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The Dos & Don’ts of Working From Home
As a wedding photographer, A LOT has changed for me and my business over the past week, but one thing that isn’t really that different for me is my working routine and environment. I’ve been working from home (or a small office space) for about 4 ½ years now and, while I’m definitely not perfect at it, I have discovered some key things that make all the difference in being productive and staying sane — which I think we can all use a little help with right now, thanks to COVID-19!
After talking with some friends last week about how working from home was new to them and some of the things they were struggling with, I realized that I had some tips that could help. I have a lot more free time on my hands since I won’t be photographing weddings for a good while, so I decided to compile a list of dos and don’ts that I hope will help those of you that are new to the WFH life. And at the end of the post there will be a link to download a schedule I created that helps keep me focused and from going crazy at home all day!
- Have a consistent wake-up / bed time! Routine is KEY.
- Make your bed! My mom raised us to do this first thing every morning and I’m so glad she did. It’s always nice walking into your room to a neatly made bed, and you’ll start off your day being productive – even if it’s just a small task!
- Open your curtains and blinds, and if it is nice outside, the windows! Get that sunlight and fresh air in however you can!
- Get dressed – even if it’s just slightly. Doing a little bit with your hair and even putting on a little bit of makeup will help mentally set you up for a workday vs. a bum-around-the-house kind of day.
- Create a daily schedule that includes time for good meals, breaks, and some sort of physical activity. (You can find a link to download mine at the bottom of this post!)
- Write down something you’re looking forward to! Working from home constantly and with limited contact with people can really put a damper on my mood, so I try to come up with something I can look forward to later in the day. If you don’t have anything, create something! Schedule in time to do an activity you enjoy (social distancing + shelter-in-place friendly — whatever your situation may be!), make a phone date or schedule a virtual happy hour with a friend!
- Take breaks – even if it’s just to walk around the house, make a snack, walk around the block, play with your dog, check in with a friend, etc. But set a timer so you don’t find yourself down the Instagram rabbit hole 45 minutes later…. we’ve all been there.
- Trade your commute time for a home workout or a morning / evening run! I’ve been using Obe´Fitness and have really enjoyed it! You get a week-long free trial, and if you click on the link above and use the code FRIEND30, you’ll get 30% off your first month! There are various workouts of different lengths including HIIT, Yoga, Pilates, Dance Cardio, and more!
- Set time aside to do a fun activity or treat yourself to a little something. Knowing I have something to look forward to later and that I’ll get to do something more enjoyable helps me stay focused.
- Eat regular meals and drink water! Setting aside time for good meals helps give me a break during the day, makes sure I’m fueling my body well, and helps keep me from mindlessly eating all my quarantine snacks…
- Create a designated workspace that is seperate from where you will relax and rest after work. I turned my dining room into a temporary office area and am not allowing myself to work in my living or bedroom. This really helps create a separation between work time and just being home – especially since we’re spending a lot more time at home right now.
- Timeblock! Work on like tasks together and set a timer and work on it straight through until the timer goes off! One of my friends turned me on to Brain.fm. There’s an app and website and can choose different kinds of music to help you focus and set a timer, so I’ll pick one and work straight through until the music stops!
- Schedule times to get normal house tasks done. Sometimes it is really easy for me to let doing laundry or cleaning my bathroom be a justifiable activity, but really, it’s me procrastinating the work I need to get done. Setting a time later in the day or week to do these tasks or run necessary errands helps me to focus on work during work time because I know there is a time to do those things later.
- Have a downtime activity for the evening – reading a book, watching a tv show, taking a walk. This will help you feel like there is an end to your work day and a beginning to your evening.
- Take 10 – 15 minutes to do a quick tidying-up sweep through your house before going to bed! Put dishes away, wipe down counters, straighten the living room, put away any clothes or shoes that are laying out, etc. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you wake up to a nice clean space!
- Stay in your PJs all day! At least change into some leisure / loungewear!
- Work from bed. You’ll be tempted to slack off, take a nap or just switch your web browser over to Netflix.
- Work with your phone next to you! It’s way too easy to just pick it up and start scrolling and waste time. Set it aside, away from arms reach and upside down, that way if you want to reach for it as a distraction, you’ll *hopefully* think twice once you remember you have to get up and walk to the other side of the room get it!
CREATING THE IDEAL SCHEDULE
Working from home takes some getting used to and A LOT of discipline! Creating a schedule and routine will be the one most valuable thing you can do to set yourself up for success and make this crazy time we’re in a little more structured and productive. To help, I created a free download of my ideal work day schedule for you to copy or even just use as a reference! Just click here to grab it!
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