Hate to break it to ya, but it’s hard to stay focused working from home. If you’re an entrepreneur, either already established or in the middle of turning that sweet side-hustle into full-time, chances are you spend some time (if not all) working from home so you know what I’m talking about.
While I know, working from home is something a lot of people crave and put on their vision boards, it’s not all fun and games. Theres such a high expectation of not having to go into an office every morning, but let me tell you something… it is hard. Yup, hate to break it to you, but to stay focused working from home is a doozy.
I remember my first few days working from my couch: I watched Vanderpump Rules in bed all morning, mindlessly ate whatever was in my fridge and occasionally looked at my laptop to see if anyone had emailed me.
The struggle is real. Having to work, eat, sleep, and play in one space gets messy. Over the five years of my solo-career I’ve really had to hone in on what works for my life. I’ve come up with a few valuable tips that will save you years of frustration and stress. So how do you stay focused when working from home? How do you treat your business as work and not a staycation?
Establish Office Hours
Treat your business like a 9-5. Seriously! You need to have working hours so you can separate that time from your personal home life. I wake up at 6:00am, go to the gym, shower, have breakfast, meditate, relax a bit and get my butt downstairs in my home office by 9. BOOM! I get a good start to the day and by 5:30pm I’m done.
Remember that there are perks of working from home, do your 9-5 but you are flexible enough that you can add a yoga class to your routine, or go out to lunch with a client (or friend!), take advantage of the perks but establish a schedule to keep you on track and on top of your goals.
Create a Safe Space
It is super super suuuuper important to have a clear defined space. No, not the couch, not your bed, but an actual office, preferably with a door and one you enjoy working from. When you have a clear space your mindset will turn into work mode and your attention will only be with your business. At the end of the day when the door closes you can leave work behind and move onto your personal life.
My first office was a teeny tiny corner of my 1 bedroom apartment and I absolutely hated working in it. My desk was crammed in the corner and was messy, full of all my art supplies and my husbands giant desktop computer. I never felt inspired in it and so my motivation lacked. When we moved and got our townhome we build an office in the garage to my liking. Now I’m fully happy and even look forward to working in my own creative space. So if you have a room to spare or a corner, dress it up and make sure the space works for you and makes you happy.
Eliminate Your Distractions
You know what they are. Is it Netflix like me? The temptation of binging all episodes of The Good Place or re-watch all of Parks and Rec? Do you have a fur baby who requires your attention? Have OCD and the need to clean everything?
It is easy to get distracted and daze off into your home-y goodness. To be productive you have to isolate yourself from everything that could potentially take away time from working on your dream. The internet and social media are enough distractions, we don’t need to add our home to it. Identify what takes your attention and eliminate it.
Walk Before You Run
One of my biggest setbacks is that I try to do everything at the same time and it is counterproductive as it makes me loose focus. Because of the nature of being an entrepreneur and running your own business, there’s this pressure and stress of wearing so many hats.
Take baby steps. Quality over quantity, take your time with your work, your blog post or your design project. Dedicate enough time to each element of your work day, don’t rush it or you will crash and burn (like I did). To be productive does not mean to do everything fast and at once, being productive is staying focused while tackling your day to day projects effectively. So slow down, take your time and focus.
Dress for Success
You’ve heard of the phrase “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?”, well it kinda works! One of the things that keeps me motivated all the time is dressing the part. I aspire to be a empowering girl boss, so I dress like one. I dress in clothes that make me feel confident and I do my make-up every single day. I do this for me. I mean, I work from home, I’m not going out, but it makes me feel legit.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her new book Big Magic that she dates her creativity. She dresses up for it and she puts on lipstick for it. The days where she gets creative blocks, she jumps in the shower and dresses up to change her mindset and “seduce” her creativity.
I personally love the complete and utter freedom of making my own schedule, work at my own pace, and answering only to myself. So, here’s the thing Dreamer, if you want your business to succeed treat it like a business. Get organized, create a safe space and go kick-ass. I honestly believe I have one of the best jobs in the world. And so can you.
How do you stay productive from home? Any tips?