The Ultimate Working From Home Guide
This working from home guide has everything you need to know about how to successfully work from home. These working from home tips include creating a routine, how to be productive and how to set up your office!
I've been working from home for about 7 years now. And while it definitely took me a while to get the hang of it, I feel like I've totally found a groove and want to share some of my secrets with you!
Especially nowadays with millions of people being told to work from home, I'm sure now, more than ever you need these tips and tactics. So today I'm laying it all on the line. The good, the bad, the hard, the awesomeness that is working from home.
Think of this as a complete working from home guide. A guide that has all my best working from home tips and includes everything from why it's so hard, how to set up your space, how to be more productive and more!
I hope it helps you create your own work from home routine so you can still be productive and happy in your job, regardless of where you are!
Best Working From Home Tips
Before we get into each of these specific topics, I wanted to give you an overview of what we're going to be chatting about today. Feel free to click on any of these links and you'll be taken directly to that part of the post. This is a long one, so hopefully, that helps you navigate it a bit more clearly.
- My Work from Home Story
- Why Working from Home is so Hard
- Creating a Work from Home Routine
- Setting up Your Home Office
- How to be Productive Working from Home
- How to Not Just Snack The Whole Time
My Work from Home Story
Now I'm definitely not saying I'm the best, most productive person on the planet, but I do run my own business, so the amount of effort I put in is directly correlated to how much money I make. The harder I work, the more earning potential I have. This situation isn't true for everyone and I found that when I was working my 9-5 job, it was much more challenging to be productive.
So we're kicking off our working from home guide off with my story. Just to kind of share what I've gone through and why you can count on these tips to help you!
I first started working from home when we moved to New York City in 2013. The marketing company I was working for in Vermont allowed me to relocate and continue working remotely. I'd been there for a solid two years of working for them from home, but I finally got to a point where it just wasn't working anymore. I was the only person who was remote, I was managing people, I was on the executive team and I was having to go back and forth too frequently.
Quitting My Full-Time Job
My business was also at a good point in its growth. At the time, I was making about half of my salary from the blog (so about $30K at the time), and I decided it was time to try this thing for real. My thought process was if I could dedicate all my energy to my blog, I'd be able to get that number up.
And so I gave myself a year. One year and then I could go back and get another job if need be. Well, that year came and went and my business has only continued to grow since. Do I attribute this all to working from home? No, but I guess the point of me sharing my story is that I've learned how to:
- be productive
- create a routine
- set up my workspace
- not spend my whole time eating
- keeping a consistent workout schedule
- not getting distracted with housework
And that's what I'm going to share with you today! Shall we dive in?
Why Working From Home is so Hard
First, I think it's important that we talk about why working from home is so challenging. While the idea of it is really fun, unless you're pretty disciplined, it's hard to not get distracted. I think especially at home.
Here's why I find working at home so hard:
- easy to get distracted with chores/housework
- hard to get/stay motivated
- close to the kitchen = snacking constantly
- difficult to find a routine
- hard to stay focused (especially if kids are around)
And that's just a few of them. The truth of the matter is that working from home is tough! But it's also doable and can be super great when you get the hang of it.
How to Create a Work From Home Routine
The most important thing you can do when you start working from home is creating a routine. Whether you've been forced to work at home because of our current situation or you are choosing to work from home, a routine will help you create boundaries and ultimately help you be more effective.
The best way to create a work from home routine is to follow the same schedule you would if you went to an office. It's kind of a mindset shift – you need to treat working from home like you would any other day. So keep that in mind as you're writing out your routine.
Key elements in a work from home routine:
- Wake up on time: set your alarm for your normal time – no sleeping in and rolling out of bed, you gotta take your work seriously!
- Get “ready” for the day: in the early days, I made the mistake of staying in my PJs all day, which I find really disrupts my motivation and concentration. I also find that “getting dressed” helps me take my job more seriously.
- Create your to-do list: writing down your tasks for the day will help you stay accountable for what you need to get done.
- Exercise: make sure to leave room in your schedule for exercise. I recommend working out in the morning as it wakes you up, gets your system going and helps you focus throughout the day.
My Current Work from Home Routine
Since I've been doing this for so long, I have a pretty set routine at this point. Here's a post I did about my morning routine – it's been pretty much the same for the last 4+ years! Feel free to copy this, or tweak it based on what works for you.
- 6:30a: wake up, feed Trevi, drink water and go to the bathroom
- 7:00a: take Trevi for a walk
- 7:30a: workout
- 8:30a: shower & make matcha/breakfast
- 9a: start work
- 12p: walk Trevi & make lunch
- 12:30p: back to work
- 4:30p: walk Trevi
- 5p: finish up work for the day
- 6p: shut off for the evening
Again, take my routine with a grain of salt. If it works for you, great! If not, that's okay too. But I think having a general routine and schedule for your day can be super helpful as you're building out your new work from home routine.
How to be More Productive at Home
The thing I struggle with the most is productivity. Some days I can just sit down at my desk and crank out work, and other days (or weeks like we're having right now), it's really hard for me to focus.
However, I have found a few tricks that help me be more productive. Before we dive in, I actually have two posts that pair nicely with this topic. One shares 5 ways to be more productive and the other includes my favorite productivity tools. So maybe check those out if you're interested as well.
My Simple Productivity Tips
- Create a schedule: I'm going to keep coming back to this, but it's one of the most important working from home tips that I have. Without a structure to your day, it's really hard to be productive. This can be in the form of a to-do list, it can be following your calendar, or just giving yourself a general outline of how you want the day to work.
- Time block: I've talked about this philosophy before, but essentially it's about blocking your day into chunks of time. Then within each block, you only focus on one thing at a time. It's a really effective method for getting a lot done in a short period of time and it prevents you from bouncing around from task to task.
- Plug in: if you tend to get distracted by what's around you, it's time to invest in some noise-canceling headphones. I love these ones from Bose, but you could basically use any kind. Then I recommend you turn on some calming, lyric-free music and just get going. By blocking out what's around you, your attention is much less likely to get pulled in another direction.
- Stop multitasking: multitasking is the death of productivity – so the more streamlined you can get your workflow the better. I recommend following the methods that I just outlined below as a great starting place!
- Remove distractions: again, this goes along the same lines as the other points, but in order to be more productive at home, you must try to minimize your distractions as much as possible. Close down unnecessary programs or browsers on your computer, sit in a place in the house that isn't distracting (i.e. not in the center of things), etc.
- The housework can wait: it's so hard to not get pulled into doing chores when you're at home. Laundry, cleaning, emptying the dishwasher, walking the dog, etc. When you're home you feel like you also want to be doing things to keep the house going. Resist the urge, friend! The housework can wait. Or if it can't wait, schedule it into your day. Give yourself a set period of time for the housework and stick to that schedule. It will help you get more done both at work and at home.
Setting Up Your “Home Office”
One of the other important working from home tips I have is to have a dedicated space to do your work. It doesn't have to be an office – I've never had an office – but I do have a dedicated place to do my work. And it makes a HUGE difference.
I used to work on my couch and it was completely unmotivating. Now I have my own desk and own little corner of our apartment. I get that's not doable for everyone, but try to find a place in your home that you can carve out for work time.
Here are some ideas for places you can set up at home:
- one end of the dining room table
- one of the seats at the kitchen island
- setting up a small card table in the bedroom
- picking up a cheap desk and finding a corner to put it in
I'm telling you, having a dedicated place to have your work makes a tremendous difference! You'll be set up to keep your work there, you'll know that when you sit down, it's time to work. And it's easier to also leave at the end of the day.
How to Not Over Snack Working from Home
And lastly on our list of working from hope tips is talking about snacking. I don't know about you, but being home, being near my kitchen, having the freedom to just walk in and grab a snack, definitely makes me snack more.
Not to say that snacking is bad by any means, but I found when I first started working from home that I was a) eating more and b) not moving as much since I wasn't walking to different offices, walking through the parking lot, etc.
Some tips for how to not over snack:
- Make sure your snacks are filling and contain protein and healthy fats
- Pre-portion your snacks into a small bowl instead of bringing the whole bag/box over
- Keep snacks out of reach in a high cabinet or cupboard
- Keep healthy snacks in easy reach like veggies & hummus or fruit & nut butter
What Would You Like to See Next?
What other working from home tips would you like to see? I could share some working from home outfits! Or we could talk about how to fit in your workouts while also working from home. Let me know if you have any other thoughts in the comments!