For me, working from home is a normal routine. I began working from home in 2011, in balance with my work travel as a National Sales Manager. Over time, I have learned what works for me, what doesn’t, and have allowed myself a little grace when working from home becomes just plain being at home.
1 | Start Your Day With Intentions
One thing that is very important for my personal work from home routine is having a transition time into my day. Working from home can mean you roll out of bed and into your office and just start plugging away, but I have found that giving myself some time to be home and “get ready” for work—just like I would for an in-office job—is essential. Now, I am not saying I put on a cute outfit every day, sweats are en vogue in my house and always will be. But, my wake-up time typically consists of making a hot cup of coffee, taking time to enjoy it, and setting my intentions for the day. That’s it, it’s that simple.
2 | Have A Designated Office Space
I have learned over the years that a designated office space is essential. For me, it is a well-lit room right off of my kitchen, painted in lively colors to help me navigate into a positive headspace. I have decorated it with bright colors, soft fabrics, and a cozy chair where I can take a break from my computer, without having to completely jump out of work mode or leave “work” at all. I haven’t always had an entire room designated for work, but I have found that a desk space of some sort has helped me to create that mental note of “I work here” rather than working all over my home.
3 | Stay Organized
When I step into my home office, the next thing I do is open my planner. I have one of those old school ones where you write down your tasks for the day. For me, it is essential because crossing off the tasks when they’re done is rewarding. My planner helps me to stay organized and on task, which is actually the most important thing about my work from home life. To have a good work at home balance, you must be organized. If not, the simplest tasks will reel you in, and the next thing you know, you’ll get stuck, and it will take up your entire day. By being organized with your planner (or calendar), a clean desk, a de-cluttered inbox, and a filing cabinet or system, you will be saving yourself a lot of time and mental clutter.
4 | Wrap Up Your Day
Remember, when you were a kid and your parents would say, “Clean your room, and then you can go play outside!” That lesson sticks with me to this day. I find that cleaning up my office at the end of the day puts everything back in its place and triggers my brain to say, “your workday is over.” It also helps me the next day to come into a crisp and clean office and enjoy my fresh start. So, put away your stuff, shut down your computer, and clock out for the day.
5 | Keep Work At Work
Finally, like you would in a normal situation, leave your stresses and shitty moments at work. Without a complete divide between work and home life, it can be easy to carry your work stress out into your living room and have it impact your life. Now, I am not perfect, but I do try and tell myself that when I am in my office, I can hold those stresses. Once I step foot out of that office, I am a wife, a future dog mom, friend, and so much more. “Work me” does not get to come into those spaces.
This article was written by Tami Ohlfest, National Sales Manager, West Coast for Apartments.com, and WFHer for 9 years.