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Working from home, or at least the option to do so, is one of the perceived perks when you’re self-employed or have the ability to work remotely.
Without a doubt, the opportunity to work from home is amazing, but early on in my freelance career, I realized working from home is not necessarily all it’s cooked up to be.
While I usually work from coffee shops or shared workspaces, here are a few “hacks” I’ve developed to efficiently and effectively work from home.
Make your bed
When you make your bed in the morning, you put yourself in the mindset of starting the day productively with a simple, yet all-too-often ignored task.
Instead of quickly throwing your bedding together, pay attention to the details, like smoothing out ripples in your sheets. By focusing on attention to detail right when you wake up, you’ll be more focused throughout the day.
Stay away from your phone first thing in the morning
This might sound counter-intuitive, but I sleep with my phone on airplane mode every night, so I don’t wake up to tons of notifications.
When I check my phone first thing in the morning, it bogs down my mind and slows me down as I get into the day. Once my morning routine concludes (more on that below), I turn airplane mode off and go through my emails, text messages and social media notifications.
I haven’t had a single issue with missing an important phone call, email or text message once I started doing this more than a year-and-a-half ago.
Go through your morning routine
I’m not going to sit here and tell you there’s a definitive morning routine that will make you more efficient, productive and successful. What works for me may or may not work for you. However, I know this much: A morning routine stimulates our minds when our minds are the least bit stimulated.
My morning routine is as follows: wake up, brush my teeth, shower, do a full-body stretch for 10 minutes, check my phone, and then prepare and eat breakfast. (I also do this routine on the weekends or when I’m traveling, even if it’s not a work day, because maintaining habits is all about consistency and repetition.)
Get dressed as if you’re going to an office
We like to joke about how fun it is to work in our pajamas, or to hop on a Skype call without wearing pants — but the reality is that our brains associate certain clothes (or lack thereof) with certain actions.
When you wear pajamas, your brain prepares for sleep. When you wear business casual clothes, for instance, your brain will enable you to be more productive.
Eat a big breakfast
Most people who work from an office usually grab a snack for breakfast and go, which leaves them hungry mid-morning. By 10:30 or 11 a.m., they’re thinking more about lunchtime than their work at hand.
Take advantage of the flexibility working from home provides by eating a breakfast that will hold you over for more than a few hours.
Have a dedicated workspace
One of the other popular perceptions about freelancing is that you never need to leave your bed. Unless you’re sick, I recommend getting as far away from it as possible.
In fact, stay away from any area that is used outside of work, such as your bed, kitchen table and couch.
Get out of the house at least once a day.
Staying home all day can lead to burnout and malaise.
That’s why I make it a point to do something outside of the house whenever I’m working for home — whether it’s coaching basketball, going to the gym or meeting someone for lunch, to name a few examples.