When I initially started working from home I struggled. Now, three years later I wanted to share my initial thoughts and what has helped me along the way.

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I have been working from home for roughly three or so years now. Initially I was working in digital marketing for an online store. They allowed me to work from home as they were a start up and it was just easier for me to work from home. In conjunction to working for them I was also running Who Killed Bambi, my own vintage clothing store and modeling.

Who Killed Bambi was so amazing to run. I learned so much business wise. For those who don’t know about Who Killed Bambi, I used to tailor clothing, re-purpose clothing to be modern silhouette.We gained a lot of traction and it was doing really well. It was featured in Frankie Magazine, front cover of Peppermint magazine and various other shoots. However, around the time of moving to the Central Coast I let Who Killed Bambi fall by the wayside as we didn’t have a a reliable internet connect and it was costing us $200 for 18GB of internet and with uploads this was only lasting us roughly 12 days #horrorstory

Anyway – I know work at home on my blog and other creative project and MidCity, and I often get asked about working from home, so I thought I would write a blog post!

INITIAL STAGES OF WORKING FROM HOME

When I initially started working from home I struggled for the first two months. I have since found my groove, so today I am sharing my initial thoughts and also what has helped me stay focused and productive.

If you’re thinking about working from home or currently work from home you can probably relate to how I felt in the initial stages of working from home. I have since learned A LOT.

  1. When I first started working from home my work / creative process from 9am could be surmised as: 1. open computer 2. check emails 3. snack time 4. watch Youtube 5. snack time 6. kind of write 7. open up Photoshop 8. die in the black hole of the internet
  2. I remember my first couple of months at home. I was by myself most days and found it hard to sit down with actual people because I was so used to my own thoughts and company. My social skills took the biggest nosedive they possibly could.
  3. Should I wear outside clothes today or should I wear PJ’s?
  4. I can actually get a lot of work done in bed. I can also eat in bed too.
  5. I love emails so much
  6. Work, work, work, work
  7. Ha, I’m not even wearing pants
  8. “Yes, delivery man, I am working, no I am not sick. Yes I am still in PJs”
  9. Urgh, there STILL isn’t any food in the fridge. *checks fridge again 5 minutes later*
  10. I love being by myself
  11. OMG, I hate being by myself. I just want to talk to someone.
  12. I really can’t be bothered to eat lunch today, I’ll just work through to dinner
  13. My hair is realllllly greasy today
  14. Should I shower? #pitsniff
  15. I got SO much done today! *high fives self because no one is around*

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Working from home is great. But that doesn’t mean it’s not without its challenges. I am a strong believer that it really comes down to self control, work ethic and discipline – the same traits that you would have in a “normal” office working environment. People often say to me “I couldn’t work from home” or “I wouldn’t be able to be disciplined enough“. You don’t need to take shortcuts or become lazy just because others don’t directly interact with you in person, if anything, you should be holding yourself accountable.

Today I thought I would share my tips to working smarter at home

  1. Get Dressed: The novelty of wearing PJs and no pants wore off pretty fast for me. There is only so many times I could be embarrassed by the delivery man. Get up and get dressed like you’re going to any other job. You will be much more productive and you’ve feel fresh!
  2. Designate a work space: So working from bed is tempting, but setting up a designated work space is so much better! For creative it’s far too hard not to be at a desk because you have drives, mouse, drawing tablet et al. It also is so bad for your back if you’re not sitting at a desk with a chair that supports your back!
  3. Get plugged in: Listen to podcasts, music that you can work to or inspirations talks if you can listen to them without being distracted.
  4. Air flow: I worked from an apartment for the first 6 months of working from home and it felt so claustrophobic as there was no airflow! Make sure you open windows and get some fresh air for your brain!
  5. Actually take breaks: This is HUGE. It’s so hard to take breaks when you’re on a roll with work flow. Make sure you take regular breaks because it will help you focus better throughout the day!
  6. Assign important tasks for the morning: Make sure you assign all important tasks for the morning. I know if I can tackle this early on I will have everything complete by the end of the day, therefore stress levels will be far less the next day!
  7. Set regular hours, and stick to the schedule: The biggest thing with working from home you forget to clock out. There will be times that JD and I realise that it’s 8pm and then we have the eight o’clock panic that we haven’t planned our dinner.
  8. Keep a to do list (I use ToDoist): I spoke about this app on Sat. You can read my productivity post here.
  9. Set boundaries for friends and family: When you first start working from home, no one believes you have a real job. “So, what do you actually do?” They’ll ask you to lunch in office hours, they’ll ask you to mind kids in office hours, they’ll ask you what you did today. They won’t realise you have REAL deadlines and that you need to hold yourself accountable otherwise you ain’t getting paid. I am lucky now that all my friends and my parent and family know what I do for work, but it was hard at the beginning!
  10. But make time for people: Being self employed or working from home makes it easy to cancel arrangements with people because a) You’re not used to seeing people so it’s easier to say no b) It’s easier to tell people you’re busy because you’re more likely to work random times because your work is accessible. Make sure you make time for people. You need human contact, you need to have fun and there’s life outside of work!
  11. Treat yourself: Once every few weeks I will treat myself to fresh flowers to make my work space feel fresh, alive and happy. My go to is Petal Post (web) (instagram)
  12. Be thankful: Be thankful you have the opportunity to work from home and be grateful. You work for yourself in your house. You set your own hours and have control over your life in ways other people don’t. SO be grateful damn you.

Obviously there are bound to be days where you slip up – we’re all human, but these tips have honestly helped me over the past 3 years!

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PHOTOGRAPHY: by me

ON MY DESK: Oscar Wylee Glasses, Palm Beach Collective Candle, Flowers by Petal Post, Print above my desk from Blacklist, Fuji X100 Camera, Handcream because my hands get so dry – this one is from Cotton On Body Botanicals.

CRAP YOU DIDN’T SEE: I obviously cleaned my desk to make it presentable for images, so all my cords, paper work and random crap and build up of coffee mugs is out of frame, on the floor. #REALLIFE

I would love to know if you work from home and any tips you have!

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Author: Ally Hayward

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayHayward

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