So you don’t have a swanky personal office that requires a short but enjoyable commute and a stop at your favorite coffee shop? Yeah, me neither. Luckily, you don’t need a fully furnished office to get your “working from home” work station established. Here are a few things I’ve learned since going rogue.
Make yourself a space
It doesn’t have to be a real office, but if you’ve got space available, move on in and get yourself a cushy chair with wheels and a desk you won’t constantly bang your knee on. Seriously though, I’m fortunate enough to have a designated office space (that currently needs a little help), but you’ll often find me typing at my laptop on the couch or plugged in at the kitchen table. For my trade, though, all I really need to actually work is a laptop and possibly a notebook.
So, get yourself a corner of the couch, a sliver of the kitchen table, or an out of the way hide-a-desk where little hands or slobbery noses (I’m talking pets here) can’t reach. Bonus points if you collect all the tools you’ll need and make yourself a somewhat portable box or bag of essentials. Bonus, then you can easily take your work with you on the days the coffee shop is beckoning.
Invest in a planner
I never thought I’d say this, but I much prefer my spiral bound planner, hand written and covered with sticky notes, to any digital timekeeping solution. I occasionally make notes on my phone, but the majority of my work (and extracurricular stuffs, family events, home school outings) is documented in my planner. I’m pretty visual, so this helps me know what I should be doing at a glance.
I note deadlines for projects, sketch out time frames for client orders, even scribble down my plans for meals for the week. Plus, I get to act like a responsible grown up with all this meticulousness and responsibility nonsense!
Schedule time off
You won’t have a boss dictating your days off, so I’m here to tell you- get out of the office already! Don’t plan on working every single day, and don’t accept every project that comes your way if it means you run the risk of exhausting your “me” time. For us WAHMs (or WAHPs, is that a thing? It should be.), we’re already planning around our kids and their schedules, so we need to factor ourselves in too.
By the way, remember the reason we quit our jobs in the first place? We dropped out of the rat race so we could have more free time and flexibility. Don’t ruin that by working 24/7 just because you can. Sustainability, people!
Give yourself permission to have a bad day
So this might not be entirely organizationally focused, but I need to say it. Don’t be so hard on yourself! We’ve all had crappy days at work, it won’t be any different when you’re working from home. It might be even harder, especially since we don’t have sympathetic if somewhat vengeful coworkers to gripe to.
Having an effective work space and keeping track of our commitments are both huge components of successful work at home. But taking our days off and indulging when we feel like ripping our hair out are important pursuits too.
Now excuse me, I’ve got some planning and office renovating to do!