Life & work tipsPassion 29 July 2014
You CAN work from home without going nuts

Contrary to popular belief, working from home isn’t all about lying on your couch all day in a onesie, having friends drop by in the middle of the day and hour long sessions of online shopping. (Although those work days sound pretty appealing… Where can we apply?).

While there are many pro’s to working from home – like setting your own office hours and the ability to whip up a fancy lunch in your own kitchen – it can be tricky. There’s no real division between work time and play time and chances are the two are constantly intertwined. So, how does one work from home without going nuts – or getting distracted? (We basically wrote this because we have no clue ourselves. Those damn cat videos just keep sucking us in!)

Set office hours
One of the best parts of working from home is getting to dictate your own hours. Determine if you’re an early bird or a night owl (we wrote about that here) and adjust your work rhythm to when you are naturally at best. It’s all about putting those creative super powers to ultimate use! Set up a strict schedule with defined working hours and breaks. Pretend you’re in an actual office – which means you don’t do laundry or groceries in the middle of the day – and when the work day is done, switch off and tidy up your work space.

Create a daily and weekly planning
You probably keep an agenda for your social life, and we’re challenging you to do the same for work. For every day, specify exactly what your tasks are and how long you give yourself to complete them. Setting concrete goals and sticking times to those makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done at what time. If you’re a blogger, filling in an editorial calendar (you can find out how to do so here) might help out a lot in planning your posts.

Make your workspace look like an office
To zone in and focus, it helps if one space in your home is entirely dedicated to work. This could be anything from a spare bedroom turned into an office to a tiny desk in the corner of your living room. Working from your bed or couch is a no-go. Put your notebooks, your coffee, a few inspirational objects, whatever you like, on the desk and create a happy atmosphere. For inspiration you might like to check out our ‘The desk of…’ series with ELLE’s graphic designer Toula, illustrator Hyshil and interior blogger Elisah.

Take scheduled breaks and go outside
There’s always this lingering temptation to eat lunch while watching Orange Is The New Black or to have breakfast behind your computer screen. To stay sane, take real breaks (no couch potato-ing! Well, maybe on Fridays, if you’ve been good…) and walk away from your computer for a few minutes every hour-and-a-half. At least once a day, step away from all technology and go outside for a little walk so you won’t be inside 24/7.

Meet up with other people
One sure way to become super grumpy is spending every day inside your house, by yourself. We all need to blow off some steam or brainstorm or chit chat at some point during the week. Get in touch with other freelancer friends and set up a regular coffee or lunch date during which you’re able to vent about your work day. Or about Ryan Gosling baby rumours. Totally up to you.

Do you manage to work from home and still have structure, or are you constantly in your robe watching YouTube videos from your sofa?

(Image via Pinterest)

Let's talk


    These are great tips. I have set hours and for the most part, set break times as well. One thing I would add (and that I tell people who are just starting to work from home), shower and get dressed in real clothes – not pjs or sweats – every day. It makes a difference.

    Today I am working from home since furnace repairmen are here. Not getting much done. But its OK cuz I made it an online work day so I can be disrupted. And I did not write out my schedule the night before, which always helps. Thanks for the reminders!

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon this article. I have started working from home and I have to admit I am kind of freaking out as I don’t have any one to talk to for hours and I am not very organized. I believe i just need to get into the groove of things and everything will be ok.
    I will definitely follow these tips.

    I just love your posts! I am not per se working from home, but as a student and blogger a lot of work takes space at home or in the library, which already is kind of a second home! Thank you for your tips!
    xoxo, Ronja

    Filipa Gouveia

    These are great tips indeed! I´m a freelance translator and I work from home full time. In the beggining it was very dificult because I had oly worked in companies.. But one year has passed and I love the freedom it gives me!!
    I try to do all these things :)

    I have set hours and like to walk about and break up the day as best as I can. I work at an office desk in my room but it all still feels very professional
    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

    Thanks for the tips! I work from home for some stuff and I am so great of that when I come back from a couple of busy days out! :)

    sounds like great tips. I use most of these already and for me they work pretty good (: X

    A daily and weekly planner is soooooooo much needed. I don’t really work from home but I can’t live without a planner. x

    I still go to school but during the Holidays I do spend my days ticking of to-do lists, filming videos and writing blogposts, and I have to say I am pretty great at doing just that without getting distracted, however it isn’t always like that… ;)

    Heel handige tips! Ik vind het soms ook moeilijk om werk en privé gescheiden te houden als ik thuis werk en het is héél aanlokkelijk om Gossip Girl afleveringen te kijken tijdens de lunch, haha!

    Great post, especially ’cause it is going to be my “routine” soon…

    This is so timely! Actual tweet I tweeted today:

    “Everyone sneaks a hair mask in at lunch time, right? #workingfromhome #freelance”

    So let’s just say I fall into the robe wearing, Youtube watching category….

    Haha! love this Whitney!

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