Working From Home: Some Tips

Hi everybody. I thought it would be a good time for some working-from-home tips, since I’ve been doing it for 12 years, ever since I started AloeRoot. I’ve gotten used to being home alone a lot, and thought I’d share some skills I’ve picked up. A lot of it revolves around setting up a good routine so you’re not prone to distractions. This might be the start of a series, so check back for some more posts as I think of things to share.

Set Up For A Productive, Hydrated Morning

Every morning I feed the cats, get dressed, and have breakfast, in that order. While I’m preparing my food, I’m also making up a cup of coffee, a pot of herbal tea, and a bottle of water with lemon and cucumber (or whatever’s available – frozen fruit works well, or whatever’s about to spoil in the fridge). The coffee is a given for most of us, but the herbal tea means we have something to re-hydrate with afterward. Same with the water. Between the tea and the water, it’ll also keep you feeling full enough that you won’t succumb to the lure of snacking as soon as you get a little bored with concentrating.

When You’re at Work, Be at Work

I’ve found over the years that trying to run loads of laundry etc. during my working hours just doesn’t pan out. It’s distracting, and often leads to me forgetting wet laundry in the washer for the rest of the day. It’s tempting to putter around the house when you get bored, but resist the urge or save it for a break.

To block out social media distractions, I use a browser add-on called LeechBlock. I can pause it for a few minutes if I really need to use Facebook for a client, but otherwise it reminds me I’m on the job and keeps me from taking a “5-minute” Facebook break that turns into 20 minutes before I know it.

Focus Enhancers:

I like to listen to ambient music while I work; the lack of vocals means I don’t get distracted from my thought processes. Here are a few Spotify playlists I particularly like:

Instrumental Study

Deep Focus

Reading Chill Out

Carve Your Time Into Blocks

I generally take the first hour of my day to answer email, put out fires, return calls, and set up my task list for the day (I have an old school, paper day planner). After that, I’ve got roughly a 2-hour block of time before lunch, and then another few blocks from 1-3pm and 3-5pm. I tackle jobs in priority order during those periods, and try to move each project forward, even a little, every day. At noon and around 3pm, I take a break.

Take Proper Breaks

My lunch break is for reading – books, not alarming news stories. Right now, I’m checking in with friends on Messenger (this is a great time to start a group chat with some loved ones, if you don’t have one already). Midafternoon, I’ll take 15 minutes or so to stand out in my back yard with a cup of tea. If you work at a computer, it’s good for your eyes if you look off into the distance for a while to give your vision a break, so try and find a good vantage point for staring into space.

Stressed? Try a Guided Meditation

Here’s a link to a guided meditation series I’ve been enjoying on Spotify, by a guy named Steve Chana. I find his voice and accent soothing.