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Working from home – how to stay productive and sane

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I’ve been working from home part-time for 6 months now and am slowly but surely picking up techniques to keep me focused, motivated and not go crazy. Despite the initial allurement of working from home it’s not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes you never switch off from work mode. Sometimes you get lonely. Or sometimes the temptation to just stop working and watch Netflix gets too great. So I’ve rounded up my best tips on keeping you productive and sane when working from home!

Keep sensible working hours

I find it way too easy to start working at 8am and still be sitting at my computer at 10pm. When you’re working on things you love and are passionate about, it’s hard to switch off. However making the decision to work from home part-time was to achieve a better work/life balance and I was doing the very opposite! Now I try and aim to start at 9am and finish around 6pm (unless there is a deadline).

Have a routine. And stick to it

Despite the allure to roll out of bed to your computer and sit there all day in pyjamas, you need to have a morning ritual. Get up, make yourself some breakfast, have a shower, get dressed, then write your to-do list for the day. These simple actions get you mentally prepared for the day.

Keep it clean

I often feel the state of my desk is an accurate summary of the state of my brain. A messy desk = a disorganised mind. As my office is in my bedroom, I try and tidy up and do some chores before I settle down to work – otherwise I am tempted to reorganise or dust just to procrastinate!

Exercise

Exercise is proven to boost your brainpower and in fact I often get my best ideas when I am working up a sweat. Every day I always ensure I go for a walk (I have a FitBit and try and do at least 10,000 steps a day) or take a yoga class. At the very least try and get up from your desk every hour, do some gentle stretches and walk around your office/apartment. Your lower back will thank you for it.

Take breaks

Isn’t it funny how we can take coffee and lunch breaks without a second thought at our day jobs, then feel guilty if we don’t power through all day at home? Take time to relax and recharge, if only for 10 minutes. Read a few chapters of a book, have a cup of tea, even browse Pinterest for a while. I find if I don’t schedule in semi-regular breaks my brain fizzes out around 3.30pm and I feel lethargic and uninspired.

Catch up with fellow freelancers

Whether you want to have a whine, get inspired or just have some human interaction, arranging to catch up with fellow freelancers is an excellent way to maintain motivation and sanity! Some freelancers hold “laptop parties” in their house where everyone brings along their computer and works together. Hello instant co-workers! If you know some fellow home workers, why don’t you drop them an email and suggest a coffee catchup?

I hope my tips have helped you if you’re struggling with working from home or considering making the leap. Do you have any other suggestions to add? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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8 Comments

  • Reply Dannielle @ Zamamabakes June 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Such a great bunch of tips lovely lady.
    I definitely need to get a little more order happening on my work desk. I say the same thing about our house to Zadada, if it’s messy my mind is messy.
    Exercise really does make a huge difference, really helps put things in perspective!

    • Reply Swah June 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Exercise is incredible for work, isn’t it! If my mind is getting a little foggy or tired by the afternoon I try to get out of the house and stretch my legs

  • Reply Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts June 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    This is great.
    I love all these tips, I find myself getting so engrossed in what I am doing that some days I look at the clock and it is time to do the school and I haven’t done any of the daily chores and jobs. Then I end up running around like a crazy ass fly whilst the kids amuse themselves.
    Getting a routine would be great :-)

    • Reply Swah June 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Setting a routine is so helpful! Especially when you are working on something you love, it is oh so easy to get carried away. Sometimes I even set a timer on my phone :)

  • Reply Lisa June 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Love this article! I totally agree with all of them. I’m much more productive during the day if I promise myself an afternoon walk (or swim in summer). And I have to write a to do list every day or I’m useless! Let me know if you ever want to work together, that’d be fun. I know we’ve been meaning to catch up for ages :)

    • Reply Swah July 7, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      We definitely need to be work buddies Lisa! And it’s always good to incentivise yourself isn’t it, especially if it’s exercise0based. Then you feel so much better!

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