Working from home definitely has its share of pros and cons. While the appeal of sitting at home (away from the snow and that awful polar vortex) in the winter time, with your entire kitchen available for snacks at any given time (plus… yoga pants), it can sometimes be difficult to stay focused, especially when your Netflix subscription and bad daytime TV are calling your name. But, since we freelance writers have working from home (or Starbucks, etc.) down to a science, we’ve got some tips to help you stay focused in your home office.
Designate a space
It may seem like the couch is the best place to spend the day working, but you’re bound to get distracted at some point (unless you’re one of those freaky few who have “self control” or whatever). Whether it’s a corner of your kitchen counter that you clear off, or you actually have an office space that you can use, find a space that you can make your own that will keep you focused and inspired. Plus, when you’re done working for the day, the rest of your home will still feel like a retreat and not like you’re constantly stuck at work or in an office.
Set a schedule or routine and stick to it
You may think that by working from home you can forego the schedule that you may have had when you worked in an office, but having a routine can be very helpful. When you get up, get ready for “work” as you normally would (though maybe swapping your dress pants for something more comfortable), make breakfast, have your coffee—whatever you do—and then get right to work. Work as you would until lunch, have a break, and then get back to it. If your schedule allows you to be a bit more flexible and you don’t have to work all day long, go for it, but still make sure you get into the mindset of what is “work time” and what is "chill time."
Dress the part
While I do advocate being as comfortable as possible when you work from home, make sure you do get dressed in the morning. Working in your jammies all day long with a messy bun is super appealing and great once in a while, but getting yourself in the mindset to actually get work done is too. You can still “get ready” in the morning by doing your makeup and changing your clothes (leggings + a cozy sweater = this freelance writer’s work-from-home uniform) and still be comfortable throughout the day.
Enjoy the perks of your environment
The best part of working from home? Being at home. Taking breaks to watch last night’s episode of The Mindy Project is perfectly okay, as is taking a long lunch with one of your friends who works up the road or going to a midday yoga class. Making your own schedule can actually make you a better worker, because your creativity and energy will be a lot higher—whether it's first thing in the morning or late at night—so take advantage of it. By making the best of your work-from-home situation, you’ll feel more refreshed and when you do sit down to get typing, you’ll feel more focused, relaxed and ready to go.