Since March, I’ve had the pleasure of working from home. New to a big city, I thought this was the best thing that could have happened. I quickly learned that, while convenient, working from home is a challenge. Now that I’ve been at this for nearly six months, I thought I’d give my practiced advice on working from home, without going completely stir crazy.
- Dedicate a space to your work: First and foremost, dedicate a space in your home to doing work. I know it’s easy to do work from bed in the morning or from the couch in the afternoon, but separating your spaces will help keep your work life and personal life separate. I live in a one-bedroom apartment, so I used a shelf divider from IKEA to section off a small space in our living room. I turned that space into an office. It’s extremely tiny, with enough room for a small desk and bookshelf. I try not to use it when I’m done with work for the day, so I can separate my work from my down time. It’s crucial to have that down time at the end of the night to recuperate, plus a separate workspace free of distractions is the best way to make sure you’re staying on track from 9 to 5.
- Get out the house: At least once a day. I use my lunch hour to get out of the house, and then eat my lunch at home in front of my computer. Most days, I get out of the house by heading down to the gym in my apartment. I get a work out in, come home, make lunch and get back to work. Since my workspace is tiny, this helps from going stir crazy. Going to the gym, getting lunch, heading to a nearby park or even running out to get groceries are all fabulous ways to get out of the house for an hour.
- Get out of your pajamas: The first week I was working from home, I spent all my time in my PJs. I didn’t bother to do my hair or makeup in the morning. What’s the point when you aren’t going to see anyone? For me, after a few days of this, I started to feel sloppy and lazy. I began to feel like I hadn’t accomplished anything all day, since I hadn’t even gotten ready for it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t put on a suit, heels, and a full face of make up to work from my living room; however, taking that time to put my contacts in instead of wearing my glasses, putting on clothes other than pajamas (jeans or even gym clothes) and putting my hair up in an easy top knot makes me feel more myself and ready to take on the day.
- Have a schedule: This is especially important for those who aren’t required to work hours according to a specific company schedule. I wake up at a decent hour (8:30ish), sit and drink my coffee with my fiancé before he goes off to work, and start my day around 9:30/9:45. I eat breakfast, take my lunch break and finish up work at the same times every day. This improves my productivity during the day, keeps me organized and creates a more structured environment.
- Make time to be social: This is especially important if you are new to a big city, like I am. If an opportunity present itself to go to dinner with a new group of ladies, take it. I know it’s easy to stay in and watch Netflix after hard day at work, but make an effort to go out and meet people. Going to work is the best way to meet people post-college, so you have to make up for your lack of socialization during the day somehow. Take that extra step to meet a new friend up for drinks at night, go to that yoga class on the weekend, and of course, if you are New Yorker, try Lumelle.