I’ve been introducing myself to the Somerset East locals as a ‘stay-at-home cat mom’, which in reality isn’t that far off. I do stay at home with the cat kids – while I work.
Last month I was lucky enough to secure two long-term freelance jobs, which enables me to work from home – something I’ve always wanted to do. For most of my adult life, I had been working 8 to 5ish jobs which were all office based, most of them at least an hour’s commute. That works out to a minimum of 10 hours in traffic per week. 10 hours! Do that for eight years non-stop and you’re bound to start yearning for a simpler life. At the time, the obvious solution was to move closer and closer to Sandton, where I worked. In the end, the commute was a 15-minute compressed drive from hell – dodging taxis, and women doing their makeup whilst driving; not moving for 10-minutes due to traffic lights being out; angry road rage induced hooting; CHAOS.
My current commute is plus minus 15 seconds. On foot. Sometimes in my slippers.
Working from home works for me on so many levels. It’s a flexible, stress-free, cat cuddling haven with a view. The thing about working from home though is that you have to be super disciplined, otherwise you’ll end up watching Girls on the couch in your pyjamas, drinking Milo and eating doughnuts all day. Here is a list of 10 things to keep in mind to make working from home a (sugar-free) success:
- Create a home office. Invest in creating a comfortable workspace, separating ‘home’ from ‘work’. That way, when you enter your workspace, you consciously know what you’re there to do: to hustle hard. It changes your state of mind from “I’m at home” to “I’m at work”. And get a good chair. Believe me, it’s totes worth spending some money on.
- Get out of your pyjamas and brush your teeth. Start your day right, kids: Have breakfast; shower; GET DRESSED. Don’t get lazy about how you look – even if the Superbalist delivery guy is your only visitor. Pretend that you’re going to the office. You’ll feel and act more professionally if you’re dressed for work.
- Stick to a schedule. Most of the time. Create a schedule to help you stay productive and on track, but remember the one great perk about working from home: YOU get to choose your hours. Determine when you’re at your most productive and set your working schedule accordingly.
- Stay out of the kitchen. This one is moeilik. I have a terrible sweet tooth and have been known to finish an entire packet of Whispers while drafting one email. No jokes. You need to be super disciplined (which in my case now means only buying snacks on weekends). Keep temptation at bay by stocking up on healthy snacks like fresh fruit, veggies and trail mix.
- Rehydrate. Often. Keep a water bottle by your desk at all times. I’m currently obsessing over these gorgeous water bottles. Repeat after me: Must. Have. Rose. Gold. Drop Bottle.
- Get out of the house. Interact with humans. Take your laptop and work from a coffee shop. This is especially helpful when you start finding yourself tempted to do the dishes, washing, or ANYTHING but work.
- Take a nap. Napping during work hours boosts productivity. Yay! According to the experts, you should schedule a short daily nap of twenty to thirty minutes “for improved alertness and performance”. Yes please!
- Don’t give up if it’s a hard day. There WILL be times when you just won’t feel productive. Push through and get something done. Start each day by listing three lists of three – I read about this on zenhabits.net and it works a treat: 1) List three things you will do today; 2) List three thing you’d like to get done, but aren’t essential; 3) List three things that need to be done at some point. This way, if you get through your day’s work with time to spare, you can get started on the rest of your to do’s. Hashtag hustle.
- Enjoy your flexibility. Schedule daily and weekly breaks to refocus. If you’re anything like me you’ll end up working longer hours when you work from home. Schedule breaks in your day for lunch, a tea break, a cat cuddle, a walk – anything to get you up and moving, otherwise, you’ll end up sitting at your desk, squinting at the screen until The Boyfriend comes home demanding dinner. True story. Don’t lock yourself in a room all day – taking scheduled breaks will improve the quality of work you produce.
- Be grateful. You’re working from home and not in some cubicle, surrounded by other people’s stress and microwaved leftovers. HALLELUJAH.
If you have any good work-from-home tips I’d love to hear it.
Have a productive day!