It’s been a solid six weeks since I left my corporate job and so far? I am LOVING working from home! Going to bed every night is so much more of a joy because I know that the next day I get to wake up and do something I treasure. I’m still struggling to find a schedule and a groove that really work for me, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1) I must get up at the same time every day. Keeping this rigidity helps my body understand that it’s time to get up, wake-up, and go to work.
2) I must get DRESSED every day. I know some people are able to run their business in their pajamas, and trust that I’m jealous about it. But for me, if I don’t change into at least a pair of jeans, my mind won’t function in a BUSINESS capacity. Any time I try to work in pajamas I end up wasting HOURS on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
3) I must have a workspace designated to my business. When Matt and I started looking for a new apartment last year my main stipulation was that it had to have a place that I could use as an office, whether that was a second bedroom, a den, etc. Our first apartment had a single bedroom and we didn’t have room for a desk, so I ended up taking over our pub table (then functioning as our only place to sit and enjoy a meal) as my desk. It was miserable- trying to work on edits in the evening with my back to Matt while he watched football was so maddening! I was easily distracted, even more easily frustrated, and sitting in a wooden chair for several hours at a time wasn’t doing any favors for my back. So when we found a 2 BR a little further out that was right within our budget, we snatched it up. It’s perfect- I have an office (with a door!) that I can call my own. When I’m in here, I know it’s time to work. I stay in my office from 8 am to 5-6 pm, occasionally taking a few hours in the middle of the day to run errands, do a craft, etc. I don’t even attempt to work from the couch on my laptop because I know I won’t get anything done.
4) I must give myself grace! This has been the hardest one for me so far. My schedule prior to quitting my job in PR was something like this on a M-F basis: wake up at 6:30 am, get to work by 8:00 am, get home by 5:30, start editing at 6:00, hopefully crawl into bed by 11, Lather, rinse, repeat. Shoot shoot shoot on weekends, then start over again on Monday. Working a 60-80 hour week just became second nature. So now that I only have ONE job, I’m having to re-learn that it’s OKAY to stop working at 5:30 or 6:00. It’s still really hard for me to feel like I’m not wasting time if Matt and I want to relax with a glass of wine and an episode of LOST at night, but it’s coming along.
5) I must clean my desk off every night [and ORGANIZE everything I clear away]. One of my favorite professors at Radford, Dr. French, had us read a book called “They Don’t Teach Corporate In College.” Somewhere in the book it talked about keeping a clean workspace so that whenever your boss walks by, you don’t look like you’re losing your marbles. When I was still working in PR, I made sure that every evening when I closed my office door, my desk was organized. Even though I doubt my boss ever went into my office once I was gone, I never had to worry about someone walking in and finding my workspace covered in messiness. Once I started working from home, I carried this same mantra with me. It helps me feel SO much better about entering my office the next morning if I already have a clean workspace. I’ve noticed if I leave my desk is shambles, I’m a lot more reluctant to start working the next morning.
It’s still a work in progress, this “learning discipline” thing, but it feels good to be working my way toward finding a schedule that really helps me stay on track. Did you have any bad practices that were especially hard to break yourself of? Fess up!Happy Thursday!