Working from Home

Clipboard Calendar by buttercupink

Well, the new shop opened with a bang last week.  I have quite a few orders which are keeping me nice and busy. With all the extra work, I’ve been looking for ways to be more organized and structured. Any of you who have a studio or office in (or near) your home know exactly what I mean.  Here are a few things I’ve found to help:

  • Create Office Hours ::  Set a timeframe for each day that you’re going to spend in the office.  By doing this, you’ll get more work done inside you’re that scheduled period, leaving you more time for family and friends later.  This also helps me to manage my day as a whole.  I treat my “office hours” like I would in a normal job.  I’m not going to watch TV or run to the grocery store while working a 9-5 corporate gig, so I don’t do it in my home based office.
  • Microschedule ::  For me, scheduling my office time inside of my daily schedule is helpful as well.  If I have 5 hours of office time, I start the day by looking at my to do list and triaging what absolutely has to get done that day, what really should get done, and what could wait until tomorrow if need be.  Sometimes I also set time limits on projects.  I could spend the whole 5 hours on a first draft of a project, but maybe it’s better for me to work 1 hour on that then move on to something else.  Equally important however, is knowing yourself and how you work.  If you get on a roll with a project, maybe it is more time effective to spending longer on it now.  Just be honest with yourself when deciding so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by a time crunch later on.
  • List-O-Mana ::  I keep a day planner next to my desk and write to do items into the appropriate days.  This way when I’m in the middle of a project and think “hey, I need to be sure to send that to print on Friday” I can jot it down in the day planner and get back to work with limited interruption.  At the end of each day I write in anything I need to accomplish the following day, which lets me start the next day by feeling organized and under control.
  • Limit Distractions ::  The TV, the kids, that laundry pile over there, Facebook.  When you work from home, it’s so easy to get sucked into all of those distractions around the house.  Create a time for each day where you’re going to enjoy some of these distractions.  I enjoy my coffee each morning with my husband.  We also block out 30-40 minutes for lunch where we’ll catch up on a TV episode on the DVR.  This gives me little breaks that re-energize and get me ready to stare at the computer for another 4-5 hours.
  • Tidy Up ::  Remember how your mom always said you’d feel better when you cleaned your room?  The same principle goes towards your office or studio.  It you spend 10 minutes at the end of every day to tidy up, you won’t have that daunting feeling when you walk back in the next morning.

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