10 Self-imposed Rules for Working from Home

Productive Working From Home Tips Creative Entrepreneur

I recently left my 9-5 and started my own business! I’d done it before when I was running my businesses in South Africa, but I was also still studying - so routine & focus was haphazard at best. I challenged myself at the beginning of last week to take notice and really track what I was learning about myself and this new way of working so that I could improve. Here’s what I’ve learnt…

1. Work WHERE you work best
I start my day out working on my laptop, having coffee & dealing with small basic tasks for a little while. This warms me up and means I can start clearing my to do list while Dylan is getting ready for work. Also, I get to stay in bed for a bit longer…

2. Work WHEN you work best
I started with typical 9-5 hours with an hour lunch break. Very quickly I learnt that I do my best deep work in 3 big batches. Morning, midday and afternoon. So I work all my small admin tasks, going for runs and keeping up with social media in between those and I’ve shifted my meals to match!

3. Two breakfasts are better than one
I’m hungriest during the morning, and so I have two breakfasts! A little one around 7.30am, a big protein breakfast at about 10.30am, which keeps me going through my midday deep work session, until my afternoon light lunch snack. No 1 hour lunch break? Turns out - don’t need it.

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4. Never eat at your desk
Find somewhere else in the house. Give yourself a break from your screen & your day. Text someone you love, look out the window, read a book.

5. Always say yes to your good instincts.
You feel like going for a walk? Always say yes to that. Odds are you’ll feel more energised and ready to work afterwards. You feel like watching just one episode of The Office? That’s the bad kind of procrastination…which brings me onto rule number 6.

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6. Never watch TV during the day.
Even though you can. It never helps.

7. Always get fully dressed.
No sweatpants, no active wear, no pyjamas.

8. Write a ‘done’ and ‘to do’ list every afternoon.
At the end of the day, I write my to do list for the next day. But I also write a list of everything I managed to achieve that day. When you work for yourself, you constantly feel like you haven’t done enough, so focusing on I have achieved lets me walk away from my desk and have the night off knowing I did the best I could that day.

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9. Find the good
I sit in a patch of sunshine at our dining room table over breakfast. I leave some birdseed outside my office window to find feathered friends. I keep an eye out for daytime foxes. I have midday dance parties. Look for the good. It’s there.

10. Be kind to yourself
I was so incredibly unproductive, distracted and overwhelmed on my first day working from home and I was so hard on myself for not having done everything on my list. My friend, Lisa, wisely reminded me “It’s day ONE. Give yourself time”. She’s right. So I wrote down what didn’t work and changed it for the next day and I’m slowly figuring out how to get the best out of myself and my work.

Hopefully you can too. I’m cheering you on!