Working from home is a mysterious and luxurious way to make a living, but it isn’t as glamorous as many think it is. Sure, I can start work at 11 am or wear the same pair of yoga pants three days in a row, but having the option to put things off until tomorrow can be a deadly decision for a new business. Client deadlines are never ignored, but those personal business growth goals are too easy to set aside.
Stay busy and stay badass with a few tips to help keep you in the boss babe mindset when working from home.
Get Dressed for Success
I am currently wearing a purple fleece onesie with cats and doughnuts on it, but that’s not the point. This morning I got up early to write blogs because that’s when my mind writes best, and to encourage that mindset during the cold morning hours I like to create a bit of comfort around me with a onesie and a big cup of coffee.
My blog writing session will end, and I will get up and get dressed for the rest of the day (I’m telling myself this as much as you!)
Putting on a pair of pants that have a button or a shirt that you wouldn't wear to bed can do absolute wonders for your state of mind. When you walk out of the bedroom ready to hit the office, your mind is there too.
I’m not saying wear a buttoned shirt and heals to walk down the hallway to your office, but reach for something that makes you feel empowered.
A nice sweater and jeans or something you would wear outside the house (wherever that is, but we’ll get to that.) I personally hate wearing ‘outside the house’ clothing, and before I started working from home I was/am the kind of person that strips all my clothes off within five minutes of being through the front door.
I love skinny jeans until I don’t, and I just plain old have given up on wires in bras, so the key to being able to feel professional in your own home is to find that sweet spot where you are dressed yet comfortable. The wardrobe you already have for ‘work’ may not be the same wardrobe you need for work-at-home.
Now I also can’t afford to go out and buy myself a whole new outfit that no will ever see, but you can organize your current clothing to reflect different purposes. If one of your yoga pants is really nice, that’s your work pair now. Use what you have to create a work wardrobe that empowers you.
Know Your Mind's Routine
If you’ve been raised on Mon-Fri and 9-5s it can be a difficult transition to move into managing your own schedule. Most people will either slide into late starts and lazy habits or stick to the exact same routine from a past work life because it’s all they know.
The key is to be able to understand your own mind and work with it, not shove it into a predetermined schedule
My partner works from home as well, but he works for a company that has determined hours. He works from 10 am to 6 pm, five days a week. This is great for me because it sets strict working hours around the home, which has really motivated me to work full days instead of little bits here and there.
I am a morning person and my brain feels the most productive in the earlier parts of the day, so while most days I start at ten, I also have days that I know I need to write a lot of blogs (like today) and so I get up extra early, extra cozy, and let my mind write to its heart content at seven or eight in the morning. It’s not about sticking to a schedule, it’s about understanding and working with your mind.
Create Space to Thrive
We are fortunate enough to have room in our home for offices, but I didn’t always have an entire room for my business. The very beginnings of Kelp Forest started a business ago in a large closet with a window - that was my office. Hey, at least it had a window. It was a small desk and a chair that was really bad for my posture, but it was a place that I could sit down a focus on my work.
Whether you have a tiny desk or just a spot on the couch that you can transform into an office (aka space to have a coffee and notepad) it’s important for our mental state and productivity to make space to work in, to be inspired in.
Set Boundaries for Yourself
Productivity, when you work at home, is super tricky. Sometimes I find myself cleaning the kitchen on my lunch break, but I don’t stop myself because it’s still a very productive activity. This is dangerous to your home business though because you are not respecting the time that is supposed to be for your business.
I’m feeling stressed and behind on a deadline, but my laundry is all done and folded…
Yes, you can clean the kitchen and still get what you wanted to do done today, great. But if you want to grow and thrive as a business, you need to set boundaries for yourself and then respect them. Be a mean boss and tell yourself/employee that laundry on a lunch break isn’t okay.
Take Healthy Breaks
Taking a break from staring at a screen is always a good idea, but have you ever taken a work break just to stare at your phone? It feels like a rest for your working train of thought, but your mind is still racing to keep up with what you are fiercely scrolling past. We need to learn to take real breaks, like get up and go outside and stare at the grass kind of breaks.
Alright, now like I promised (myself) I’m going to finish up these blogs, hit the shower and then get dressed for the day. Today my schedule is funky but it is what works for me: writing from 8 am to 10 am, shower and get dressed in my ‘real world’ clothes, and then sit down at my desk to work for the day around 11 am.