When a large majority of us first started working from home a year (+) ago, we were expecting it to be temporary and we’re doing whatever we could to adjust to our new normal. The days of work/life balance were over; our homes were where we worked, where we learned, where we were social. Yes, “commuting” from your bedroom to (probably makeshift) your office set up was much easier than getting into your car and driving to the office, but working from home isn’t always all fun and games.
Fast forward a year, a lot of us are still working from home (albeit temporary), dipping our toes into working hybrid, or are navigating what permanent work from home means.
Since starting Studio 37, I’ve been working from home full time and have learned a thing or two on how to be productive, stay focused (most of the time), and create a schedule that works. Whether you’re working from home temporarily, have a hybrids work model, or are working from home for the long haul, here are some of my tried and true methods to thrive while working from home.
Have a Designated Workspace
When I first started working from home, the idea of working from the couch, my favorite chair, or at the dining room table sounded great but in reality, it did nothing for my productivity. Having a designated workspace is crucial – it’ll not only help you feel more motivated and help you stay on track, but it’ll also help with your work/life balance.
If you’re new to working from home, it’s likely that you either don’t have an office space set up already set up or simply don’t have the space for a mini-office set-up. While this is a huge bummer, it’s an issue I’ve faced in the past and it just requires a little extra creativity. If you have to set up a work area in your home (versus a traditional office), make sure to remove any distracting elements and keep the area organized. This will help you treat it as an “office” not just the corner of your bedroom/living room/etc.
Embrace Time Blocks
One of the best things you can do for your productivity is schedule time blocks. This will help you stay focused and avoid a task that should only take 20 minutes to complete turning into a 3-hour project. When you’re trying to figure out how you should time block your day, consider the times of the day that tend to be your most productive and schedule tasks that are more challenging or time-consuming during these periods.
In addition to scheduling time blocks, batching the work you do during those periods will help you stay focused. Your brain needs time to switch gears from one project (maybe something creative!) to another (admin tasks) and this adjustment period can cause you to easily lose focus and be less productive.
When you’re trying to figure out how to batch your work, create a giant to-do list and assign each task a category. From there, take a look at your schedule and see what makes the most sense.
I always start our week with admin tasks and emails first thing Monday morning, content writing Tuesday and Wednesday, save creative tasks like designing graphics for Thursday, and then leave Friday’s to work on Studio 37 projects and content.
Working virtually with your team and clients can be hard, but with the right tools, collaborating, communicating, and project management can be so much easier. It’s taken time to figure out what tools and technology work best for us. I love utilizing Asana for project management, Slack for communication, and HoneyBook for client management, invoicing, and contracts.
There’s no right or wrong tools that you should be using so if you find that something isn’t working for you or your business, find another option!
Stick to a Routine
When I first started working from home, the adjustment was hard to get used to but now that I’ve figured out my routine (especially in the mornings), things are much easier! If you’re having a hard time getting into the grove when you sit down to work, or constantly find yourself getting distracted, evaluate your routine.
Even though you’re working at your house instead of in an office doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of normalcy. Give yourself time to shower and get ready for the day, enjoy breakfast (or a cup of your favorite morning beverage!), and schedule in a little you time before sitting down at your desk for the day. By breaking the habit of rolling out of the bed and heading straight to your desk, you’re able to slowly shift into work mode and get even more done.
When you work from home, it can be hard to separate work from your personal life. Finding a balance that helps you focus on work but still take breaks without getting distracted by personal tasks (laundry, cleaning your kids’ playroom, etc.), you’re able to create a strategy that works for your strengths and weaknesses so you can tackle your day.