18: Top Tips for Working From Home
Welcome to episode 18 of Permission to be Messy. I'm your host, JoAnn Krall and today I'm talking about my top tips for working from home.
I personally have been working from home for about six years now, prior to that, I was working from home, when I wasn't with my clients. But. technically 16 years working from home, so I'm pretty good at. establishing that good work from home space. Of course I struggled during the pandemic because I was still working from home, but so is everybody else. And you may be facing this challenge too.
You could Google right now, the top tips working from home and there'll be lots of great resources and advice. to help you maximize your productivity and feel better in your workspace and they're all great. However one person's tip could be another person's nightmare. So you really need to find what works for you.
Where do I begin when deciding a work from home setup? You want to make sure you find a place that you're going to have the least amount of distractions. That's where I'm at struggling right now, because I used to have my own dedicated office. I shared it with my husband, but he was mostly in the office at work.
And now that he works from home, he had to move to the basement. My daughter. Started sharing my office with me. it was a bit of a challenge. and so I ended up moving into the dining room and that's really been a distraction for me. So I'm looking forward to the day I get my office back. I make tweaks and, I try to set boundaries with them. To make sure that I have my time for my quiet.
So the first thing you want to do look around your home. Is it a complete mess and disorganized? does it make you feel awful when you're walking through? Because you don't want to be feeling like that and being drawn towards that while you're working? So if that's the case, you want to start there with the organization process.
If your home is great but your calendar is a disaster. You get too many appointments, you're saying yes to too many things. You may want to start there and simplify. If your calendar and your home are in great shape but your business is suffering and you don't have a lot of good systems and processes you want to start there. So I always say, think about it this way. If you're working from home, your prioritization for organization should start with your home.
And that doesn't mean getting your home completely 100% organized because you don't want to ignore the other areas. But getting to a place where you feel comfortable working in the space. Then you want to work on your mind, your calendar, your activities. And then you want to work on your business in that order.
When you address each of these in order, you'll definitely be more successful working from home.
How do you minimize distractions? When you head into a physical office outside of your home, you don't have to worry about the piles of laundry staring back at you. Dirty dishes in the sink, screaming to be washed and your child's toy room, looking like a tornado came through.
However, when you work from home, your attention is constantly being pulled in other directions. I've heard clients tell me they can all, but here they're toilets calling out to them to be scrubbed while they try to stay focused on writing the report that's due by noon.
And no matter how much you hate scrubbing toilets. It tends to have a stronger lure than whatever it is you're trying to focus on and work.
One way I recommend to help thwart this need to procrastinate on developing your marketing plan and vacuuming every room in your house instead. Is to set up a household schedule for cleaning. The truth is chores and mess can be pretty nonstop. And when the whole family is home, everything builds up much faster.
Having a routine makes this easier on you and leaves the decision-making out of it. It's even better. If the routine in place allows you to tackle these tasks before or after you work. Or on the weekends. The other ways to minimize distractions is to communicate with other members in the home when you need focus, time, quiet time.
And what the noise level needs to be in order for you to be productive. Communication is essential to not get frustrated when your daughter runs the blender during your sales calls. Or podcasts because I usually have dogs barking.
I recommend setting aside if possible, a designated work area. Now. I just said, I'm working at the dining room And This has always been my top tip before the pandemic ever happened. I would always say working at the dining room table can lead to more distractions and sometimes designating a workspace is the ticket to being able to separate the day to day from household stuff.
And here I am working at the dining room table. you know, we can't minimize all the distractions, but we can definitely eliminate some by setting boundaries. So that's what I've been trying to do and hopefully I'm going to have a dedicated office of my own again, soon.
So assuming you have a dedicated office space, what does. What does an organized office really look like?
A few years ago, I was doing a webinar. And the background was my husband's bookshelf in the background, which apparently to someone, it looked messy. he's organized, but there were books and there might've been some piles on his desk. Neat piles. so not everything was put away. And somebody.
Somebody pointed that out to me. And I thought that was interesting because to me, my office is fine the way it is, it doesn't distract me. I don't need everything to look beautiful, but some people do, and there's nothing wrong with that.
We often see before and after photos, that'll show a desk going from a pile of papers and folders to being completely empty and stark. it's funny because I used to actually share these types of photos on my website. And I laughed because I thought, you know what? I could just take a picture of that desk and then I could just sweep it off all onto the floor and it would look organized.
But really, that, isn't what I did. I actually would organize them, but it really didn't tell a full story.
And honestly, For some people, those piles are organized and I am one of those people I tend to like to have piles of paper. it's not that I like to have piles of paper, but I need my stuff out and visible for me to use it. So I won't have everything filed away at the end of the day. My desk will have some piles on it. There'll be neat, but they will be piles.
So I want you to think about what does an organized office look like to you? Is it having a clear desk? Are there no books around, are there a lot of books? Do you have everything that you want working on laid out? 'Because messy doesn't mean disorganized and neat doesn't automatically mean organized.
Really think about what you like and, do what works for you. No matter how you want your office to look, I think we can all simplify our workspace. The two biggest areas that I see. of clutter other than things that just simply don't belong, like your children's toys or, my family was always big on just putting stuff in my inbox or on my desk, because it was like in the path that where they would drop stuff. And Things like that obviously should be removed, but, the two biggest defenders for clutters in an office that I see. It's typically office supplies. We all love office supplies, but we tend to accumulate more than we actually need. So eliminating, those can get rid of a lot of clutter. And then old technology. And it's funny that I'm recording this right now because I was just going through.
A bunch of old iPhones and iPods and an iPad. trying to clear them off. I think I had done this awhile back, but I didn't put a note on them, what I had done with them. So I had to recharge them all. Some of them won't open and I'm like investigating on how to make sure that there's no information on them and all of that, but we tend to hold onto a lot of old tech and broken tech because we don't know how to get rid of it.
Our town just had a recycling day, which was wonderful. I was able to get rid of some technology and old printer. but sometimes Best Buy will take those back as well. Just eliminating those two categories can make a huge dent in your office.
The last thing we'll talk about is keeping in a rhythm and a routine that works for you. During the pandemic, the big joke was that everybody wore nice shirts and tops and then pajamas on the bottom because no one could see them from the waist down. and if that makes you feel productive, I guess that's okay. But I honestly think that creating that boundary of getting dressed.
Whatever that means to you, because I'll be the first to raise my hand that I wear leggings and t-shirts, and that's what I feel comfortable in. That's what I always worked in when I worked with people in person cause I had to be comfortable. but even now that's what I work in. obviously if I'm going out into the world to a networking thing, that's not what I'm going to wear, but it's okay for me at home.
And I am changing out of my pajamas. So it's not like I'm working in my pajamas all day, even though I look comfy. And having a simple morning routine, mine is so simple. It's just, breakfast and coffee. got to get back to walking, but he's usually walking. and then changing into whatever I'm going to work for the day and then sitting at my desk.
It's all about creating what works for you. Take some time to map out your ideal day when you're working and when you're off and every day may not be the same. my Mondays are admin days. My Tuesdays, I work with clients. My Wednesday's, It varies whether I have a webinar going on Thursday, I work with clients Friday is my another admin day, or sometimes it's my day off.
But knowing a structure of what your work is going to be will definitely help
When we work from home, it can feel like time is more loose and freeform and a huge piece of staying on track and productive comes from choosing how you spend your time and putting a plan in place to do so.
So minimize those distractions. Find a place in your home. And one thing I'll mention too, is there are some people that need to work from their bedroom because that's their only option.
And I think creating a boundary is really good for that. So if you have to work in your bedroom, Sometimes just removing the work from the space at the end can help or at least neatening it up and tucking it away in some spot.
Just having a dedicated place to put your stuff away at the end of the day can make a huge difference, especially if you ha, if you are moving, say you're moving from your bedroom to the couch, to the dining room, just having that dedicated spot, whether it's a bookcase. Or like a little rolling cart or something to pack your office away can really make a huge difference.
I hope this helps. So again,it's thinking about your space, making sure that it feels good. thinking about what an ideal workspace looks like for you. Simplifying that space, making sure that you've only got stuff that is applies to your work so that you're eliminating distractions. And again, eliminating distractions.
from housework or, other members in the house, having conversations with them and keeping that rhythm and routine.
And I personally have said to myself over and over, I need to invest in a pair of noise, canceling headphones over the ear so that my family members can see if I have those on it means don't interrupt me. Don't talk to me.
And I would love to hear from you. What tips and tricks have you learned that have helped you maximize your work from home situation? And maybe where do you struggle and where do you need help? Send me a message. My contact information is always in the show notes. And, my, my ask today is if you've listened to any of the episodes and learned anything and enjoyed anything, I would love if you could leave me a review.
if you listen on Apple, that would be the best place, but anywhere that you're listening to this, I would love if you could leave me a rating and a review And definitely let me know if there are any topics that you'd like me to talk about, whether it's something new or any of the episodes that I've done before. If there's something that you want me to go deeper on, I am happy to do that. I will be having guests soon. I'm making a plan for that. And as always, I'm wishing you much productivity.
Peace prosperity and the permission to be messy. Thanks for listening.