Work From Home Tips – How to Set Up Your Day

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With so many people practicing social distancing and self-quarantine right now, it seemed like the perfect time to share some work from home tips with y’all!

When I quit my day job, I thought I was going to be a rock star at working from home. Boy was I wrong! There was no outside force dictating my schedule, no one to be accountable to, and a bevy of ‘shoulds’ running around in my brain. Managing my schedule in a healthy way was tougher than I ever imagined.

After a few months of working out the kinks, I finally came up with a number of things that really made a difference for me. I’m excited to share my work from home tips with those of you who suddenly find yourselves in the position where you’re working from home for an indefinite amount of time. My work from home tips are set up to support your overall well being during this uncertain time. They’re organized into sections – before, during, and after the work day.

My hope is that these work from home tips will help you feel confident in how you’re set up so you can actually enjoy this aspect of something that’s overall a bummer and definitely an interruption.

To set up your own work at home experience and stay super organized, download a worksheet with my work from home tips from this blog post here.

Before

  • Make four lists:
  1. Things you enjoy from your current routine
  2. Things you don’t enjoy about your current routine
  3. Things that have the potential to cause stress, distraction, feel like you’re failing – keep these things in mind so you easily recognize them when they pop up
  4. Things that will create a feeling of flow, success, enjoyment – infuse these things into your daily routine (lots of space for that in the tips below…)
  • Set a schedule
    • Include the things you enjoy from your current routine – if you like doing your makeup everyday, keep doing that. If you enjoy listening to your fav podcast on the commute to work, do that while getting ready for the day.
    • Don’t include the things you don’t enjoy from your current routine – this is the perfect time to infuse some joy into your new routine by skipping out on the things that you don’t enjoy but feel you have to do when you’re working outside the home. If you hate doing your hair, throw it up in a top knot and forget about it!
    • Limit distractions:
      • Set a specific day for house work, chores, and errands (weekend days preferably)
      • Tell friends and family not to call during work hours
      • Turn off the TV! Or set aside a specific time to watch TV – maybe during lunch – ya wanna have some fun!
      • Tell yourself it’s OK if you don’t give your pet your undivided attention (I couldn’t even get through taking these photos without Milli pawing at my leg the whole time!)

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  • Set up a work space
    • Make it a designated area away from distraction
    • Have fun making it a positive environment (upbeat music, your favorite scent, lots of natural light) – you get to control more of that at home than you do in your regular office!
    • Fill it with things you love, like photos, art, crystals, candles, etc. (all photos are mine!)

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  • Set intentions & rewards
    • At the beginning of this process, set an intention for how you want the next few weeks to go
    • Also set a reward for yourself! Pick something big you can do to celebrate when this thing is over
    • Each day, set intentions for how you want your day to go; this will help you stay focused throughout the day in an environment that can offer many distractions
    • Reward yourself at the end of each day for knocking out your to-do list and staying focused

During

  • Switch it up – this is my favorite tip! There is a freedom that comes from working from home and IMHO, you should take advantage of it!
    • Location – work somewhere other than your desk
      • Work from the patio on warm days
      • Sit on the couch for a couple hours with your laptop
      • Sit at the kitchen table for a bit

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    • Sit/Stand
      • Stand at the kitchen counter for a bit. You don’t have to stay at your desk all day!
      • I ordered one of those exercise balls to sit on when I’m at my desk instead of a desk chair – it’s way more comfortable and fun to bounce on!

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    • Set up an accountability structure by spending an hour or two virtual co-working
      • Ask a few friends to join you on Skype while you each work on your own project
      • Join a virtual co-working community, like this one
  • Fun drinks – I am a master of making fun drinks to hydrate with throughout my work day. It breaks the day up a little and keeps things interesting!
    • spruce up your water with coconut water or aloe juice
    • perfect for the current environment – add an Airborne, Vitamin C, or Nuun tablet
    • flavorful teas or coffees
    • flavored sparkling waters
    • add fresh citrus and/or herbs to your drinks

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  • Take breaks
    • Stretch
    • Have a dance party
    • Take a mid-day walk
    • Text a friend
    • Play with your pet
    • Add something here from the list of things that will help create flow, enjoyment, and/or a feeling of success

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After

When you work in the same space you live, it’s incredibly important to create a healthy boundary for yourself between work and the rest of your life. These ‘after’ tips are designed to help you do just that!

  • At the end of your work day, make a list of what to do tomorrow:
    • This gets all those thoughts out of your mind
    • You can reassure yourself they’ll get taken care of the following day
    • You don’t have to think about them for the rest of the night or be tempted to keep working.

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  • Acknowledge and check in
    • Ask yourself if there’s anything you need to feel complete on your work day. Decide if those things can wait until tomorrow (add them to tomorrow’s list!) or if you need to take an extra 30 minutes to wrap them up today.
    • Acknowledge yourself for all the work you did! This creates a sense of accomplishment and helps you realize you really can wrap up your day.
  • Reward yourself – You’re in a new routine and rewards will create positive reinforcement so you can feel good about keeping it up!
  • Exercise – Working from home naturally creates less time outdoors, walking, etc. and can encourage more of a sedentary lifestyle. Add a workout routine to your schedule so you can avoid weight gain and overall slovenliness.
  • Set aside time for human interaction – phone calls, a walk with a healthy neighbor, face time
  • Hobbies
    • Keep up with hobbies you can do from home like reading, painting, drawing, photography, gardening, cooking, etc.
    • This is the perfect time to try something new! Take a language course online, learn some new recipes, take an online course in something you’re interested in

Artwork above my couch is by Christine Olmstead

Blue light glasses are by Felix Gray


Did this post get you excited to book your own headshots or branding session?! If yes, send me a note and we can chat about what you have in mind: contact me

Hi – I’m Rachel! A wedding, engagements, and headshots photographer in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia. I love taking photos of elegant people who love to laugh, as well as of much in-love couples. If you’re a dog owner, that’s a plus! I’m currently booking 2019 portrait sessions, as well as 2019 and 2020 weddings.

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