How to work from home

photo of desk with planner, computer, phone timer, and pens with the text: "how to work from home"

I love to work from home. It’s hard, and it’s not for everyone. But for me, it’s the only way.

As a work from home veteran of 6 years, I thought I’d share the absolutely essential practices that keep me happy and functioning through my workdays.

Set timers

This is something I only started doing recently, but it’s completely transformed my work brain.

Before, I would always stress about how long a task would take. I’d psych myself out about being able to complete it before I even got started.

Now, I just set a timer and sit down to work. No matter how much I was able to get done, I feel satisfied knowing I met my goal of working for that chunk of time.

Instead of the goal being to complete the task, the goal becomes: work on the task for 1 hour. It seems kind of basic, but it’s truly much easier to sit down and just start working when that’s your goal.

And then—this part is the most important piece—once you’ve worked for the set amount of time, you reward yourself with a break.

Try this: Set a timer and work on your task for 45 minutes. Then, set a timer and take a break for 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary.

Photo of work from home setup with items on desk including planner, pens, computer, and phone with timer on the screen

Take breaks

Can we talk a little more about breaks? I think that’s the best part of working from home. You get to decide when and how to take your breaks without shame or pressure from bosses or co-workers.

If I feel like I need a nap, I just go and take a nap. If I need some fresh air, I just go outside and take a walk.

It really shouldn’t feel so miraculous, but inside the American work culture, it still is.

You need breaks to let your brain rest, reset, and come back to the project a little fresher.

Try this: Take a full hour lunch break! Eat your lunch, listen to a podcast, go for a walk, take a nap, stare out the window, let your mind wander, etc. Do not use this time for anything work related.

Write it down

Clearly, I’m a planner person. I need to write the thing down in order for it to happen.

I generally spend Monday planning out my whole week. That way, I can evenly distribute my goals and tasks throughout the next 7 days, planning around any appointments, events, or other activities.

I get a lot of satisfaction from having a full plan for my week and knowing that if I check off each item on my daily to-do lists, I’m in good shape and moving forward. It narrows down the things I have to think about each day to just what’s on the list, and that feels really good for my brain.

Try this: Plan your whole week in one go. List every work task, errand, workout, hangout, etc. so you know exactly what you have to focus on each day. Try my Monthly, Weekly, or Daily Planners if you need a space to write it all down.

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