Tag: work from home

6 Ways to Stay Organized and Productive When You Work at Home

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Working at home is great because you don’t have to worry about a commute, you can wear whatever you want, and you are in complete control of your workday. However, working from home does present challenges that make it difficult to stay organized and productive. Take a look at these six ways to eliminate distractions and get your work done faster.

Choose a Productive Place to Do Your Work

Some people find that a traditional desk in a quiet area is the best place to work. This is definitely the case for people who get distracted easily, but I think the most important thing to consider when choosing a workspace is your comfort. Personally, I like to move around to different places during the day.

You just have to find a place that works for you where you are productive and organized. If that means sitting on the couch with your kids playing nearby, great! If it means you need a home office where you can shut the door, that’s fine, too.

Set Your Work Hours

One of the hardest things about working from home is trying to separate work life from home life. Setting specific work hours can help you find the divide so you don’t feel like you’re working all the time.

After you’ve been working at home for a while, you’ll start to notice peak hours when you’re the most productive. This might be 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. after your kids have gone to bed or normal business hours of 8 to 5. It doesn’t really matter when you work, but you should try to find a time when you have the least amount of distractions and when you’re the most productive. Then, don’t work at other times of the day.

Get Dressed Before You Work

I’ll admit that oftentimes I don’t go take a shower until after lunch because I know I don’t have to. That’s one of the perks of working from home. However, I don’t recommend making this a habit. I find that I am more productive when I get showered and dressed early.

Being dressed for the day puts you in a more productive mood and also makes you feel more professional. It also makes it easier to pick up and run errands if you need to. Plus, scheduling time to get dressed prevents you from wasting time.

Schedule Time for Housework

One of the biggest distractions of working from home is housework. For instance, you might go to the kitchen for a glass of water but get distracted by the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Next thing you know, an hour of valuable work time has gone by because you’ve been cleaning. That’s why I suggest scheduling time to do housework. Basically, this means that you don’t clean or organize anything in your house unless it is during those designated hours. This will help you stay focused on your work and keep a separation from your home life.

I have an especially hard time with this one because I get distracted when things are dirty — it’s an OCD tendency. So, I try to schedule time in the evening, right before I go to bed, to tidy up. That way things are nice and clean when I wake up and start to work. If I don’t have time at night, I try to clean up the house before I start working.

Tell People You Aren’t Available

People don’t always understand what it means when you tell them you’re working from home. They assume it is great because you can still keep your house clean and watch your kids. You have no idea how many times I have been asked to babysit simply because I work from home. Babysitting is a lot of work, and something I have a very hard time doing if I have to work.

Watching your own kids is one thing because you can teach them how to behave when you’re on the phone with clients and they will eventually learn how to entertain themselves while you’re typing away at your computer. However, babysitting throws off your entire work schedule because those kids haven’t been trained. So, make sure your friends and family know that you aren’t available to babysit because you are “working,” not simply “at home.”

Create To-Do Lists and Take Breaks

Working from home requires a lot of organization and dedication. However, you have to balance this with breaks to walk around and get snacks. You can help yourself get things done by creating to-do lists. I find it’s best to focus on one task at a time because my thoughts aren’t all over the place. Working from home does require the ability to multitask, but not at the sake of productivity.

The most important thing to remember is to be flexible. There are always distractions and things that arise when you work at home that wouldn’t happen if you worked in an office. Therefore, you may need to make adjustments to your schedule on a daily or weekly basis.

What are the biggest challenges you face while working from home and what do you do to stay productive? Leave a comment below.

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How Pregnancy Affected My Freelance Career (The First Trimester)

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My husband and I were thrilled to find out we were pregnant because it was so hard to get to that point. However, I wasn’t prepared for the toll pregnancy would have on my freelance career. I’m not complaining; I just figured I’d share my experience to help others prepare. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience similar things.

I Had a Major Lack of Energy

First of all, I knew I’d be tired because that’s what all of my friends told me. What they didn’t tell me is that I’d be tired to the point of needing a nap every day in the afternoon. As a freelancer working from home, I knew I could get away with a little snooze, but it did affect my productivity. This sometimes meant I’d have to work longer during the day to cover the time I missed while napping. Of course, this flexibility is one of my favorite things about being a freelancer.

Additionally, I am a very deadline-driven person, which means I tend to procrastinate until my deadline is in sight. This is really bad, but if I have a 6 a.m. deadline, I sometimes wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. to get it done. When I’m done, I just go back to bed and sleep for a few more hours. The first time I tried this as a pregnant woman was a nightmare. I had a really hard time dragging myself out of bed and then keeping my eyes open to work. Because of my pregnancy, I had to force myself to overcome my bad procrastination habits, at least to some degree. (You know you’re guilty, too…)

I Was Stressed from Pregnancy Complications

On top of my constant need for sleep, I lost valuable working time because of frequent dr. appointments. For a couple of weeks near the beginning of my pregnancy, I had to spend an hour every couple of days to go get my blood drawn. Also, my doctor had me coming in for weekly ultrasounds. There are so many things that can go wrong with a pregnancy, and they all add stress to your life. This doesn’t mean you’ll have pregnancy complications, but you should be prepared to miss some work in case you do. Plus, you might not be as productive when you do work because of the added stress on your life.

Also, my pregnancy complications led me to be on bed rest for a couple of weeks. This isn’t unbearable when you work from home, but it is still an inconvenience. I would just sit or lay on the couch with my laptop nearby. I usually move about from room to room during the day, but staying in one place wasn’t a very hard adjustment.

I was only mildly sick during my first trimester, so that didn’t really affect my freelance career. Although, I hear it can be a major inconvenience for some women (75 percent of pregnant women get morning sickness). Luckily for me, I could end my queasiness pretty quickly by eating a cracker or two.

I definitely lost some productivity after getting pregnant, but I was still able to make freelancing work for me. How have your pregnancies affected your freelance career? Leave a comment below.

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