Working from home is liberating, but without proper planning it can also be an uphill battle compared to an office job. Many of the normal rules of office behavior don’t necessarily apply, and sometimes the temptation to focus more on the “at home” part than the “work” part of the description can be strong. The trick, however, is to establish some rules for yourself to help bring some of the structure of the office into your home. Here are five rules you can use to make sure you’re working to your full potential:
1. Set A Morning Routine
Some days it’s difficult to wake up and get things done, but one thing that can make the process infinitely easier is to already know exactly what steps you need to take to get working. Set up a routine that you can adhere to every single day and then stick with it, and do everything in the same order every morning. When you’re done with your routine, you should have taken care of anything you’d need to do before it’s time to buckle down and work, so there are no distractions once you “clock in” and get down to business.
2. Separate Work and Life
When you work from home, the lines between the time you spend working and the time you spend with your family can start to blur over time. Make an effort to give yourself “business hours” and stick to them, both with yourself and with clients. Let everyone know what those hours are, and make sure they’re respected – from both sides. Your family should understand not to bother you when you’re working, and your clients should know that you won’t be available to them outside of your set hours. Of course, exceptions to both can be made, but they should be just that – exceptions. Don’t let it become a habit or you’ll find yourself unable to separate the two.
3. Stay Positive
Attitude is everything, and when you’re a solopreneur, it can sometimes be tough not to have anyone around to lift you out of a bad mood. Pay close attention to your mindset throughout the day, and if you feel yourself losing your positivity, take a “mood break” and find a way to get it back. Read some motivational articles or quotes, think back to something good that’s happened in the past few days, or even just force yourself to power through it. Whatever you have to do, just make sure that you’re approaching your work with a positive mindset as much as possible.
4. Stand, Don’t Sit
Studies continually show that sitting for hours and hours every day isn’t good for your body, and yet that’s what many of us do day after day, year after year. To break the cycle, invest in a standing desk, or find a guide online to help you convert your desk without too much strain on your wallet. If you don’t like the idea of standing up all day, there are plenty of desks that switch back and forth from standing to sitting, so you can switch as needed throughout the day.
5. Schedule Breaks
Sitting (or even standing) at your desk all day isn’t healthy, and certainly isn’t going to do anything for your overall mood. Set up a schedule that lets you take breaks a few times a day, and use those breaks to get away from screens and do something different for ten or fifteen minutes. Take a stroll outside, read a chapter in a book, make yourself a healthy snack, or just take some time to do nothing at all.