Last year, when I first went full time as a photographer, I was often asked how I was able to be at home all day. It was definitely a change from commuting 3 hours everyday to my corporate job. I had so much time back in my day! I’d reply that even though I was at home, there was much to be done and even though I was at home I was also at work. Working from home is not something I believe everyone can do successfully. You must be well-organized, have time management skills and be a self-starter. Not everyone is hardwired that way.

Over the last year I’ve found several ways that help make working from home more productive. I wanted to share these 8 Tips For Productively Working From Home.

1. Create a Daily To Do List

Each Sunday evening, (or as I think of things so I don’t forget) I create a brain dump list of every task that must get done that week. I break each task into a certain day and plan out my week. I use the Notes app in my iPhone to easily see what needs to be done that day. The notes are also synced to my laptop so I can view it without using my phone.

2. Get A Focus App

I use a focus app called Focus Keeper. This app allows me to focus on work for 25-minute chunks, with a 5-minute break in between each burst of activity. In the 5 minute break, I either get water, use the restroom, write down random thoughts or additional tasks that I’ve thought of that need to get done then get back to work. The timer will ring when your time is up. Once you’ve completed 4 focus sessions, you take a longer 20-30 minute break. This longer break is like a lunch break. Then you repeat this again in the afternoon.

3. Work With Shoes On

This sounds strange but when I have shoes on in my home office, I feel much more productive than when I am barefoot. I think it’s the creative side that make my brain think when I’m barefoot, I’m relaxed and in my creative mode. But when I have shoes on, I need to be in focus mode.

4. Stick To A Routine

This is super important! Wake up at the same time each day. Get yourself dressed and begin your day just like you would if you were headed to an actual office. Though I don’t wear any of my corporate clothes any more and I do work in my comfortable lounge shorts, I am up and ready for the day. Getting dressed makes your home office feel more like a real office and even though you’re at home it’s a good reminder that you are actually working.

5. Get Out Of The House

I thought that I would go stir crazy being at home all day. I am a social butterfly and love interacting with others. Obviously I don’t get that interaction at home when I’m alone. I do love working out. Mentally and physically it’s so healthy so I make it a priority to hit the gym every day. I go Monday-Friday and the occasional Sunday for 30 minutes to an hour. I made this a priority when I was working my corporate job so I kept it a priority once I started working from home. It’s refreshing to get outside and get fresh air. Once I get home and have rinsed off I resume working on the tasks needed to get completed.

6. Don’t Answer Your Family/ Friends Calls

This was tricky in the beginning. My mom and I talk a lot so she would randomly call me. I told her that even though I was at home, I was working and I couldn’t chat. This one is a little tricky because you don’t want to upset your family and friends but at the same time, you have to stay focused and get your work completed! You can always talk to them in the evenings once your work is complete just like a regular job.

7. Work In An Office

Having a designated office space is key. Have your desk, printer, hard drive, laptop, etc. all set up and go there in the morning. That is your office now. I’ve thought about working at coffee shops or Panera but I’ve never done it. I think working in my office helps me focus because there are no people to watch, no scones to buy and eat, it’s just me and my laptop cranking away. I love getting tasks done and crossing them off my list. Driving to coffee shops also takes time away from your day. I love simply walking downstairs to my office and beginning my work day.

8. Try Instacart

Grocery shopping is the worst! I don’t know about you but driving to the store and getting groceries is the last thing I ever want to do. I just hate wasting time getting groceries. I also hate when I’m working and thinking about what to make for dinner or thinking about how we have no food to prepare to make dinner. When I was working my corporate job there was literally no time for me to go to the store and now it’s a matter of time vs. money. I started Instacart this year and absolutely love it! It’s a flat $99 for the year and as long as your order is over $35 there is no delivery fee. It’s 2019 and I love that I can pay someone else to do my grocery shopping for me and bring it right to my door. A few months back, I spent 4 hours of my day between driving to the store, buying everything, driving home, and putting things away. It was at that moment I knew I needed to make a change. Instacart is a total game changer! If you want to try it, click here and use code “SBOTTA1ED18C” for $10 off your first order!

I hope you found these 8 Tips For Productively Working From Home helpful and start putting a few into practice.

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Sarah Botta is a Northern Virginia based wedding photographer whose work is described as soft, organic, romantic, and timeless. Sarah specializes in capturing people’s stories and building connections with each client to help tell their story. She has photographed over 55 weddings across Virginia, Maryland, and DC from outdoor estate ceremonies to elaborate winery receptions. Her natural timeless style shines brightest with outdoor locations. Sarah is available for travel and is passport ready.