When I decided to start my own business, I knew I would have to do it working from home.
I live in London, which isn’t cheap by any stretch, so big city office rent was out of the question for my fledgling enterprise.
I guess for some people, the idea of working from home is great, but for my personality, it has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome as an entrepreneur.
To put it simply, I love working with people. Talking through ideas and problems is key to my process and being surrounded by like-minded professionals keeps me engaged and energized — and we all know you need energy to start a business!
A few months into my new venture, I found myself in the grocery store around 7pm surrounded by my neighbours who were returning home at the end of their workday. In that moment, I saw everything I missed about not working in an office: stylish clothes, smart brief cases and blow-dried hair.
At the same time, I pictured everyone returning home to a work-free environment, without papers strewn everywhere, where they could shut the door on their professional livesand just…relax. In reality, I’m sure they were all exhausted. Weary from standing on a crowded train at rush hour and heading home to a chaotic and messy house with people demanding their attention, not to mention dinner.
The truth of their day probably lies somewhere in between the tedious and the triumphant, but in that moment, I couldn’t deny just how much I missed being a part of the action; heading out the door first thing, grabbing my morning latte, and having a laugh with my colleagues.
I knew I wasn’t going to be getting an office anytime soon, so instead, I made working from home work for me. Here are some of my top tips.
- Enforce Structure.
I have an exercise and meditation routine each morning after which I walk my dog. I treat the return to my house as the start of my day. Doing so creates a delineation between ‘home’ and ‘work’ so I can sit at my desk and get down to business.
Find your own way of creating a separation between work and home even if it means creating ways to trick yourself.
2. Know Your Rhythm.
I’m a morning person and because I wasn’t working around an office schedule,I soon realised that I got loads done before 1 pm and then my productivity dropped. At about 4pm, I perked up and was productive again. I learned not to expect too much of myself in the middle of the day and now use that time to do errands and other things.
Gauge your natural productivity rhythm and create a schedule around that.
3. Get Social.
I make sure that each week I have a few things scheduled in the middle of the day, like going for a walk with a friend or meeting someone for coffee or a work date.
Schedule in some social interaction to break up your day and keep you connected to the outside world.
4. Give Yourself a Break.
Nobody in an office environment works 12-hours straight without a break. Think of all the time wasted in long meetings and chit chat. I used to feel guilty about taking a power nap or sneaking in an episode on Netflix, but now I think of it as one of the big advantages of working from home.
Don’t feel guilty and cut yourself some slack….nobody’s looking!
If you can’t be a part of conversation, then download one! I have fallen in love with podcasts and they really make me feel connected to the world in a positive way. My current favourites are: "Katie Couric" (for intelligent discussions) and "How I Made This" (for inspiration).
Find inspiration and energy in other places.