This article may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please know that I am highly selective and only promote products and services with value and that are aligned with Soulfire Tribe’s vision and mission. Please see our Full Disclaimer here.

Sleeping in, more flexibility in your schedule, working in your PJs with a cat in lap, re-runs of your favorite show in the background, no boss peeking over your shoulder, no office drama … just a few of the perks of working from home.  Pretty sweet, huh?

Thanks to the growing trend towards entrepreneur and freelance work (currently 35% of the total US workforce, and expected to hit 50% by 2020!!), the growing demand of company executives contracting work to out to freelancers or boutique entrepreneurs, as well as advances in technology making remote work more feasible for companies, more and more the work-from-home life (or #workfromwherever) is becoming a reality for many people.

Women in particular can benefit from the many advantages a work-from-home option offers, including increased control and flexibility in our schedules, allowing us to flow between work and the other priorities and responsibilities our lives are jam-packed with.

Get the 8 (SECRET) Skills of Successful Women!

In my FREE guide, Queen Rising, I give you the 8 SECRET skills successful women use to lead happy, balanced lives and define success on their own terms!

We HATE spam! So we won't send you any. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Believe me, I know. Not only do I now work from home running my own business, but when I worked as a lawyer for a disability law firm/advocacy company, my job was largely remote work as I traveled across 20 states representing my clients at disability hearings in front of the Social Security Administration, and spending the rest of my time working from home prepping and following up on said cases.

But before you go skipping into entrepreneurship, or accepting a remote position, I got a truth bomb for you:  it’s not always as glamorous as it seems!

It can be messy, frustrating, anxiety-inducing, and lonely.  (I see those of you who have work-from-home experiences vigorously nodding your heads.)

The truth is, like any lifestyle, working-from-home is one that takes time to practice and master. And even when we think we’ve got it mastered, we’ll stumble a bit and have to get ourselves back on track.

But don’t fret!  Whether you’re just considering if working from home is a good option for you, or if you’ve been doing it for years but struggling to get in your flow, today we’re talking about some simple tips and tricks in a few different areas that you can implement to be more productive and balanced when working from home.

 

1.Morning Routine + Traffic

YAY: No more need to sit in traffic glaring at the car in front of you or stuff yourself onto overcrowded public transit.  No more need to spend every morning figuring what to wear that’s cool, comfortable, and work-appropriate, and no more needing to cake makeup on your face at least 5 days a week.  Which all means you can sleep in a bit later, wake up slowly, make your own damn fine coffee, and your commute is as simple as walking down the hallway barefoot or in fuzzy socks and opening your laptop.

BOO:  Admittedly, I am not a morning person, so when there’s the opportunity to keep hitting that snooze button as late as possible before needing to start work – the temptation is real.  …But swooping in at the last second can that can leave me feeling rushed and unprepared when starting my workday.  (And you don’t have the “traffic jam” excuse anymore for those occasional times we all have where we’re just running 5-10 minutes late.)

On the other hand, if you are a morning person, the temptation to get a bunch of stuff done before beginning work can have you feeling unprepared to shift gears (especially if you got caught up in your flow zone) and feel like you’ve been “working all day” because you didn’t give much time to yourself in the morning.

TIPS + TRICKS:  Plan a morning routine and stick to it. 

work from homeGet up 30, 45, or 60 minutes before you intend to start work.  Start by giving yourself some self-care, wake up slowly, relax, and stretch.

Change your outfit, even if it’s just to put on a fresh set of jammies.  [Stella-Tip: at least a few times a week get dressed in (non-PJs) casual or business casual clothes – clothes do affect our mood and productivity.]

Do some basic hygiene, even if you’re not going to be putting on makeup.  [Stella-Tip: I like to be kind to my skin, so many days that I’m working from home if I don’t have to video chat with clients or colleagues, I wash my face, put on some moisturizer, brush my hair and teeth, and call it a day.]

Make yourself your favorite tea, coffee, protein shake, and nibble on some breakfast.

Give yourself some time in the morning to engage in self-care such as meditation, journaling, reading poetry or a chapter in a book, or taking a walk outside.  Take care of one or two personal priorities: taking care of kids and pets, getting some exercise in, or making an important phone call, sending an important email, calling your mother or a dear friend.

Having a morning routine allows you to flow within a structure, feeling relaxed and focused as you start your day.

 

  1. Motivation, Discipline, + Productivity

YAY:  Working for yourself (or at least without the boss peering over your shoulder) can be refreshing and thrilling.  Those good flow days of inspired action, high productivity, and wins (big and small) can be like a drug in your veins bringing an intoxicating level of positivity and boosts of self-esteem.  You become the love child of Alicia Key’s “Girl on Fire”, Demi Lovato’s “Confident”, and Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)”. #LadyBossesGetShitDone

BOO:  The reality is not every day, not every week, is like that. There are days where the last thing you feel is inspired and motivated, and even in your “dream job” there’s always going to be tasks that you don’t want to do.

Even as a writer, and I love writing, there are some days that I just don’t wanna…, or the writer’s block of facing the blank page seems insurmountable.

There are days where you don’t produce much, or you think your work product isn’t good because it feels forced.  And there are days where you’re not even sure what you should be working or focusing on.

It can be hard to discipline yourself on those days.  If you’re anything like me, you can swing between being too hard and too lax on yourself. (I’m working on changing this now.)

And believe me, on those days, the guilt and judgment that you heap on yourself is real and often traps you in a cycle of paralysis and icky feelings.

TIPS + TRICKS:  Plan your schedule out in advance so you have a clear focus about what you’re working on that day and what you’re trying to accomplish (and put in your calendar!) 

Typically, one of the last tasks every day as I finish up work is to plan out my next day (focusing on what needs to get accomplished that brings me closer to my goals).  I commit myself to this schedule, but I also allow myself a certain amount of flexibility if a change needs to happen.

[Stella-Tip:  I learned some amazing systems for doing this in Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year program.  It literally changed everything about the way I work and my mindset about work.]

Keep a toolkit of things and methods that motivate and inspire you.  Keep a running list of empowering quotes(as a document or note on your phone or laptop or a Pinterest board) and read some when you need to feel inspired.  Take a further step and write some on post-it notes, dry erase boards, or on your mirror.

work from homeCurate a collection of motivational videos, podcasts, poetry, and books and engage with them on a regular basis and especially on days where you get stuck. [Stella-Tip:  This Goalcast video of actor Peter Dinklage giving a moving and uplifting speech about the success you can achieve when you believe in yourself fires me up every time … and not just because I am a Game of Thrones nerd and LOVE Tyrion Lannister!]

Curate various music playlists that inspire and motivate, help you get into your flow state, or change the mood of your environment.

Give yourself short breaks in between tasks to clear your head and re-energize yourself.

Have a couple friends in your line of work (or a community or mastermind group) that you can turn to when you need some support and cheerleading.

Find some fave TV show reruns to run in the background as you work.  I know sometimes just hearing favorite characters voices can put me in a better mood.

And when you hit those down days?  Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up.  Simply accept that today was not your greatest day, but commit to doing better tomorrow.

 

  1. Living in the Bubble

YAY:  Living in your own little world can be super nice.  As someone who can swing between introvert and extrovert, it can be lovely to have days where I don’t have to be in an office surrounded by other people.  It’s convenient to be able to curate your environment tailored to your personal tastes and best levels of productivity.  (No more having to listen to Janna-in-Accounting’s poor music choices or getting distracted by Bob-in-Legal’s annoying laugh.) And being able to keep an arm’s length distance from (or completely avoid) office drama is delightful!

BOO:  It can get pretty lonely up in this space.  There are days where I’ve only talked to my cats all day, which on my not-feeling-humans days, that’s wonderful. But other days I yearn the human connection.  (Don’t get me wrong, I love my furbabies beyond words, but sometimes I need more of an answer than “MOW”.)

There is a certain joy and comradery in the teamwork of colleagues and having a work BFF can make all the difference on some days, especially if your family and friends support you, but don’t quite understand your business or job.

Plus working in an office or workplace environment exposes you to a diversity of thought and encourages you to keep up with relevant topics in your industry and current events.

Missing out on these connections lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and the distinct feeling of living under a rock in your own echo chamber.

TIPS + TRICKSChange up your environment.  You have the ability to #workfromwherever, right?!  Take advantage of it!

Spend some days (or part of your day) working out of your local library, favorite café or eatery, or local greenspace.  Schedule some days to work in a shared office space.  Take a working trip to a favorite and fun location (or take advantage of attending a conference in a nice location and stay a few extra days). Make it a priority to spend some of your workdays surrounded by other people or Nature.  Believe me, this also helps a lot with motivation.

[Stella-Tip: On nice days, I like to go down to a local garden park and work for as long as my laptop battery allows me to, or I’ll skip the laptop and go there with my notebook for a mini-strategy planning retreat.]

work from homeConnect with others on a similar path in your area.  Schedule coffee dates, lunches, or days to work in the same location.  Join mastermind groups or interest communities, online and locally in-person.  [Stella-Tip: Even if I don’t live close to some of my fave work buddies, I love scheduling virtual coffee dates and high teas over video chat.]

Allow yourself to have a permeable bubble with a healthy balance of personal space, social connection, and environmental variance.

 

  1. Work/Life Balance

YAY:  There’s such beauty in the freedom of being able to schedule your own days, and the ability to decide what you will work on when, as long as it all gets done on time.

It’s a relief to be able to take those short breaks in between tasks to clear your head by popping on Instagram or Reddit, messaging a friend or work buddy, or having a mini-dance party in your living room without a boss all up in your business muttering about “company time” (or in the case of the dance party, your entire office thinking you’re crazy.)

It’s enticing to work from wherever or take long lunches and schedule a date with a friend.

And it’s a life-saver you have other pressing life priorities (especially all you working moms out there), and can schedule your day to flow between the personal and the professional.  Need to update your license at the DMV, but it’s only open Monday-Friday 9-5 when most people work?  Not a problem, you can just bring your laptop and work during the wait time.  Got a mom-and-baby meetup group that meets Wednesdays from 12pm-3pm?  Great, sounds like on Wednesdays you and baby can enjoy a long lunch with friends!

Recently, I saw a Facebook post from a fellow entrepreneur friend (and old law school buddy), sparkly unicorn lawyer extraordinaire, Gena Shingle Jaffe.  (She’s a lawyer that drops essential legal education to female entrepreneurs to help them cover their legal booty and also runs a mama blog.  If you google “sparkly unicorn lawyer” her website will pop up… Not kidding!) In her Facebook post, Gena talked about one of the greatest joys of running her own business and working from home is the flexibility she has to spend time with her adorable son.  She shared a story how she had just found out about an event happening in her town that day that her son would love and she was able to move some tasks around so she could take him to the event, and even invited her parents along for a whole family afternoon.  How sweet is that?!

BOO:  The double-edged sword of being able to flow between the personal and professional is sometimes we forget we still need clear boundaries.

For those of you who have some work-from-home experience, tell me if you can relate:

  • Telling yourself “just one more task, then I’ll stop for the day, it’ll only take 20 minutes” meanwhile 2 hours and 5 more tasks later you’re really regretting that decision.
  • Having a hard time getting back to work after a long lunch break, or getting yourself into work mode at all. (“Yes, I know I’ve seen all the episodes in this Criminal Minds marathon at least 3 times, but just one more episode…”)
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the mixture of personal and professional priorities and feeling unsure where to start.
  • Hamster on a wheel syndrome and at the end of the day still not feeling that enough was accomplished.
  • Shiny Object Syndrome.
  • Feeling an obligation to do a work task during non-work hours. (Oh the guilt I can feel when I see a work-related email or message come in at 11PM, and I let it sit there because I’m done with work for the day. Even though there is no reason it can’t wait until tomorrow morning, there’s this temptation to jump right on it because well, I saw it, therefore I’m responsible for it and should get it done ASAP, even though when I worked in a traditional office setting it was never expected that I would answer a work email at 11PM.)
  • Feeling an obligation to work all.the.time because you worry other people will think that your choice to work from home implies that you are lazy. (F*ck those people!)
  • The Catch-22 of Guilt: Feeling guilty for not spending time with family and friends when you are working in the next room and feeling guilty for not working when you are spending time with family and friends.
  • Family and friends trying to contact you during work time for non-important things because, well, you’re “just” working from home, you weren’t really doing anything important, right???

The tightrope between work and the rest of our lives can be a precarious one to walk.

TIPS + TRICKS:  Let strategic planning become your best friend.

plannerSimilar to the advice in above regarding productivity and motivation, schedule your days, weeks, and months (with work and non-work activities) to set clear boundaries, so you always feel like what you’re doing is where you are supposed to be.

However, when scheduling also remember life is life, and it is nothing but unexpected.  So also allow a certain amount of flexibility in your schedule to accommodate changes and last-minute additions or subtractions.

To help organize, some find it helpful to theme their days with a focus: Monday is for marketing tasks, Tuesday is for product/service development, Wednesday is for meetings/conference calls, etc.  That doesn’t mean that all they do on Mondays is marketing, but that the majority of the tasks that day have that focus.

Create an office space. Whether it is a small corner of your apartment or its own room, have a space dedicated for work.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t also work on the living room couch, kitchen table, or on your balcony.  On the contrary, I encourage changing up your environment! However, having an office space where you can organize your work-related projects and give you a place of focus is tremendously important.

In addition to an office space, develop and make a habit out of small routines that start and end your workday, and help you step into and out of your work and social lives.  When I end my workday, I like to do a brief 5-minute meditation to help me transition out of work and into a more relaxed and social mood.  It could also be a certain accessory you wear when working and you take off when you’re not working, like having a specific work watch – when you wear that watch, you’re on the clock, or having one set of eyeglasses for work and another for social and family life.  While small in action, these routines create powerful mind shifts that build healthy boundaries.

LEVEL UP YOUR GAME: Invest in a Life Coach / Business Coach

Investing in empowerment, life, or business coaching is a game changer.  Working with a coach to define your passions, goals, and build systems in your life to achieve them consistently pays off dividends in leading a joyful and successful life defined by your own terms.  Anyone can do the work without a coach, but having a coach puts you on the fast track for success.

Know any other habits successful career women practice to be balanced and productive when working from home?  Comment below or on the SoulFire Tribe – Light It Up Facebook GroupShare your knowledge and engage with other women!  Share this article with a friend and continue the conversation.

Xoxo,

 

**I do not have an affiliate relationship with Gena Shingle Jaffe, but I do *LOVE* to support her business.  I presently use several of her templates in my business and enjoyed her super informative Legal Bootcamp e-course.  Yes, even as a lawyer I buddy up with other lawyers who have different strengths.  Business law was never my specialty. I know the basics, but I don’t want basic coverage, I like full coverage, thankyouverymuch.

 

Get the 8 (SECRET) Skills of Successful Women!

In my FREE guide, Queen Rising, I give you the 8 SECRET skills successful women use to lead happy, balanced lives and define success on their own terms!

We HATE spam! So we won't send you any. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

The following two tabs change content below.

Stella Autumn

Founder, Women's Empowerment Coach, + Writer/Blogger at SoulFire Tribe
* Queen * Rebel * Unicorn * Coach * Writer * Lawyer * Witch * Geek * Goth/Alt Chick * Poetess * Explorer * Artist * Hippie * Book Dragon * Ladyboss * Quirky, Curious, + Creative * // I empower women invested in personal and professional growth to discover the courage and creativity within themselves to lead happy, balanced, and successful lives defined by their own terms!
%d bloggers like this: