At first, working from home might seem like a dream – getting to lay around in your comfy clothes and avoid the dreaded commute into the office.
But then you are stuck trying to balance both your professional and personal life all at once before you realize the lines are blurred and you can barely separate the two.
From household chores to needy children, to conference calls and deadlines, it can be quite the challenge to figure out how to work from home without falling into common traps.
Not sure where to start?
Here are a few mistakes many people make when they first start working from home and here’s how you can avoid them.
Not Getting Ready For The Day
Yes – it can seem tempting to lounge around in your PJs with dirty hair and answer emails from your bed (with Netflix on in the background).
But don’t do it!
Being productive truly is a mindset and it is influenced by how you present yourself.
You’re not going to feel confident and ready to face the day in a tomato-stained shirt and sweats.
No, you don’t have to dress up in a suit or walk around your house in high heels…
… but you should at least shower and get dressed.
You can still sport something comfortable(like black leggings and a comfy blouse), and you’ll feel better being put together for the day – which will then transfer into your work.
And when Zoom conference calls or other meetings take place – you’ll be ready to go.
Don’t Sleep In Until Noon
Working from home requires strong discipline.
No, you don’t have to “clock in” at work, and your boss has no idea what time you wake up.
Regardless if you are a night owl, the business world operates on a 9am-5pm schedule.
If you don’t even wake up until noon, by the time you get dressed, eat something, and check your emails – you’ve wasted the entire day.
The good news is because you are working from home you can help set your own schedule.
Create a block schedule that works for you – allowing breaks for lunch or other things you need to get done.
Block schedules give you allocated amounts of time for everything so you can manage your time well.
But be careful not to incorporate too many personal things into your workday – what could start out as “just cleaning out the fridge” could turn into a 2-3 hour kitchen cleaning/organizational spree – which then means you will have to work later in the day to get everything done.
If you can truly manage balancing personal and professional tasks throughout the day – a block schedule is a must – and stick to it!
Not Having The Proper Tools
Think about all the things you’ll need to get your workstation set up.
Do you need a printer? Scanner? Access to a work server?
Certain programs on your computer? A camera for your computer?
You might be a tech-guru and have all of this set up, or you might be overwhelmed at where to start.
If you are a freelancer – you’re on your own to get what you need, but if you work for a business chances are they’ll help make sure you are fully prepared to work from home for the foreseeable future.
The worst thing you can do is try and do your job and realize you aren’t prepared.
Evaluate And Reassess
Once you get in the rhythm of working from home, you’ll learn to love it!
It’s freeing to be able to manage your own schedule, and have the freedom to do simple things like go to your fridge and whip up a healthy lunch, or have access to things at your home you might need.
But it does take discipline – if you don’t have a schedule or plan and you allow yourself to constantly be interrupted throughout the day, you’ll find you aren’t getting anything done.
As always, reassess and find a schedule that works best for you.
Whether that’s scheduling certain admin tasks for a certain day or declaring Monday a “no meeting day” – adapt and reassess.
And don’t forget to have fun!
So many people would love the ability to work from home – and you’re doing it!
(h/t Better Change Project)