Probably Polka Dots How to Successfully Work from Home | Probably Polka Dots

23 September 2015

How to Successfully Work from Home

Since my career change in June, I've been working from home. I have to say to go from having to be at work at a very specific time every day (and sometimes earlier for meetings) is incredibly freeing. I've never had such flexibility...ever. Even in college, I stocked my schedule to the brim with classes, so working from home is truly a life change for me. Some days are more productive than others, but I've learned that it's more than balance; it's allowing yourself to create a schedule that fits your lifestyle. And while I am still working out the daily details, here's a few tricks for how to successfully work from home:

1. Make a to do list. This tip of course applies to any workday, but I find that when I can visually cross things off of my list, I not only feel more accomplished, but I stay more on track for my day. 

2. Develop some sort of schedule. I know there are mixed feelings about getting up and getting dressed to sit in your house all day and work, but I've found that at the very least, I have to take a shower, do my hair, and put on make-up. Whether I put on "real clothes" is a different story, but at least if' I'm showered and ready, I feel ready to conquer the world. 

3. Leave the house. This is a tough one for me. I am one of those people who needs a reason to get out of the house, and many days, I just don't have one. Lately, I've trained myself to go for a walk or simply toss a ball with my dog to get out of the house for a few minutes and enjoy the day. 

4. Allow flexibility. While my schedule automatically creates flexibility, I often feel guilty if I take advantage of it. For example, I needed to take Hunter to pick up his car from the shop yesterday morning which happened to be a mile away from my favorite nail salon and I happened to be at my 2 week gel nail mark. I decided to go ahead and get my nails done knowing that it would save me time later in the week (so I didn't have to plan to drive back to that side of town). I felt enormous guilt until I realized that ultimately, I was saving time to just get it done. Have a headache? Allow yourself time to tackle it. The perk of working at home is that you can catch up on missed work whenever you need!

5. Catch-up with caution. Seems like an irony after my last statement, but hear me out. Part of the decision to leave teaching was to allow me a chance to work normal hours again. No more weekend work, no more late nights, no more emails at 6:30 AM. It's so hard not to respond to a late night email as soon as it comes in, and it's even harder not to do a little catch up when there's nothing going on during a weekend. Avoid the temptation and enjoy the time to yourself. The R&R will only make for a more productive week! 

I'm no expert, so tell me: How do you successfully work from home?


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