Ah, welcome back for the second part of the organization series I’m sharing. Here is a link for part 1, The SECRETS I Use to Stay Organized Consistently. I hope this post will be helpful for those of you who work from home, AND for those of you who might not work from home, but are still wanting to find that work-life balance and organization flow.
As you all know, I work from home as a health coach working with women from all around the globe showing them how to make peace with food, ditch diets for GOOD, and find their natural weight (my services). I love that it allows me to create my own schedule and do what I love at the same time. If you work from home, you know it can be easy to become disorganized when you do not have an actual office to go to, or feel like your work and personal life are too blended. Thankfully, I have figured out how to avoid this, and thought I would share my tips with you all.
The single most important action that you can do each day is what I call “close up shop”. That is, designate a time each day to stop doing all work, and take physical actions to signal that it is time to be finished. This includes shutting down the computer, cleaning up your desk, placing files back in their place, and closing the door behind you. You want to leave your workspace at the end of each day looking like it would if you worked from an actual office building. Having this designated time to be finished each day will help you be more productive during the hours you do work, and have more time for your personal life.
Even though I work from home, I have made myself a set schedule that I stick to in order to make the most of my days. An awesome tip someone gave me when I was trying to figure out how many hours to work each day is this: look at how long your colleagues in your field are working and match those hours. I thought that tip was so helpful, and it allowed me to figure out how much I should be working each day.
What has worked best for me is having two days that are less structured in terms of set hours, and three days with designated hours to talk with my awesome clients. I think having a few unstructured days is essential for anyone who works with clients to ensure you do not get burned out or behind in other areas of your job.
So, here is a quick look at my schedule for the week:
- Monday: behind the scenes work for the blog and Finally Free, talk with the people I work with, set up for the week, write out my to-do’s, etc.
- Tuesday-Thursday: work with clients
- Friday: behind the scenes work, wrap-up for the week, review to-do lists.
- Saturday-Sunday: OFF – zero email, laptop, or work related phone calls
I have made it a habit to not jump straight into work when I get up in the morning. I cherish my morning time, and feel so much more productive throughout the day if I take the first 2-3 hours after waking up to enjoy non-work activities, such as working out, quiet time, talking with Marco, etc. This sets my whole tone for the day and makes me feel like I can tackle anything.
After having those hours of downtime, I actually get dressed for work. I know some of you MIGHT be thinking, “Paige, if you work from home, why not just stay in your PJ’s?”. Haha, wouldn’t that be nice! However, trust me on this one. When you actually take the time to get dressed and “ready” for work, even at home, you automatically become more productive and in the zone. It makes such a difference! Try it for a couple of days and let me know what you think.
When I get into my office, I make a to-do list, look at my schedule for the day, and note if I have any deadlines that I need to tackle first. Throughout the day, I only check my email 1-3 times total. This allows me to designate a time to respond quickly to others, yet keeps me from feeling attached to my email. If I constantly checked my email, I would not be as productive in my other work!
I also try to keep my desk clutter free, throwing away any unneeded papers as I go or putting away things after I am finished with them. The cleaner you keep your area throughout your workday, the easier it will be to close up shop.
Finally, I take breaks when I am feeling burnt out or tired/unfocused, such as going for a walk outside, grabbing coffee with a friend, or just preparing a yummy lunch. The break can be anything enjoyable to simply get out of the office and take a quick breather to rekindle your motivation and productivity.
So there you have it; my tips for staying organized and productive working from home. I know everyone has their own method of organization and how they work best, so share with us! If you work from home, what are your tips for staying organized and productive? If you are starting to work from home, I’d love to answer any other questions you may have!