Behind The Blog: 7 Tips and Tricks To Successfully Work From Home
Posted May 5, 2023 by Prairie Wife -
The number of people choosing to work from home has skyrocketed in the last five years, with a significant increase in 2020.
And what’s not to love?!
Working from home seems like it would be the best of all worlds. Stay in your jammies, have flexible work hours, no need to hire a sitter, and no commute…yet you still get paid!
Is there even a downside to be found?
For those of us with years of experience working from home, we know it’s not as incredible as it may seem.
It can be hard to become motivated.
You’re surrounded by distractions (UPS delivering a package, dirty dishes in the sink, the call of the refrigerator or pantry).
And let’s all laugh together at the idea of getting more than 15 minutes of work done at a time when your kids are anywhere near you.
As someone who has worked from home for almost a decade, running the Prairie Wife brand and handling a few side hustles over the years, I can tell you that it CAN be done successfully. But it’s going to take some effort and dedication on your part to make it work.
Set up a dedicated workspace.
I get it. Not everyone can have a home office. I have worked from my kitchen counter for the last 10 years. Even though I don’t have an entire room to myself, there IS a specific part of the home where I keep my printer, my files, the books I use as sources for my workshops and speeches, and everything else I need. Sitting down at my spot at the counter and flipping open my laptop instantly lets my brain know it’s time to work. Create a space in your home that realistically works for you, and let your family know to leave that area alone.
Take advantage of your daily rhythms.
We all have a unique daily rhythm. And ebb and flow of energy that is unique to us. My most productive time is from 7:15 to 10:00, right after the Cowkids are off to school and before all the other chaos overflows into my time to work. While I sometimes pick back up around 2 – 4 and have another big surge of focused energy. It WILL be a struggle if I don’t finish my main work in those first few hours of the morning. I plan most of my meetings or errands during 10:30 – 1:30 because I know it’s when I naturally need to get up and move. I also work well after 9 pm. This doesn’t usually work for my family-focused life, but it’s something that I take advantage of when I have a big deadline to meet.
Find a way to get organized.
Just like we all have different rhythms, we all have different ways we like to stay organized. Find what works for you, and then stick with it. It’s vital to have a way to keep track of projects, meetings, and deadlines. Just flagging an email with important information and assuming you’ll remember what needs to get done is NOT going to work. I use a small week-by-week calendar to write down appointments, content ideas, and to-do lists. I also have a digital calendar where I keep track of my meetings. Every day I look at my calendar and add tasks I need to complete…while crossing off the things I’ve done. It keeps me focused and organized and prevents me from dropping the ball.
Communicate with your team.
While you may have a work schedule that fits you and your family, recognize that it may not fit your team’s schedule. It’s essential to communicate when you plan to be available daily for quick calls or Zoom meetings, and when you will be in the office in person. If you’re working on a big project, it’s reasonable for your team to form a schedule for projects to be turned in and have the expectation that you will be more accessible than usual. Leaving your team hanging, constantly being unresponsive, or frequently missing deadlines can lead to frustration and removal from your position. #yourfired
Be aware of how Tech helps and hurts you.
We’ve all been there…we’re slaying all those unanswered emails when suddenly our phone or watch buzzes with a text. Suddenly it’s 20 minutes later, and we’re sending yet another TikTok video to our spouse, and not even sure how we got there. While tech is necessary for working from home, it can (and will) get in the way if you allow it. If you need to focus on a project or large to-do list, take your watch off and place it and your phone in another room. Trying to focus, but the clutter around you is driving you crazy? Set your timer on your phone for 30 minutes. Focus and slay all the work things you can in that time, and then get up and clean. Or…set the timer and clean as much as possible in the time you’ve given yourself and then return to work. Many computers can turn off notifications for a set amount of time. Use this option and see if it increases your productivity.
Evaluate your performance every 3 months.
We’ve all been there. We make a significant change in our lives, and at first, it’s fantastic and everything we dreamed of…but then reality slowly slips in. While working from home has advantages, it’s essential to look closely at how it’s REALLY working for you, your family, and your team. Change is a part of life, and while it worked perfectly to get everything done when your child was a toddler…they may now be in preschool, and juggling their school schedule and activities may have completely ruined your ability to work for large chunks of time! If working from home is causing more stress than joy, look at what you need to change. An example from my life: When the Cowkids are home for the Summer, I take at least one morning a week to work from a local coffee shop. It’s just too hard to get more than 30 minutes of focused time to work with all 5 of them at home!
Resist the temptation to always be working.
It’s hard to shut off “work mode” when your work tools surround you. While I try to do nothing work related once the Cowkids are home from school, it can be hard not to flip open my laptop to “quickly answer an email” while they’re sitting at the table doing homework. If you can, remove the main distractions (like your computer) or shut the door to your office. Also, stick to the schedule you’ve made and shared with your team. If they know you’re unavailable from 3:30 every afternoon but will answer emails promptly at 8 am the next day, they won’t be frustrated, and you can relax and enjoy your time with your family.
Do you work from home? Is there anything you do that may be helpful to our readers? Let us know!
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Photos Taken By: Krystal J Brewer Photography
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