coffee, or just getting your eyes out of the screen for some time.
Try to maintain a balanced diet—add meal planning and cooking to your daily schedule. A proper diet will keep you healthy, nourished and alert, thus increasing your productivity. If you don’t want to get to the big 40s with your blood pressure off the charts, then exercise regularly at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week, to alleviate stress and prevent the many complications of the sedentary lifestyle many home-workers are prone to.
Also, remember to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a day, and retaining a basic hygiene routine. Believe it or not, your habits can hinder or help your work output, so keep an eye on them at all times.
Be Clear About Possible After Hours Work
If you’re part of a team, speak to your manager about when it’s okay to work after hours, and when it’s not an appropriate time to carry an “urgent request” that a colleague can’t complete. Most of the times those supposed urgent requests are not THAT urgent. Establish boundaries, even if they’re flexible, and learn how to say “no” without forgetting that your personal priorities come first while working after your set hours.
Create An Area Where You Will Be Working On A Regular Basis
Prepping a specific place of your house as your base of operations is not only a great idea tax-wise (consider a home office deduction if applicable), but it will also help you to psychologically keep in check that blurry line between workplace and home space that is often present in this kind of situations. Plus, it will help you to be better organized in the long run.
Set boundaries and don’t bring your work into other spaces of your home. Create a clean, distraction-free zone, where you can concentrate in peace and silence while working and keep your supplies at hand. Don’t ever sleep where you work if you don’t want to develop a bad case of insomnia, so keep that laptop off your bed if it’s for something work-related.
Don't Forget Your Family & Social Life
First, you need to make sure that your friends, family, and/or significant other know that when you are working from home ,you will be unavailable for those hours. We know it’s difficult to maintain everyone happy, but remember what we told you about time management and keeping a schedule?
Well, when you work from home, even your social interactions need to be accommodated to said schedule if you don’t want to disappoint your SO or friends because you don’t have enough time to go out with them.
Try to expand your interactions by finding a group of people with common interests or who are into the same stuff as you. Take a break by talking to friends or family, or use social media to clear your mind from work. Spend time with your love ones. Don’t be afraid of neglecting your to-do list in favor of taking care of your social life. With careful task-planning, everything can be accomplished.
Get Out Of Your House
If you own a small business from home, suggest your clients to meet face to face. This will help you a lot with networking, and it’s also a great way to stretch your legs after all that work. Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you should never go out.
As mentioned before, save some time in your schedule to go out for a while, even if it’s just to buy groceries or walking your dog. By walking regularly you can avoid the weight gaining problem that a lot of homeworkers suffer from. Plus, be it alone or accompanied, it’s always a good idea to take in some fresh air once in a while, and it helps you distinguish your working time for your personal time.
Optimize Your Communication Skills And Be More Proactive
If you’re employed as a remote worker, don’t wait until it’s the middle of the night to actually answer emails and calls from your employer. Engagement and responsiveness is very important, so don’t wait until the last minute to address an issue. Your phone and webcam are invaluable communication tools, so use them!
Sometimes, most of the communication will be done via email, so you will need to be very clear and concise with what you’re trying to communicate. Stay connected. Many employers like their workers to check in from time to time. When in doubt, communication will keep your boss from being in the dark about your work.
Be Tech Savvy
When working from home, technology is our best friend. For example, it’s common to forget about networking when you’re at home. Even if you’re a freelancer, creating a Linkedin account to keep track of contacts, potential clients, and employers is a must.
Use Google+ Hangouts for meetings between more than two people, which, unlike Skype, don’t need a paid subscription for such cases. Other software like Slack can be useful to keep in touch with colleagues. Likewise, apps like SlideShare can be used for presentations.
Also, investing in a good smartphone, tablet or PC is vital, since you will be using these tools for work and you don’t want them failing when most needed, don’t you? Find out what you really need, so you don’t waste money, and take note on where to find the proper technical support in case you require it.
Paperwork And Taxes Are Real Things
We know these kinds of stuff are an annoyance. If you’re on the payroll of a company working from afar, your employer will take care of all of these. However, when you’re self-employed, taxes can be a headache. Get a good tax professional, especially if you are freelancing or running your own business.
Similarly, if you’re the owner of your own business, be aware and prepare all the paperwork and permits needed to do so, if you don’t want to get into trouble later.
So, is working from home for you?