My home has been my office for seven years now.
I’ve created a lot in the corner of my living room that has been sectioned off as my work space. Two books. A blog. A website. A consultancy. Expertise in digital strategy, social media and content marketing. An online and on demand course for improving digital profiles and building personal brands.
All evidence it is indeed possible to work and live under the same roof.
I’ve also learned that it requires structure and self-imposed rules.
These are my five favorites.
#1. Use a timer
Yes – I am all about my kitchen timer to keep me focused on a project and section off my day. I wrote a whole book about it. But while working on my personal branding course, I discovered yet another reason to use one when you’re working from home and deeply involved in a project on deadline.
It reminds you to stand up and get away from the desk.
Sitting too long, I have discovered, can lead to swollen ankles. Of course, so can standing up for too long – as when I teach a three hour class at NYU – but so it goes.
#2. Try not to work in your pajamas past 9AM.
It sounds like a good thing. And God knows when it is a rainy, cold and/or snowy and bleak day with no outside appointments, it will sound like a brilliant idea and you are likely to succumb to the temptation and not listen to this advice.
But I will tell you anyway – getting dressed does set the tone for the day.
It makes a statement if only to you and the Universe that you are serious about working – even if getting dressed only means changing out of your pajamas and putting on yoga pants.
#3. Exercise daily.
My advice is the earlier the better. When in the corporate world I would get up at 5AM to make sure I got my exercise in before the day started. I knew if I waited until lunchtime or after work, chances are it would not happen and when given the choice at the end of the day, a glass of wine would always win over the gym.
I experimented with alternate times when I left. It seemed a bit silly to get up so early when my commute time had now dwindled to the three minutes it took me to get from my bed to the living room. I even went through a phase where I thought exercising as a lunch time break was a good idea. I was wrong. So wrong. I discovered If I didn’t exercise early – I probably wouldn’t.
Exercise is critical for sanity and health. Even more so when your home is your office. Or is it your office is your home?
#4. Get out of the house.
Some days this is harder than others. I have been known to intentionally not keep coffee in the house so I am forced to leave it.
It really becomes a challenge when it’s raining sideways or you’re so focused on the project you’re working on and you don’t want to waste any time with something so frivolous as fresh air. But trust me, you need it! Lack of exposure to sunlight leads to Vitamin D deficiency. Not to mention the sanity factor!
#5. Schedule in FUN.
If you’re like me when you’re into a project and on deadline – self-imposed or otherwise – you’re harder on yourself than any boss you have ever worked for – anywhere. And trust me – I’ve worked for some All-Stars.
But you MUST include fun in your day. And I mean schedule it in as you would any other appointment.
People who have never worked from home imagine that fun is a given and much more readily accessible than when you are beholden to a corporate power. In one respect – they are right. I really love what I do, so I am always having fun. Like right now. Writing this blog is fun.
But the fun apart from my work – the real “play” time – if I am not consciously scheduling that on my calendar – it just doesn’t happen. And if it doesn’t happen, the work is never as good or as easy as when I do.