Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Working from Home as a Procrastinator

Being a world renown procrastinator, I've struggled at successfully working from home my entire life. I'd procrastinate homework all through high school. As a university student I took way too long to to complete my online courses (like we're talking a year too long), and now trying to run a small business from our living room. I'm living a procrastinator's dream.
I find if I don't start my day off on the right note immediately, that day is easily lost to useless internet scrolling, Netflix binges, and generally unproductive, mundane activities that I know are a waste of time.
I've spent years being a procrastinator, I still am one, but I've worked to find tools and techniques to help me stay ahead of the problem.
I find productivity is infectious, but so is lack of it. The harder I work, the harder i keep working; the less I accomplish, the less motivation I have to keep driving forward. I want to share all the ways I ensure my work days are productive and successful, but not exhausting!


It's harder than it sounds! But it gets easy, I promise! I get out of bed around 7:30 everyday regardless of my schedule. By nature, I'm a chronic late sleeper and I know that it leads to poor productivity for me. Sleeping in = laziness. Getting up early and starting the day right puts me in the right mind set for being a #GIRLBOSS. Which leads me to my next point.


Find a ritual that works for you and learn to love it. For me, thats going to the gym before I do anything else. Occasionally I'll nix the gym and do 15-20 minutes of yoga if I'm in more of a rush and have a really big day ahead of me. You do you. Try a bunch of things until you find what works. Go for a morning run, jump into a cold shower, sit quietly with a coffee for 10 minutes before jumping into the day. The list is infinite.


By all means be as comfy as you want! but don't work in the PJs you slept in, it's just bad vibes. Whatever you need to wear to put yourself in a productive mindset, wear that.
Imagine you're putting on your power suit in the morning. Like those big boss ladies running the corporate world. Too far? Naah. My "power suit" consists of leggings or shorts and a comfy shirt, and as much as I'd like to just not, a bra. I also brush my hair, my teeth, a little bit of makeup. My goal for the morning is  to be able to pop out of the house or talk to the post man at a moment's notice and not feel like a stow-away. Your Power Suit may be yoga pants, that's totally cool, and very comfy; your Power Suit may be an actual suit, that's totally cool too.


When I have a whole day to myself, be it a day off from my day-job and CakeSpun or a full-on CakeSpun Day, I plan out my entire day in my planner while I have breakfast. I try and organize it into time slots up to about 4 o'clock or so. I block out appropriate time chunks depending on the task. I don't make any task too long either, maybe 2 hours max. I find I'm more productive in bursts rather than large spans, don't give yourself enough time to fall off task!
I also colour code my day: business stuff is one colour, home type chores/errands, weaving, breaks (breaks are important, schedule yourself breaks), are each their own colour. I like splitting things up in such a way that I not doing all the same kind of thing for hours and hours.


Multitasking can be a slippery slop to task negligence. You might feel like you're being more efficient, but I promise you're not. Unless you consider multitasking answering emails while the dyer runs, do that, that's cool. Avoid distractions as well, TV's not a task so don't add it to your workday. I like to listen to a music playlist or a podcast while I work sometimes, but I actually find for me silence is most productive.


Keep cabin fever at bay. Popping out for 5 minutes to grab a latte, even though I could make one at home, is never a bad idea. $4 is a small price to pay to feel like a functioning member of society for the afternoon. This is not the same as that standard "work in a coffee shop" line of advice, because let's face it, we all know that line, and as much as it works, it's not technically working at home. 
Lots of days my only connection with the outside world is a 4 minute walk to the post office, but that's better than nothing! Go for a walk, pop to the bank, run an errand, organize meetings or appointments during the day. An awesome idea is to have an accountability friend! Choose someone who you can grab a coffee with but won't allow you to fall into a three hour gab sesh with them. Do what you gotta do to get out. You'll never regret it.


Be a good boss to yourself. Did you just complete the blog post you've been working on for 2 days, that's awesome! Grab 10 minutes of instagram or reading time, or go get the chai latte you promised yourself.  Just like in a traditional workplace setting, if you've successfully completed a project you'd want some recognition, give it to yourself, you deserve it!


Obviously we all can't have a home office or studio to hide away in, but wouldn't it be nice..... the true dream. Find a place in your home you can specify for strictly working. I have a desk in my living room where I do my computer work and weaving from. Not at the kitchen table, not on the couch, and definitely not in bed. Just that desk. This is effective in two ways: it keeps you on task when you're in that space because there will be no distractions in your workspace, like a pile of dishes for example, or the TV remote. And, on the flip side, it will keep all your business life contained to one spot in your home, as opposed to the kitchen table, the bedside table (the bathtub? the car? Hey, no judgement!) My boyfriend is especially happy about that latter point.

So! That's about everything I do to keep myself on task throughout the day. Honestly it's both easier and harder than it looks. And if you're a procrastinator, these will be things you'll have to practice to get better at. Once you form the right habits,  you'll be amazed at what you can get done in a day! It's kind of amazing to be your own boss.
Let me know if you implement any of these tips into your workdays. Or share what works for you to stay on track an accomplish all the things!

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