I am very blessed that with my business, I am able to work from home. I meet with clients for consults, but with the nature of stationery, I don’t actually have to be at the wedding to set up. As nice as this is, it can also have its drawbacks, as I’m sure anyone who works from home is aware. I’ve learned that it takes a lot of discipline to keep your business running as smoothly as it should. Over the last 6 years, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that help each day flow a little better, in turn, reducing stress, and not having to work as much at night or on the weekends. I’m not going to lie and say that nights and weekends aren’t inevitable, in fact, some people actually PREFER those times to work, it really is all about you and what works for you.
This seems pretty simple, but I think this is the number 1 thing that people let slip when working from home. It is SO tempting to stay in your PJs from the night before and put your hair in a pony tail and jump in front of the computer. I have learned though, that when I prepare for each day like I would if I were going in to the office (where people would actually see me) that I feel SO much better throughout the whole day. I get up and actually GET DRESSED, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and heck sometimes it IS yoga pants and a t-shirt, but there is something about getting out of the clothes you slept in that is so refreshing. I then go for my “low maintenance” make up routine and throw some power and mascara on and run a brush through my hair. This whole process takes all of 5 minutes, and I guarantee it will help with your production for the day.
It is so easy to just sit down at your computer and start one thing and then remember another and jump to that and before you know it, it’s quitting time and you’ve only accomplished bits and pieces of projects. I am the queen of lists. I make them for everything. So it is only natural that I have one for my day. I prioritize it with what absolutely needs to be accomplished that day, and go from there. I also try to pair it up in ways that make sense, if I have several designs that need to be done, I try to schedule those all together, or if I have several things that need to be printed, I try to do those all at once. I’ve been reading up on Block Scheduling, which is a little more of an in-depth scheduling that I think I want to give a go as well. You set a certain block of time to accomplish each task so you will know EXACTLY what you can fit into your day.
With the ease of technology these days, it is always at our finger tips, and more than likely, our clients know that. This is especially true when you work from home. You don’t have the definitive separation from work and home. Lately, it has turned into an expectation for a prompt response. I’m not saying to ignore an email for two days just to prove a point, but I think if you set expectations with clients on responses and office hours, it will allow you to concentrate on the previous mentioned schedule you have created and will also reduce your stress of HAVING to response to a client at 11pm when you get an email. Office hours are another thing, even if you work from home, SET OFFICE HOURS. It will not be frowned upon! Include it in your email signature, on your office policies and make your clients aware. That way when they send an email at 8pm, they will be ok not getting a response until the next day. Some people don’t allow texting with their clients, I personally don’t mind. Usually it is just a quick question or when we’re scheduling a drop off, but I do make sure that if it is anything regarding edits or approvals that it is emailed to me to keep on file. I do, however, keep my office hours even with text.
Working from home can sometimes be very isolated and lonely. With technology and social media these days, you can easily find either an online or in person community of other entrepreneurs in your area or in your specialty who GET what you’re going through. Build these relationships; they are invaluable. You would be surprised at how much it helps having a “tribe” in your corner, people you can bounce ideas off of, go to for advice and in turn, help build your business for the better.
I hope this helps and I would love to hear any other tips you have for being productive from home!
Photo Credit: Amalie Orrange
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