I've never been much of an office person. Even when I was working in an office setting, I would ask my boss if I could bring my laptop to the office pantry or to a Starbucks nearby. Working at an office desk the whole day just isn't for me.
Now that I'm back to working from home, I've resolved to kick some bad habits (sleeping and waking up late) and establish a more "professional" and efficient routine.
Here are some of the things I do to keep my work at home interesting, creative, organized and efficient:
1. Wake up at a set time everyday. I am not good at this yet. I have a 10-year old in me that loves to stay up as late as can be, just because she can. This makes me wake up so late too. But I'm instilling some discipline in that 10-year old and I'm trying to be in bed by 11pm. Even if I'm still reading a book by that time, at least I'm in bed and can doze off sooner than if I were in front of the TV watching some nonsense like World Poker Tour. Haha.
2. Have breakfast. No need to explain why. Enough has been written about the wisdom of not skipping that meal. In our household, we like to eat some fruit maybe 20 to 30 minutes before the main meal. This helps prep your tummy for the whole day's work.
3. Have a list of things you need to do. I have lists everywhere. On post-its, in my phone, in my pda. But I have a calendar on my computer where I keep a tally of the things that I need to do for the day/week/month. It helps me prioritize and also helps in de-cluttering my brain before I go to bed. Without lists, I'd be up all night anxious about the things that need to be done and worrying I will forget some of them.
4. Dress up for work. This one is something I really find so important. It just sets the tone for the entire day. I don't mean dressing up in a suit and heels. For me it's just taking the time to have a nice shower and wearing something that sets my mind on work and not on sleep. Haha. Sometimes I wear shorts and a tee. On other days when I need to feel more creative, I wear a cute skirt and a tank. I try to be green so I instead of turnig the a/c on, I use a fan. So dressing cool is important. I like to think of my work-at-home outfits as costumes. Depends really on my mood and what I want done that day.
5. Have a work area that you love. And work tools that you enjoy. I have a huge table that I had made three years ago. It's supposed to accommodate large pieces of fabric for when I need to cut stuff. Right now though it's filled to the brim with notebooks, paper and various containers full of pencils and pens. But I love my table and I love all the things I have on it. And it never fails to put me in a happy work mode. :)
6. Have a routine. I hate routine but I'm learning that having even just a very simple one is a big help in making my work day efficient. And when I'm efficient, I get my work done faster and earlier. So I can have time to do other things I like. A routine helps you prioritize things too and helps you not get sidetracked by timewasters like Facebook. Haha. :)
My routine if you'd like to know: upon waking up, I grab some fruit and eat that while reading a magazine or newspaper (to get the mind in a creative mode). Ideally, this would also be a perfect time to read God's word and pray. Sets things in the right perspective. :)
I then have my breakfast. Before I shower I open my mail just to see what needs to be answered, etc. I also open my calendar to check my things to do. Note that I just scan these things. No answering mails yet. While I shower, I think of my to-do list and determine what I'll do first.
After the shower I get to answering email, confirming orders, checking payments, etc. After doing those things, the rest of the day is ideally spent thinking of new designs, making graphics for announcements, updating inventory and dealing with home concerns too.
I check my mail maybe thrice a day. The next check is usually after lunch then in the evening before dinner. Which leads me to my last tip.
7. Log off. From Facebook. From yahoo or gmail. From the internet. I also put my phone on silent mode. I find that if I'm logged on the whole day, I won't get a lot of other stuff done (like designing new stuff, getting ideas from magazines, etc). How easy it is to succumb to checking what people are up to on Facebook if I'm on the computer the whole day. How easy to just browse fashion sites and drool. It's good for the soul and for the mind if we don't spend the whole day online.
I hope the routine makes sense. I'm also trying to improve on things. But right now, this routine works for me. :)
Hope these tips help you, if you're new at working from home or if you're thinking of shifting. Let me know what you think!