The concept of working from home has become extremely popular over the past few years. *But now in these challenging times of the COVID-19 virus, when so many more people have lost their jobs, are being forced to work from home, when they wouldn’t normally, the world is shifting.
And for artists, working from home is probably the dream come true.
But it can also come with a huge list of problems: Distraction, interruption and of course the possibility for true procrastination to set in.
I’ve personally done it all. I’ve been employed and worked there, worked from my home, worked from my home studio in the garden, taken a nearby office that I worked from, and ultimately became a Digital Nomad; working from cafes, hotel rooms and anywhere I could set up my laptop.
Now I’ve come back full circle and here in Australia, I work from home. But I’ve had to put in some boundaries and establish some rules, for myself AND those around me…
Here are some of my lessons learned and habits adopted.
*This is an updated version of a previous blog I wrote a couple of years ago.
Here are my 20 Hot Tips For Working From Home:
1. Morning Routine – Allocate time before you rush into things to work out what you want to achieve in your day. Do some visioning, planning out and even meditate and centre yourself before you start into things. This routine can also include your cuppa and a snack etc. I also love to take a walk before I start the day.
2. Plan-Plan-Plan – Love it or hate it, planning is the key to success, as well as your route to sanity. There is no easier way to lose a day, than when you are ‘working from home’. We have plenty of blogs, videos and content to help you with all areas of planning.
3. House Work – Work out with your family when household chores will get done. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you are able to do the cleaning, hang out the washing etc. Be clear with what you are doing and delegate this out to others.
4. Schedule regular ‘time out’ – For me, this can be as simple as going outside and taking a breath of fresh air (head out of the window etc). If you haven’t had ‘that walk’ then break the day up and do the walk after completing a big task.
5. Do whatever you need to do to transition into work mode – This might sound strange, but when you blur home and work/ business, you can easily never really switch off, which can put pressure on your relationships and also your health long-term. Here’s a funny ritual that really works: Go out of the back door and come in through the front. Be fully mindful when you walk into your Studio Space and get your head out of home life and into your art business.
6. Try and have a studio/office/room/shed/etc that you can lock – Just from privacy or practical standpoint, this is great. Or even if it doesn’t lock, that you have somewhere separate from everything else is important. If you don’t, then make sure you can easily pack things away at the end of your day. Keep the energy separate., so you can 100% present with your family and also 100% present with your creativity and art business.
7. Learn to say NO – Set boundaries and stick to them! This is so important, I can’t tell you how many hours I lost when I first started out, to random ‘coffee’s, calls and other interruptions. Saying ‘No’ is very empowering and usually, once you’ve established your boundaries, others will know. Ask for quiet if you are not somewhere separate and be clear when you’ve finished for the day.
8. Don’t answer personal calls on the phone – Start the way you mean to go on and set boundaries here too, otherwise your friends will think nothing of ringing in the middle of the day and pouring out their woes. Unless it’s urgent, you can call people back, catch-up outside of your chosen hours etc…
9. Give yourself a lunch-break and enjoy it! You’ve earned it, so no guilt, please. Take a good break here, and ideally make fresh healthy food, sit somewhere lovely to eat it and don’t take the emails or Social Media with you!
10. Chunk your day into 90 min or 2 hours slots – If you do all the business and marketing stuff in your art business, then doing tasks in short blocks can dramatically help with your time management and productivity. Remember, the sooner you have these tasks done, the faster you can get back to your artwork.
11. Drink plenty of water – The hours can easily slip by and dehydration can set in, mixed with caffeine, this will soon cause headaches & lack of concentration. Not what you really want, so fill a recycled 2-litre water bottle, pop it right in front of you and keep drinking every 30 minutes.
12. Have healthy snacks to keep your energy up – Sometimes working from home can also be a temptation to snack on biscuits, chocolate and anything else handy. So keep in a series of a healthy snack, like nuts and fruit or veggie-sticks to avoid that sugar craving.
13. Give yourself incentives – Reward yourself for finishing specific tasks – I find this works really well. Be tough when you don’t complete it though…☺ If you start your day clear with that Morning Routine, then this should be easy to do.
14. Network regularly – Here you want to make sure you don’t drift away in total isolation…Get out to local business networking meetings (currently held online) and meet like-minded people, build your connections and learn new things.
15. Give yourself 2 hours a week for Personal Development – This can help in every area of your life, but especially how you grow your art business. As you are now responsible for how you spend your days, make sure you leave time for growth. Remember that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you always got!!
16. Laugh whenever you can – Sounds bizarre I know, but laughter has been proven as such a great tonic. So watch a funny YouTube clip and have a ‘belly’ laugh – you will feel fantastic! If you find a good video, send it on to your friends as they will also benefit from a good laugh.
17. Don’t get stale – Be happy to learn from others. Re-fresh you’re routine regularly. Change something, however small, just to keep things fresh.
18. Make a vision board/goals list – Plan out where will you be in 6 months, one year, three years from now, and make some goals. Write them out and put up around you. Create a vision board and put this up too. This serves as massive motivation when times are tough.
19. How to switch off at the end of the day – Do whatever you need to do to fully switch off. Change your clothes, go for that walk if you haven’t already. Clear up, close up or lock your studio or working space if you can. I like to leave a list of everything I need to remember or do for the next day. Check-in with your morning goal and focus on what you did really well or achieved. Then make sure you have taken everything out of your head and put it down into an easy system, whether that’s on your laptop or in a notebook.
20. Regularly remind yourself – how lucky you are to have created a life doing what you love. You might be stuck at home completely right now, but in time you’ll be free again and working from home really can be the ultimate lifestyle.
I hope you’ve found these top tips for working from home useful and something that will help you reclaim some time and even improve your productivity. Stay safe and well.