We’ve all got that one, genius business idea right? A new app, a killer fashion line or one-in-a-million invention, that never quite gets going. Well did you know that every year, August 21st is World Entrepreneur Day? A day to celebrate the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial mindset that drives some of us to carve our own path and achieve something special.
Whether we’re an entrepreneur or not, this past year or so has been different, to say the least. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted us all in many ways. But one thing we’ve all had to adjust to, is working from home.
While there are plenty of perks to working from home - no more commuting, spending time with our pets, watering our house plants, home workouts or being able to stick on the laundry - it comes with its challenges too.
So whether you’re on the brink of being the next Steve Jobs or just trying to make it through another week of working in lockdown, we’re here to help with our top tips on working from home.
Set up your workspace
First things first. Make sure you’ve got the right set up.
Create a zen space where you can do your best work. Make sure you feel at your most comfortable and minimise those pesky distractions and - TV and refrigerator we’re looking at you! Set up in a spot where there is natural light, or buy a lamp to help reduce eyestrain.
As tempting as it might be, refrain from working on beds or sofas. It is worth investing in an ergonomic desk chair. Trust us, your back will thank you later! Or if you’re feeling energetic, why not try a standing desk?
Finally make the space your own with personal touches like a houseplant or a favourite photo or a piece of art to keep you happy and stimulated. We think your favourite candle is a good choice too of course.
Make sure you’re looking after your mental wellbeing and do the best you can to stay happy, motivated and healthy.
It helps to set and stick to a routine. It’s not as boring as it might sound, you know.
Without steady schedules, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred and be stressful to get right.
Try to always follow your normal sleep and work patterns if you can, and stay consistent.
Get up at the same time, eat breakfast and get out of your pyjamas. They’ll still be waiting for you come clocking off time.
You could even try scheduling in your "commute time", getting back that time you used to waste staring at your phone or out of a train window, and spend it exercising, reading or listening to music before logging in. Whatever gets you going in the morning.
Most importantly, when your workday stops, so do you. Shut down, stop checking emails and focus on your home life. That bit should be easy enough right?
Did someone say lunch break?
Consider this your permission to take a breather.
Making time for breaks is important to help manage those feelings of stress.
Try to take lunch and regular screen breaks, and give yourself time to concentrate on something else so you feel more focused when you return. Even just 5 to 10 minutes of short breaks every hour can really help your productivity too.
Be kind to yourself
Remember, this is an unusual situation and things will not always feel normal.
Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.
Dress for the occasion
Clothes have a strong psychological impact on motivation when we work from home. According to Dr. Karen Pine, a psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire, dressing too casually can make us less focused and alert.
According to Professor Pine, "When we put on an item of clothing, it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it's 'professional work attire' or 'relaxing weekend wear,' so when we put it on, we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning."
The bottom line: don't work from home in your pajamas. You can be comfortable. Just change into something that signals to your brain that it's time to work. Even if that means business on the top, party on the bottom.
If you can, take one of your breaks outside. Getting outdoors when you work from home does wonders for your motivation levels. Even just a quick walk around the block can be enough to clear your mind.
Exposure to light and fresh air is one of the most positive things you can do for your well-being. If the weather allows, you might even consider an outdoor workspace—whether it’s on a balcony, on a porch or in your yard. All you need is a reliable power source and a strong Wi-Fi signal. Getting outside can also help you make the switch from work to personal time. Going for a jog or taking your dog for a walk can go a long way in helping you decompress at the end of a long day.
If you are having trouble completing a project, use a reward to help keep that motivation up.
Tell yourself that you can have a cup of your favorite tea or your favourite sweet treat as soon as you finish a presentation. Or stay inspired by giving yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day. Our favourite rewards are putting on our favorite podcast, watching our latest Netflix obsession (fellow Below Deck fans, we see you…) or taking a long, hot bath. Maybe with a Quiet Evenings candle lit alongside for that extra indulgence.
For us, it’s worth celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit all year around. That might be launching a new multi million dollar value app. Or it might be just making it through the working week without needing to stay in your PJs all day every day. Working from home can be tough, but it can also be hugely rewarding and productive. So to all the home workers out there, we salute you. Keep up the good work.