Only 7% of people say they’re productive—I know I sure wasn’t! Today, I’m handing over some key supplies to your work from home journey: 7 things no one told me about working from home!
Shifting to working from home—and working for myself—was magical. I’m the first to wax poetic about working in a corporate setting, and how much it taught me. BUT, those were the days when unpredictable interruptions, office politics, and Atlanta traffic commandeered my life.
I thrive working from home, but it does come with its own unique set of challenges. These are just the 7 things I wish someone told me, but I want to hear from you—if you work from home, what’s one thing you’d wished you’d known?
This episode is brought to you by today’s freebie, my guide to batching your work day by day, a go-to way to keep your days from running amok. It’s a snippet of what I teach inside my Art of Efficiency™ program, but go ahead, grab it and see how you can divvy up your days with batch work.
Working From Home Fact No. 1: Personal life blurs and spills into your work life.
Okay, you saw this coming, amen and amen. Distinguishing between when personal time begins and work time ends can be difficult. It’s been researched that commutes are vital for firming up some important brain boundaries.
I learned it’s really important to have physical, artificial, and psychological boundaries.
I’ve done that with 3 things:
- Wedging some mental transition time between work and domestic life—I have a wind-up and wind-down routine I do, but you essentially need to have a moment of break … even if it’s savoring a mug of pour-over coffee or matcha tea before clocking in for the day.
- A separate office space or room is super important. I’ve been in the guest bedroom, and still am, but my dream is finishing out and sheetrocking the space over our garage. I’ll keep you posted! Coworking spaces have come down, but I really like being at home. I think it’s important to realize the investment it is in your work. Work with a CPA on this to make sure you’re able to stretch your dollars.
- Really acting like I’m at work. You also will experience home interruptions that you may not be used to. Starting to communicate to my family and friends that I’m “at work” (even if I’m at home) and setting up do not disturb on my phone have helped. I also don’t answer the door any more during work hours unless I’ve arranged for it.
The flip side of this? Wellness is easier to tackle.
I have a prayer I say before I start working—peek at the video to see it.
You can diffuse oils, go on walks, take power naps, work when your body is most on, etc. I also think this is why so many creatives learn to love productivity—all of a sudden, time is money, but you also realize that while you CAN work at 11 p.m., you may not want to.
Working From Home Fact No. 2: You have to put in time to set-up.
Back on the office thing—I can’t stress the importance of spending time (and money) on the set-up. Having a printer, ink stocked at all times, 3-hole punches, file folders, all that stuff isn’t just office clutter—it’s paramount for feeling legit and functioning like a working office. YES, they’re fun to pick out and you should enjoy it (after all, they’re tax write-offs!). I think I could write a book on things that I’ve found that I love—cord keepers, staplers, favorite pens, and more.
Don’t forget that software and hardware needs go along with this. There’s no more IT guy to call when your computer freaks out. I’ve really learned this the hard way at times … like when I’ve hosted hundreds on a webinar and my WiFi blinked.
Pro-tip—have an ethernet cord on hand for when the WiFi goes on the fritz. I also have on my monthly duty day a note to self to restock with bulk paper, printer ink, etc. You’re going to want an Amazon Prime account.
This can really delay your productivity (when compared to well-equipped colleagues in the office), so enjoy this part of working from home!
Working From Home Fact No. 3: It’s easier to get in your head.
If I spend too much time in my head, I am so susceptible to feeling down on myself.
Working for yourself you toe the line of needing to see what other people are doing, but not letting that influence your body of work. I’ve combatted this with being in a mastermind (my FAVORITE suggestion to get out of your own head and get perspective), having mentors, and attending educational events is so, so important. Aim for at LEAST once a month.
Working From Home Fact No. 4: It gives you a chance to really step into your own—and sparkle.
If you have the skill for this, you’ll crush it. You get to see how self-disciplined you are, and you get to set up your own creative vibes. You get to set up your workspace with things that make you happy, play music in the background, open the windows, burn candles, diffuse oils, whatever floats your boat!
Working From Home Fact No. 5: You may not experience loneliness—I didn’t!
With digital and social media being prevalent in my job—and likely yours—I didn’t experience the loneliness I assumed would be mine in an office party of 1. After so many client and student calls, time emailing and chatting on social media, at the end of the day, I was still just as drained!
If anything, I think you’ll find the community is bigger than you think!
Working From Home Fact No. 6: You’ll only miss a few commute perks, so figure out how you’ll schedule them in.
And I really did just miss a couple. 😉 That’s all. Namely, time to plow through my podcast list or tackle an audiobook during my hour commute was killer—and likewise, I found car time superb for giving my grandfathers, family, or best friends a ring.
Without all that time in the car, I’ve learned that I do well to try to walk once a day (even just around the block). I’ll play a podcast or call people then.
Working From Home Fact No. 7: Just because you’re closer to healthy food doesn’t mean you’ll eat it!
Finally, don’t assume that proximity to healthful ingredients will result in their consumption! Raise your hand if you’ve eaten lunch over your desk and gotten crumbs in the keys … I know I’ve called chips and guac “lunch” more times than I can count. I’m still working on this, but meal prep on Sundays and finding a blog to stalk has helped. My friends Kelly at The Family Freezer and Sarah at Simply Real Health are two I’ve enjoyed lately for quick, healthy meal ideas.
Oh, and watch your proximity to the couch and naps with dogs 😉 I really struggled with this for a season—a 20 min. Power nap turned into a good hour (or two!) nap. Maybe THAT’s why I wasn’t ever really lonely, wink.
Don’t forget to grab your day batching guide freebie, and while you’re here, leave me a quick comment to let me know what you wish someone had told you about working from home!