This is a topic that I feel like gets brought up a lot in conversations. People always say "how do you work from home- I could never do that!" I feel like it definitely requires a balance, and that it's not for everyone. But if you're already in that boat- here are some tips I've learned to help make sure your brain doesn't explode!!!
fun fact: I have terrible back problems and when I get in a groove while I’m working on my computer, I might not change positions for hours (which is so painful for me.) Listening to my record player helps because every time one side ends it reminds me to stand up and move and go flip to the new side 😬 #truelife
Surround yourself with what inspires you
I am such a materialistic person haha. As a creative, I NEED to have beautiful things around me that inspire me to get my creative juices flowing. I would not be able to work from home if it wasn't decorated the way that makes me most inspired. I like to have artwork, colorful decorations, inspirational books, and my records nearby to kick me into creation mode. Even when I used to work full time in an office I had my cubicle decorated to fit my personality and generate the most creative side of me. The same can be said if you have a home office so if you are looking to get perked up while working from home, give your workspace a little makeover! It could be as simple as buying new stationary, putting a potted plant on your desk, or changing your phone background. Maybe even get dressed for the day even if you're going to be home the whole time. I find that as shallow as it sounds, these things really make a HUGE difference in my productivity!
Make some freelance besties
If you are alone all day every single day, you're definitely going to go crazy. Even if you're an introvert, you need to have social interaction! I have some freelance besties that I like to call to get lunch or coffee with here and there. They might even come over and bring their laptops so we can edit in the same room. Finding people in the same boat as you will help give you an accountability partner, as well as a listener when it comes time to rant about your problems and struggles.
Determine when you're most productive & establish a routine
This is easier said than done, and I am definitely NOT the poster child for having an organized and structured routine. However, I know that when I get up in the morning and have coffee, watch the news, and eat breakfast, I start my day clearheaded and more productive than ever. I make sure I've posted to the social media accounts I run by 10AM, and sit down to check some emails to start my day. Sometimes I'll accomplish more within the first 2 hours that I'm awake than I will the entire rest of the day! If I disrupt this routine, everything can get out of whack so I try really hard to keep my mornings sacred and operate during those times as much as possible. I like to try to be done with everything by 4PM or so, that way I can hang out with my boyfriend when he gets off of work and unwind. This isn't always possible since I photograph a lot of events, so sometimes I have to remind myself that if I'm working in the evening that day I'm allowed to chill until then.
You might be most productive after dark or after sleeping in. Everyone is different! Figure out when you feel like you're on a roll and try to remember to keep that timeframe free from appointments if you can help it.
Don't kick yourself for being distracted
It's going to happen...you work from home. I'm still struggling with not feeling guilty when I get up from working to run the dishwasher or start a load of laundry. It is what it is. You can't ignore these things all day while you're home, and honestly this is one of the perks of being able to work from home! I wouldn't have time to cook an hour for Blue Apron if I had a full time job, nor would I be able to keep my house so clean (because I'm always sitting here staring at it so I can stay on top of what needs to be done.) If you want to take an hour to watch Netflix, DO IT! Don't kick yourself. This is the freedom of working from home, so take advantage of it as long as you accomplish what you wanted to get done.
Leave the house!!!
One of the best points of advice I can give for those who work from home ironically is LEAVING YOUR HOUSE! There have been times when I've been extremely productive after locking myself in my house for 3 days and not going outside or leaving the house at all- but as a result, I ended up getting cranky and CRAZY. This is not advised. Although I may have knocked out a lot of stuff during that time, I didn't get ANY outside perspective from others about what I was working on, nor did I get any Vitamin D. I typically thrive on being outside and getting fresh air, so sometimes I have to remind myself to literally go outside and walk around the block. I might put on a podcast in my earphones and walk to the park, or drive to Target and walk around just to get out of the house. Inspiration can take many forms so sometimes you need to head to the grocery store or hit up your favorite store to "get outside of yourself."
Plan client meetings outside of the house, meet a friend for lunch, or just bring your laptop and post up at Starbucks or something. If you have the ability to do your work from a laptop, you really have the flexibility to work from wherever you want. A change of scenery never hurt nobody!
When you stay at home all day especially when you're an artist working on a project or stuck inside your computer, you are pigeonholing yourself so much and cutting off other potential sources for inspiration. Pro tip: this is also a great way for you to build up a stockpile of content for social media as well. As a photographer, there's only so much from within my house I can create content from every day, so an easy way to stockpile a bunch of stuff is to go take a walk and take a bunch of photos that will last you for a while when you're in a pickle and have nothing to post!
I'd love to know what you do to stay sane while working from home! Let me know of any other tips you may have!