Are you looking for tips for working from home? We’ve been working from home for the past three years, and we’re here to help.
Working from home has many pros and cons. On the one hand, you get to make your own hours, work in relative comfort and often find yourself far more productive than when stuck inside an office all day.
On the other hand, distractions are everywhere; it’s easy to lose motivation when you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder; and sometimes the only company around is whatever’s playing on the TV (unless of course if you have fur babies).
The lure of keeping Netflix open at all times is strong – but fear not! We’re here with 14 tried and tested tips for working from home that will help any entrepreneur stay focused on their goals without sacrificing sanity.
Make a schedule and stick to it
So my first tip is to make a schedule and stick to it. Generally what I recommend is at least having days of the week that you work, because one of the benefits of working from home is that you can pick your own work hours.
Of course, you might have calls now and then, but overall, you get to decide if you only want to work in the morning, you only want to work in the afternoon, or you only want to work at night.
I’m a massive night owl, and for some reason, I get super creative at night. All of a sudden, it’ll be 10:30 and I decide to make a new template for the shop. I get randomly creative always at night. It’s super, super weird. So, when that happens, I let myself work at night.
But try to have days that you’ll want to work. So maybe that’s Monday through Friday. Maybe you only want to work on the weekend. Maybe you only want to work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
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A lot of people I know are actually switching to Monday through Thursday. They’re taking a three-day weekend, which is so, so cool. I’ve thought about potentially trying that this summer because summer is slightly slower for us.
But generally, we work on business tasks for our clients from Monday through Thursday. Friday tends to be wrapping up anything, mostly working on things for Inkpot or our travel blog. So it tends to be just like a much slower day.
If you are the type of person who really likes to have set hours though, try to set those hours and again, know that you work for yourself. So as long as you meet your deadlines, you don’t have to fully, fully stick to it all the time.
You can do something different every day just depending on how you’re feeling. But overall, having at least days set out can make a huge difference.
Get an accountability partner
Another great tip is to actually have a partner that can hold you accountable or a business friend that can hold you accountable. So I have actually had a business friend like this before and we’re still great friends, but we used to have calls on Fridays, and on the calls we would actually Zoom and we would just chat while working.
Sometimes it helps a lot to just have somebody there who you can have working at the same time as you because it almost reminds you more that you should be productive. And again, it just helps a lot. This person can kind of check up on you every once in a while and just check up on business.
Luckily, I have this built-in now at Inkpot because Jessie and I hold each other accountable when it comes to tasks. But even finding an Instagram friend or someone in a Facebook group that you can just connect with, or even joining a course community or membership or something along those lines can help tons.
Track your time
Another great tip for working from home is to track your time. I say this because sometimes you might think something’s not taking you a long time, only for you to actually time yourself and realize it’s taking you way longer than you thought.
And it sounds so, so strange, but sometimes I find myself easily distracted, especially working from home. But if I’m tracking my time, just knowing that the clock is running makes me focus even more and almost work a little bit faster to get something done. So it truly helps me be a lot more productive.
As far as tools to use, Clockify is a great free one. So is Toggl. I used to use Clockify but I recently switched to Toggl just because it actually has a Google Calendar integration. So if you ever time block your things, which I always try to do, it’ll almost add blocks automatically as a task into Toggl that you can just click and start your timer. So it makes it really easy.
Another huge benefit to tracking your time is that you can double-check that you’re actually charging appropriately for your project. So again, if you find something it’s actually taking you way longer than you thought, then you can adjust your pricing.
Get your project management systems in check
Another huge tip is to use something for project management, and this doesn’t even have to be digital. It could be a physical planner. However, at Inkpot Creative, we use Notion.
Work when you feel most like working
When it comes to tips for working from home is to work when you feel most like working. This happens to me sometimes in business, and if I don’t feel like working, I don’t.
You don’t need to sit down and force yourself to work as long as you can still meet that deadline. So what I’ll do on days like that is I’ll read a book, I’ll go to the gym, I’ll sit by the pool, or I’ll run errands. You don’t have to work if you don’t feel like working.
What I find is what ends up happening if I do other things for myself, is that night maybe I’ll get super inspired to sit down and just get it all done. So there have been times when I haven’t worked at all until 5:00 p.m. and it’s just because I haven’t felt like it.
I found that forcing myself to do the work is never good and can cause burnout. So if I give myself the time I need and then when I sit down and get the work done, I end up being a lot more productive when I need to be.
Get dressed every day
Another tip is to get dressed every day. I say this because I’m one of those people who pretty much live in gym clothes. It probably didn’t help that I was a college athlete, so I tended to just always live in gym clothes anyway.
But I’ve found that even if I put on a nice shirt or a sweatshirt can really help me focus. So that’s another great tip that if you wanted to, you could do. Even I tend to get dressed a little bit nicer on days that we have calls, and that tends to just get me really in the mindset of having calls for the day.
Set goals and reward yourself when you meet them
Next, try to set goals and reward yourself when you hit them. So this is something I work on, especially as a Capricorn, because once I reach a goal, I’m like, what’s next? I already have a list of ten other goals I’m trying to meet.
So I never just take the time to sit down and be like, “Yeah, I did that.”
Try to set goals and then reward yourself when you actually hit them, whether that’s going out for your favorite ice cream or going on that fun weekend trip you’ve been really wanting to go on, going on a hike, or something.
We tend to do a lot of hikes to celebrate things. Doing any of those rewards of any type can help you to sit down and appreciate that you did hit a goal that you set out to achieve.
Keep your phone on do not disturb
Another one that I actually always, always do is to turn off phone notifications. There’s nothing more distracting than receiving notification after notification between email, your CRM, and social media while you’re trying to work.
This helps tons.
Get up and move
If you’re looking for tips for working from home, take the time to get up and move. This is one that we’re also trying to get better at, but we try to go to the gym every day to move our legs or even walk around the apartment complex.
Getting up and just moving your body can help so, so much when it comes to working from home because it can boost your productivity. It’s the whole idea of taking the time to do something for yourself for a while.
I used to go on walks and I would listen to podcasts, so I felt like I was still technically “working” during my walk. But sometimes, listening to podcasts while trying to do something for me can also be a little stressful.
So I ended up switching to listening to audiobooks, doing something fun just for me while I am getting up and moving, and turning my brain off from work.
Buy a separate work computer
You can also try to get a work-only computer. Not everyone is in a situation where they can do this. But I have an iMac that I use pretty much only for work. It helps tons to switch my brain from “fun” mode over to “work” mode.
When you don’t have any personal files on your computer, it’s a lot easier to stay focused.
Invest in noise-blocking headphones
Another tip is to get noise-blocking headphones. They can make the biggest difference. I’m a huge fan of Beats. I just use Beats Studio headphones. The noise blocking is insane on them.
Sometimes I’ll just put them on and I’ll just turn them on and not even listen to anything and I can’t hear anything. It’s so quiet, and it helps me focus so, so much. So if you’re anything like me, then having noise-blocking headphones is going to make a huge difference.
Create boundaries and stick to them
Be sure to create boundaries. Having boundaries is going to make it so much easier for you to work from home. They don’t even have to be for your clients. These can also be boundaries for the other people that you share your space with.
So maybe during these certain hours of the day, people don’t come knocking on your door, try to come into your office or your workspace or anything like that because they know that you’re working, because things like that can really become a huge distraction.
Do something for YOU every day
Another tip is to give yourself time for YOU during the day. So this is another tip that we’ve been trying to work on.
But first thing when you get up, don’t bother checking your emails. This is something I still always do and I keep telling myself not to, but things like that can just really get you into the headspace of needing to work immediately.
However, you probably don’t have to, because you work for yourself, if you’re meeting your deadlines, you do not need to jump out of bed and immediately hop on the computer. You can take the time to take a warm shower. You can go for a run; you can make a nice breakfast. You can make your favorite coffee. You have time.
And you need to give yourself that time because then when you sit down to work and you give yourself to other projects for other clients, you tend to be a lot more focused and calm.
Have an environment that you can always work from
Last but certainly not least is having an environment that you always use to work from home. Maybe it’s a certain spot on your dining room table that you don’t normally eat at. Or maybe you have a spot on your couch with a tray table or something, and that’s where you always work, and using that spot just for work can make a huge difference.
Well, there you have it. Those are our best tips for working from home. Are you an online service provider looking to get your business built? Click here to get in touch.
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KP (she/her) is the founder and designer behind Inkpot Creative, which was founded back in 2020. She specializes in Showit website design, blogging, and SEO. Over the years, she’s built custom websites for more than 50 photographers and has helped grow client’s monthly website traffic between 20% – 77.7%. When not designing, she can normally be found hiking in the mountains, working on her travel blog Volumes & Voyages, or trying to find the best iced chai in her city.