More and more of us are choosing to work from home these days, whether as a remote worker, self-employed, or a freelancer of some sort. Although it takes time to adjust, it’s not always going to be as wonderful as you thought it would be. But it can be. With a little planning and discipline, working from home can be fun. Here are a few ways to get you started.
1. Create a workspace that is inspiring and fun, whatever that means to you
Carve out a section of your home specifically for work, whether that be a small office or a corner nook. You can make this area uniquely yours, with what inspires you. It’s important to differentiate this space so that when you are in it, it signals that it’s time to work.
A few suggestions to make your workspace functional as well as fun:
- Limit Clutter. Make sure everything has its place. You can add containers or your own type of organizers, such as small baskets or other items that inspire you. At the end of each workday, straighten up the workspace, placing everything back in its designated space so you can start fresh the next morning.
- Add a dry erase board to write goals, plans, and ideas for the week.
- Consider filling a small section of the wall as your “fame” wall or experience wall. Hang any degrees, awards, or certificates you’re proud of here. Even add mementos of activities outside of work such as that scuba diving certificate and a photo of a big dive at an impressive location. This is about your achievements, whatever those may be. Whenever you’re feeling insecure, take a look at this wall and remind yourself you have what it takes to succeed. Keep adding to this wall as you see fit.
- Strategically place a small speaker or hub for your phone on or near your desk to provide music as you work. Research shows that listening to instrumental music without lyrics can make you more productive.
- You may also want to add a plant, family picture, and other mementos that ground you, and also inspire you.
2. Vary Your Routine
Routine is either seen negatively or positively, depending on your personality and workstyle. Working from home provides more freedom in your day, and grounding yourself with a little routine, say first thing in the morning, will get you into working mode. From there, it can vary by day or by week.
Find ways to ensure that each day is not exactly the same. Perhaps one day, you work on reports or designs. On another day, you handle any financial or legal details. Make another day your contact day to reach out to clients, co-workers, supervisors, and those that inspire you. Mix it up as you see fit. Try different routines to begin with until you find one that works best for you.
Remember, you’re working from home now, so you decide what your hours are and when to take breaks.
3. Schedule a meet-up once a week, whether for lunch or to work together
Working from home can seem isolating at times, and loneliness may occasionally creep up on you. Discipline will get you far; however, social interaction will keep you sane. Phone calls aren’t the same as meeting up face-to-face with friends or co-workers. You will benefit from scheduling time to meet-up outside your home office. This can be for:
- a weekly lunch with a friend, or a small group
- a work meet-up at a coffee shop or other space to work on your respective projects
- a scheduled meet-up for work-from-home, entrepreneurial, or self-employed groups to share ideas, concerns, and motivations.
- a work-out at the gym, or run in the park with a friend or small group
Taking social interaction breaks will help you feel connected to the world by getting out in it, at least for a few hours.
4. Work in a location outside your home once a week
Adding a little variety to your work life, with a change of scenery, can do wonders for your productivity and inspiration. Select one day a week to work at a different location outside your home. Ideas for this include:
- A local library, which usually has quiet rooms or workstations
- A co-working space, which can surround you with like-minded people and spur your creativity
- A coffee shop or café which provides a good environment to work, at least for half a day
- Outdoor workspaces on nice days
5. Plan for an event
One way to add fun to working at home is to always have something to look forward to, such as a conference, seminar, workshop, or another such event that relates to your particular work. These may also include networking events and training. You are only limited by your imagination, so enjoy the process of finding an event to attend. These do not have to be expensive, and can even be written off as a business expense.
Additional ways to add fun to your work-at-home days include getting out in nature for a walk or going to the gym at the time of day you prefer. Make your schedule work for you and your work preferences.
Knowing when you are most productive during the day will help you plan the rest of your day and your week. Continue to tweak your schedule, your home office space, and your meet-ups until you find what works best for you.