People are often surprised to hear that the majority of my working hours are not spent behind my camera out at events and shoots. As a wedding photographer, I actually spend most of my work time in my home office running the back end of the business! I really love working from home because it offers me a lot of flexibility, but it can be a little tricky if you’re not used to a lack of more defined structure.
As social distancing is becoming the norm right now due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, I know more people than ever are finding themselves working from home (some maybe for the first time!). I’ve been working from home for nearly 8 years now since I left my office job to run the business full time and have learned a few things I thought may be helpful for those who are venturing into uncharted territory.
Create a designated workspace
If you don’t have a home office or a desk space at home, consider setting up a kitchen table or something else specifically for work purposes. Working from the couch (or even your bed sometimes….) is fun every once in a while, but establishing a separate zone for work only is incredibly helpful for productivity.
Decide on set office hours (and stick to them!)
Some jobs will have set work hours even when working remotely. For those that don’t, I suggest deciding when you will wake up and get to work, and more importantly a “quitting time” when you put your work down for the day. One of the most challenging things when I first started working from home was feeling like I always had to be working on things. Setting boundaries and “office hours” helps preserve a sense of work/life balance and will also make you more productive overall.
Utilize do not disturb on your devices
If you’re prone to distractions, I suggest setting your phone (and computer too, if it has this option) to “do not disturb” so that you’re not getting inundated with notifications. If you need to, set a time (maybe once an hour?) to check to see if there’s anything important you should respond to. This will help you get through tasks uninterrupted! This is really helpful to me when I’m in the middle of a ton of editing 🙂
Use timers to stay productive
I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro technique, which basically boils down to setting a timer for set work intervals and then taking breaks in between. I find that I get so much more done and am focused and excited to get back into my work when I have regular breaks. Sometimes I will set a podcast and edit or work on a project I can do while listening and keep working until the podcast is over. Check out the Pomodoro technique and give it a try!
Create both a weekly and daily to do list
I really like to have one big list of all the items I need to work on within a week (I usually create this on a Monday morning) and then I break that down into smaller lists…my “daily” lists. I also include things I’d like to do around the house and try to intermingle these projects into my daily schedule. This is really helpful to me because it gives me a sense of both bigger picture and smaller items and gives me a little flexibility to still get things done if they don’t happen on a set day.
Create a routine for yourself
Your routine can include things like having your morning coffee and listening to your favorite news podcast to start the day, or leaving your “office” (or whatever workspace you designate) for 30min to an hour during the afternoon to get some exercise in. Having a routine definitely helps add some structure to your days.
By no means am I an expert at working from home (or productivity for that matter!), but I am hoping that maybe a few people will find these tips useful. I hope you’re all staying safe and as positive as possible through these stressful and uncertain times we’re all going through 🙂 Feel free to reach out if you need to chat, or leave a comment here if you have other tips for working at home!