Whether you are a self employed creative or simply work from home, this ones for you!
Let’s face it, working from home definitely has it’s perks but there are also a lot of distractions that can come with this - one big distraction being, yourself! When you are responsible and accountable for your own workload and productivity - you can often find yourself doing a million things at once and then forgetting the task at hand. You could be struggling to focus by yourself - perhaps you’ve got FOMO because the weather is fabulous outside, or you’re just annoyed that it’s Monday again. I get it! 

Overtime, I have created certain habits that keep me on track while working for myself, whether these tips are big or small, relevant or irrelevant to you, I hope that you can take away something from this and be on your way to a more efficient version of yourself:

1. You’ll need to get dressed for that one.

I know it may seem like an advantage to not necessarily “have to” get out of your pjs when you work from home, but trust me, you will feel better if you do. Get up, shower, do your morning routine, fix your hair and wear something nice but still comfortable for the day. You don’t need to be “corporate in the lounge room“, but dress so that you feel positive and ready for a day’s work. Remember it’s all about separating your life from work regardless if you’re at home. It’s easy to feel like you’ve merged into one and you don’t want to feel like you just change from your “day pj’s” to your “night pj’s” everyday. 

2. Clean space, clean mind.

In my opinion, your space is the biggest reflection of your mind. If you are someone that can’t concentrate even cause there’s dishes in the sink, you’re not alone. Creating your ideal work space is one of the most vital parts of working from home. After all you spend a lot of time there, so ensure that you are as comfortable as possible in order to remain productive. What helps majorly is having a minimalistic desk space, few decorative items/trinkets, drawers for your belongings and a chair that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re going to need to see the chiropractor later. 
Good desk, good storage space, good chair, good times!

TIP: Clean your desk at the end of everyday so that you come back the next day with a clear mind.

3. To do lists, obv.

Ok this is an obvious one, but what I am really referring to is figuring out what time of the day you work best and when you are the most mentally switched on. Then, set yourself a Priority To Do list everyday. Name your three most urgent tasks of the day and add them to your priority list, followed by your second most important tasks of the day. Eg. I am the most productive and efficient in the morning, so I will work on the 3 largest and most urgent tasks for the day, first thing.

4. Schedule your snacks. 

When I used to have a full time job, “I need a snack” or “let me make my 3rd coffee” was just an excuse to leave the desk and take a breather. If you still do this at home and you feel like you need a break every so often, that’s fine, but perhaps start to actually schedule them into your day so that you work in time blocks. Eg. you could set your daily tasks and allow yourself a 5-10 minute break every 2 hours or once the task is complete, rather than just leaving your desk at anytime and prolonging your workload. This prevents distraction and also allows you to be mindful of taking breaks when necessary on days where you are absolutely glued to the screen. 

5. Time yourself.

If you find that you are working overtime or you have those days where you think “that should not have taken THAT long to complete”, here’s a simple tip. Like me, you might even have a little PTSD from your previous full-time job years ago, where you worked under immense pressure every single day. It definitely never has to be like that again, but the best way to keep track and remain on task is to time yourself. Lately I have been using an app called Flow where I set the allocated time and the timer begins to countdown on my computer’s toolbar. Not only is it important to keep track of your time from a project point of view, but it teaches you to complete tasks in an appropriate timeframe and improve your efficiency. The goal is less time, more money. 

6. Don’t do the laundry.

Working from home doesn’t include also doing housework... you wouldn’t do this on your break if you were at a full time job so don’t waste precious time doing it now. For some, this may be unavoidable but try to prevent yourself from doing anything else other than your work during your work hours. This is your time. If you’ve come away from having that 9-5 office lifestyle, although it is an advantage, it’s easy to loose track of what you are doing at home. Allocate yourself solid working hours for the day and save the washing for later.

7. Don’t answer emails after 5pm.

No, it’s not unprofessional of you and don’t feel guilty. Your office may be at home, but that shouldn’t make you accessible to your clients 24/7. If you want to stay sane and under control, you will need to seperate work from home, regardless if you are still at home. After all you do have a life, so ensure you create a healthy balance. Treat it as a normal day, clock on, clock off and don’t revisit your work after hours. In the same way that you schedule work tasks, focus on yourself and give yourself as much “me” time as possible each day.

- Sophia Kouts, Founder of Eskae Creative

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