There are many perks to being self-employed. Contrary to common belief, working from home is not necessarily one of them. In the endeavour to make progress (as opposed to Netflix and chill), you’ll find that mixing work with play never does come easy.
In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the greatest tests for your own self discipline. Uncertain whether working for yourself is a feasible option? Setting up shop at home is a great way to find out.
I’ve encountered several mental challenges in my time, and this one’s up there with the best of them.
It’s why I tend to vacate to local cafés to complete the majority of my daily tasks. Unfortunately, there’s only so long you can camp out (and order batch brews) until you start to overstay your welcome.
There’s usually a time of day, when I return home for a change of scenery and a bite to eat. Now that I’ve operated remotely for 2-3 years, I’ve learnt some handy tricks that can be utilised whether you’re hoping to study, or to set up business, just a 30-second walk from your bedside.
It’s time to prepare your home setting for productivity — not for procrastination.
1. Segregate work from play.
There’s one easy way to be certain someone has never worked from home: they’ll suggest (or even praise the idea) of working from bed. Some folk will display excitement or even jealousy towards the idea of pairing pyjamas with performance.
Other than the fact they share the same first letter, the two literally share no other attribute in common. Working from bed is not a long-term solution to working from home. In fact, it’s a short-cut to questioning your existence, and I’d assume, falling into a state of depression.
The space we choose to work determines our mindset and often, our level of focus too. Setting up work in the same place you attempt to sleep, is like eating a home-made salad in McDonalds.
If you don’t believe that at some point, you’re going to be tempted to give in, you’re kidding yourself. The fact is, your mind associates bed with sleep. And that’s a good thing. We should leave it that way.
We need to select (or to create) a new destination, to which our mind can associate with work. Doing so will send the right signals to our brain, prompting an easier switch between work and play.
2. Declutter your space; declutter your mind.
It’s true what they say: a messy house is a messy head. A cluttered space will heighten our stress levels, draining our energy for dealing with challenging tasks in work or study. What’s more, a piles of clothes can be translated into just as many layers of distraction.
When you lose focus or become slightly bored, an untidy space can be enough to justify defeat. Stare at a pile of washing for long enough, and you’ll find yourself putting on three loads; cleaning the bench and the windows while you’re at it.
Do all this beforehand, and you’ll have no excuse not to persist with a task. Your priorities will be indisputable. You won’t have to debate the existence of other, more pressing home obligations. After all, they’ll already be catered for.
If finding the time for this kind of domestic clean is equally difficult for you, I’d recommend engaging with the team from Fantastic Services. Myself and my partner welcome two cleaners to our home every month, given that a tidy space is integral to both our working lifestyles.
Not only is it satisfying to live in a well-groomed home, it’s super important for someone who relies on being inspired by their space. Such a thorough clean that Fantastic Services offer is beyond anything I could (or would ever find the time) for executing myself. If you’re in a similar position to me, I’d encourage signing up at the following link to receive $20 towards your service of choice.
An organised home makes such a difference for when I sit down and get stuck into work. It makes the moments when I shut off even better too!
3. Set the tone, according to the task.
When it comes to preparing an ideal working environment, the atmosphere is so important. In fact, I’d argue that sound is one of the most undervalued pilots of motivation. The reason I visit so many cafés is because I’m inspired by the hustle and bustle that occurs around me. It keeps my mind occupied and my thoughts moving. It puts me in a state of being equally dynamic as my surroundings.
Of course, this is not always ideal. There are certain tasks that require absolute silence; others that are better suited to light radio or a podcast in the background.
Personally, if I’m doing any writing-based task, I require peace and quiet. I can’t make sense of what I’m putting down, if I’m distracted by the language exchange going on around me. When I’m at home, I switch off everything to prepare my working area for this task.
In contrast, if I’m doing anything visually creative — editing content, sourcing imagery or designing a website — playing soft radio or a podcast actually sustains my focus for longer periods. An hour long podcast will keep me committed to an hour of work. Once again, it keeps my brain active and alert.
Before you start working or studying for the day, consider the task you’re doing and the level of mental focus it requires. Adjust the sound levels in your home accordingly.
With all these factors in place, you’re ready to make some serious progress! If still, you struggle to focus at home, perhaps it’s time to evaluate your mindset and your self-discipline.
As always, don’t forget to work on your home-space as much as you do your headspace.
Best of luck for the both,