How to Work From Home & Be Productive: A Blogger’s Guide
With the onset of the COVID-19 virus, many people are finding themselves working from home for the first time – and realizing it’s a lot more challenging than you’d think! When I transitioned from a traditional 9-5 job and started working from home in between travels for my blogging & photography business, it actually took a while for me to learn not just how to be productive but how to work from home at all. With so many distractions and especially if you are self-employed and the only person you have to answer to is yourself, it can be tough to sit down and get things done the way you would at an office. As a blogger, I’ve learned some hard-earned tips that I will share with you in this guide on how to work from home and be productive:
Make Custom Work Hours
If you are used to working a 9-5, it can be helpful at the start to set yourself the same work hours as you had before, at least until you figure out which hours YOU as an individual are the most productive at. I personally start work at 7am and finish up a little earlier, from 3-4pm since I know I focus best in the mornings. Give yourself a real lunch break – it’s easy to push through and get burnt out. But on the other hand, be cautious that you don’t just watch Netflix while you eat and just keep letting the episodes play. It’s a slippery slope, and I found that I do best with just 30 minutes of a break, but you may need an hour or more – just adjust your work hours.
Set Home-Work Boundaries
During your set work hours, do NOT do any housework, personal tasks, or anything else not work-related. This is especially helpful for those who have partners that work outside of home while you work from home. It is very important to define home-work boundaries. An example of why this is important is that you may find yourself feeling resentful that you are constantly doing housework while your partner only does them while they’re home. This also helps define to yourself that your work from home is just as important as work someone else would do at an office. Mindset shifts are HUGE when working from home, so respect yourself and your business, or respect your employer if you are working for someone else.
Give Yourself Structure
While it’s tempting to roll out of bed and stay in your pajamas all day long (honestly nothing wrong with that some days!), you will find yourself in a better and more productive headspace if you get ready and do the same things you would if you are going into the office. Whether that’s making a full breakfast, reading some articles on your phone, putting on a full face of makeup (even though no one will see you, this is a personal choice but for me a little mascara goes a long way to put my “game face” on and work hard!) – regardless of your getting ready routine definitely at least get dressed for the day. I like to start my day with a workout, so I personally roll out of bed, get a full workout in, then make coffee, eat, shower, and get dressed before starting my work day. If you took a gym break at lunch time or 2pm or 5pm at your office job, try and keep the same routine. During this current pandemic, go through YouTube for workout inspiration; there are so many incredible free resources for yoga, body-weight only weight lifting, pilates, cardio in small apartments, etc.
Set Aside a Dedicated Workspace
This one can be optional, but I find that having dedicated workspace simulates that getting into the office feeling helps a ton. I am lucky to have an office where I work on videos that has a desk and a large monitor, but my other work setup is just my laptop at the kitchen table. It’s simple but effective and I honestly work there more than my office; I just love the open space and I have the few things I need ready to go each day next to me and it gets me in the mood to work. De-clutter your workspace before you begin; this will help you limit distractions and stay focused. Post-pandemic, you might find that going to a coffee shop or finding a local co-working space is more ideal. Some people honestly don’t work well from home, and that’s okay! If you’re not one of those people who can be productive at home, don’t worry, I think you can learn to work better than you’d think!
There have been a lot of studies about what makes us productive, and while people have different habits and abilities, the general consensus is that it’s helpful to take frequent, short breaks. For me, I have gotten much better at putting my head down and working for longer periods of time, so my ideal window is working for one hour and then taking a ten-minute break. For many of my friends, working for 30 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break is ideal. My best advice: set a timer for both! Time 30 minutes and when it goes off, wrap up what you’re working on and then set yourself a break timer as well so you don’t get distracted. At the end of the day, finish up your work and don’t let your work hours become blurred. Recovery time from work is just as important as quality of work for productivity and mental health.
Focus on One Task at a Time
Plan Ahead & Stay Organized
Protect Your Mental Health and Maintain Self-Care
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Hey I’m Rebecca!
I’m a freelance travel & outdoors photographer and blogger living in the US but you can find me adventuring around the globe! On this blog I share tips to help you improve your photography, inspiration to explore the outdoors, destination guides, and travel tips, and more to plan your own adventures!
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