I have now been self-employed and working from home for a few years and I have to say I love it, but it’s not always been such plain sailing and I’ve had to put a work structure in place. As well as styling there is an awful lot of admin to be done too, meaning I spend a lot of time sat at my desk (actually my dinning room table) typing away on my laptop. So with that in mind here’s a few of my tips (in no particular order) for working at home and more importantly working alone.
1. Plan out your day, things might change but have a plan in place so you don’t waste time. I write lots of to-do lists and find it very satisfying to tick items off of them, even if I am adding to them constantly too.
2. Take breaks, it’s very easy to sit down at the computer and before you know it a whole day has gone by. Screen breaks are important, as are tea breaks, so even if there is no one to tell you to take one, set an alarm and step away for a few minutes, it’ll give you more clarity on your work too.
3. Have a dedicated work space, this will help you focus and I am definitely more productive when I work from the table in the parlour. I chose a nice warm and bright space to work from, plus I put a comfy sofa in there too for taking those tea breaks on! Having said that on occasion I can still be found on the living room sofa in my PJ’s answering emails from my phone but I do try to limit these.
4. Go outside! I walk the dog or pop to the shops for milk/bread etc. but do try to get out as it’s not good to be coped up all day. Since I started working from home I have also joined a gym, as my walk to work has been lost, being stationary can be a problem but this is my way round it.
5. Stay focused, this one is the one I really struggle with as I am constantly surrounded by distractions, pets, TV, phone etc. This is the downside of working from home. So I try to stay motivated and stick to my plans, I keep a diary of deadlines and an appointment book and I give myself a few breaks so it’s not all work.
6. Prioritise, as I’ve said above I am easily distracted and I often feel the need to answer things immediately, so I have had to learn to prioritise to stay on track. My diary and to-do lists are key to this as they make me do the little bits of work I might of kept putting off.
7. Be nice to yourself, if you are having a bad day and you are having it alone ring a friend for a chat, have a nice lunch or watch an episode of your favourite show. The great thing about being self-employed is you are your own boss, so be a nice one!
8. Connect with people, a working day can feel long on your own and unlike an office environment there is no one to chat to or bounce ideas off. An office share wasn’t going to work for me, so I tend to call or meet up with other self-employed friends for regular planning sessions. Failing that I will use networks like Twitter for help or advice too.
9. Switch off, it’s very easy to still be answering emails at 10pm after starting at 7:30am but set yourself boundaries and try to stick them them, it’ll make you more productive. I have work hours, admittedly they aren’t 9-5 and are pretty bizarre due to a lot of evening and weekend work but I try to stick to them (including 2 days off a week) where I can as it stops me getting burnt out.
10. Enjoy it! Working from home isn’t for everyone but I find it gives me the space to be really creative and submerse myself (to a point) in my work. Although I have to get a certain amount of things done per day I also love being about to relax at home on my breaks and spend time with my animals and friends mid-week, as well as taking advantage of running my errands when no one else is in town!
I’d love to hear your tips for working from home, so if you have some advice to share just add it to the comment section for me to read.