Working from home presents some unique challenges, especially if this is your first time doing it. You’ve got to learn how to work from home from your dining room table, make sure you’re not distracted by your spouse’s conference call, and let the kids know that you’re not to be disturbed as you work. Sitting at the dining room table while you’re on your laptop means you’re working, not surfing the web.
As the founder of a 100% remote company that’s been doing it for nearly a decade, we know what it takes to be successful while working from home. Our employees use cloud apps to write and repurpose blog posts, access our WordPress blogs and sites through secure web browsers, and manage their own work schedules.
If you’ve suddenly found yourself with a ton of time on your hands and want to work on your side hustle, keep reading. Your side hustle may now become your full-time gig, so it’s time to level up your work from home habits.
Here’s my advice to all bloggers, side hustlers, site owners, and anyone else looking to be more productive while working from home.
1. Embrace the Chaos
Stop trying to mirror your previous work schedule; it just won’t work. Embrace that things are different and forgive yourself if you’re not productive right away. — for the first couple of days. After that, it’s time to buckle down and establish some new routines. Train your brain to separate work “you” and home “you” so you can be productive at this challenging time. Your company needs you to be firing on all cylinders while the world goes off-kilter for a bit.
2. Create a Protected Workspace
Many regular remote workers already have a designated workspace in their homes, whether it’s a spare bedroom they use as their office or an office area in the family room. Newly-remote workers should try to do the same. It can be tempting to set up on the couch with your laptop, but that’s not very conducive to work.
Instead, designate a table or area in a room as your “office,” if you can. Advise your family that one part of the dining room is now your office and that all meals will be eaten at the kitchen table or breakfast bar. This area is now off-limits to everyone but you. Tell them that when you’re seated there, you’re not to be disturbed. You’re working, not just surfing the web.
3. Set a Schedule
Setting a proper work schedule will be one of the hardest things to do at the beginning, but once you understand how you work and what goes well with your situation, let your family know.
Some of my employees are currently working an on/off schedule as they juggle child care and their spouses’ schedules. For example, one person works for two hours while their spouse watches the kids, then they trade. When the kids nap in the afternoon, both of them are on their laptops.
4. Get “Dressed” For Work
Another tip to help you be productive is to get dressed for work. For those used to business attire, that means putting on a dress shirt and tie. For others, just putting on a pair of jeans or slacks and a fresh t-shirt is enough. Getting changed into “work” clothes is a psychological sign to your brain that it’s work time. Just like your morning commute was a way of getting into “work mode,” changing clothes does the same thing. Wear whatever you need to get you in that mode and go with it.
5. Use the Status Features of Chat Software
Another simple way to ensure you stay connected when working remotely is to use the status features of your chat software. Slack, Skype, and Facebook Messenger let you update your status to show if you’re free, at lunch, busy, and more. Because you’ll be online more, your friends and family may be more tempted to initiate contact to chat and talk. But you’re working, so make sure they know you’re not free at that time.
6. Use the Time to Learn Something New
Now is the perfect time to learn something new related to your blog or side hustle business. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn more about CSS so you could style your WordPress blog more to your liking. Or you’ve wanted to understand how landing pages could boost sales of your eCommerce site.
No matter what it is, designate some time in your day to learn something new. You’ll feel more productive about the time you spend reading or watching YouTube while you improve your blog and increase your skills.
Working remotely doesn’t mean you have to give up your side hustle. In these challenging times, there are still many ways you can stay busy and productive with your personal blog or eCommerce site. You want to stay productive during this time, but it’s okay if you really struggle with it. You’re not the only one!
Use these tips to help establish a productive work routine and forgive yourself if it takes a while to sort it out. Work looks different today than it did a few weeks ago. I hope these tips help you stay productive. Good luck, and stay healthy!
Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.