Any of you sweet people who work from home like Luke and I do know that, while the ability to do so is an ENORMOUS blessing, it’s also super challenging to balance at times! Fortunately, Luke and I are both very self-motivated people, so we rarely struggle with wanting to work or feeling unmotivated to get things done. In fact, we struggle with the exact opposite problem- we have a hard time shutting work off and calling it quits for the day! 😉 We’ve gotten so much better about this, but it’s a work in progress for sure! Whether you’re new to the whole work-from-home world or you’ve been working from your couch or your office for years, today, we wanted to share a few of our best tips for working from home successfully!
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Get ready for the Day
I don’t know about y’all, but I feel better and work better when I’m ready for the day! Just because you’re not heading to an office with other human beings doesn’t mean you should stay in your pj’s all day, friends 😉 After we work out for the day, Luke and I both get ready for the day… even if that means I put on makeup, throw my hair in a ponytail, and change into clean leggings and a t-shirt!
Designate Separate Spaces
One of the things we have had to FORCE ourselves to be disciplined in is designating a separate work space in our home! While we could work in our room or on our couch, we actively choose not to do this. It used to sound tempting in the moment to crawl back into bed with my laptop and a blanket, but a few hours later, I’d always feel terrible! These days, no matter what, we work in our office. And let me tell you, it makes a world of a difference in our days. We know our office is for work and the rest of our home is truly our home, and this mental boundary is so vital for us and our sanity… not to mention our productivity!
Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries
Speaking of boundaries, those are pretty darn vital, too! This past year, we set boundaries for strict start and end times in our work days so that we know when we’re supposed to be sitting down at our desks for the day and when we’re “allowed” to call it quits. When we start work for the day (typically around 7:30 or so), we start work for the day. Our phones go away, our inboxes are open, and we’re ready to go! When we end work for the day (typically around 5:30 or 6:00), our inbox is at zero, our laptops are shut, and get this… we leave our office and shut the door. Boundaries are huge, especially when you run your own business, so we have to be strict about them! We also disabled our notifications on our phone for email and social media, which is another boundary we can’t stress enough!
I used to struggle a lot with ending work for the day, so I created a routine for myself. For example, at 5:00 pm, my “end work” reminder would go off and I’d start wrapping up for the day… I’d transfer tasks that didn’t get done that day to the next in my planner, plan out the next day, clean up my desk, answer emails so that our inbox would be empty, set an auto-signature for our emails, and immediately start making dinner. I don’t follow this routine to a t anymore, but it helped me so much as I learned how to set healthy boundaries for our business and our marriage!
Limit the Distractions
Easier said than done, right? We limit how often we respond to texts and check social media during work days, and we rarely schedule meetings during our most productive hours of the day. We challenge you guys to evaluate how much time are you spending on Facebook and watching Instagram stories when you could be hustling and pushing your business forward, friends! 😉 The more aware you are of the amount of time you’re wasting during your work day, the better… and you might be surprised how much of your time is being sucked up by some distractions! That being said…
Guys, breaks are just plain vital for your sanity! For a while, we’d literally sit at our desks and not move for most of the day because we were so focused on our work! Now, we take breaks to move around (my Apple Watch reminds me to stand every hour, which is SO helpful for me!), to chat about how our days are going, head to the gym, go on a quick walk, and even take a lunch break (gasp!). Your business will survive if you take some time to eat a healthy lunch WITHOUT your laptop instead of eating chips and salsa straight out of the bag and the jar while writing a blog post, y’all. 😉
Find Your Best Work Hours & Create Routines
Luke and I are both most productive from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. So, we do the bulk of our work within these hours! You know yourself, so take note of when you find you’re the most productive and schedule the hardest tasks on your to-do list for the day within those hours, and save the rest for the remainder of your work day.
We also have routines for what tasks get done on certain days of the week! For example, I write a lot of blog posts and newsletters at once and schedule them in advance on one day, and the next I might pre-write a ton of emails I know I have to send for the next week. Luke edits a wedding on a certain day of a week, as well. I’ve also found it helpful to schedule home tasks on certain days so that I don’t get distracted by the fact that there’s laundry in the hamper and floors to vacuum. (Yes, those are real distractions when you work from home, y’all!) Routines help you become efficient and know what to expect from your weeks!
Make Your Own Coworkers
It helps so much that we work together from home, but if you aren’t a husband and wife team, we’d totally recommend making your own coworkers! Meet up with another photographer friend or business owner and check things off your to-do lists together, check in with an accountability partner a few times a week, etc. This can be a lonely industry, but it doesn’t have to be!
A few days a week, we work from Starbucks or another coffee shop, and we both look forward to these days! Sometimes, when you work from home, all you need is a change in scenery to boost your productivity, so don’t be afraid to change things up.
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What tips do you have for working from home?! Share them with us in the comments below… we want to know!