I've been self-employed for almost two years now, and within those two years, I've learned a number of strategies and tips that have helped my online businesses tremendously—which of course I'm always happy to share with you here on the blog.
Today, however, I'm going to share a number of things in my bag o' tips that may help you and your online business that are not really focused on very much, at least on sites that teach internet business and blogging. I guarantee that at least one of the following ten items you can “do better” or improve upon.
1. Eat a Good Breakfast
A good breakfast sets you up for a productive day, period. I can really feel a difference in my physical and mental power when I skip breakfast versus when I have a healthy, well-balanced meal.
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercising does a couple of beneficial things for us:
- It gives us energy, thanks to endorphins. I write my blog posts after I work out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I know I'll have more physical and mental energy.
- It keeps us healthy and happy.
3. Take Breaks
During the day (and this works if you're still at a 9 to 5 job too), take breaks from what you're doing often. Give your brain a rest, and go on a walk, or just sit outside and relax (if it's not raining). It will give your brain time to recharge, and will keep you from going insane.
4. If You're Got a SmartPhone, Don't Check Your Email
This one is tough, I know, but if you're out of the office or away from where you are supposed to do work, don't check your email. The reason is because you may receive an email that requires you to do something you cannot, such as go into your home computer to send a file. You can't do these types of things unless you're at your office, so it's better to just not give yourself a chance to be stressed out about it, and leave the inbox alone until you get back. Make sure those breaks are actually breaks.
5. Work in Good Lighting Conditions
This is also tough to notice, until it's too late. If you work in an area with bad lighting, over time (in just hours), your eyes will begin to strain and you'll have a hard time staying focused.
If you've got windows, really utilize that natural sunlight, and if you happen to be working at night, try to avoid “brightspots” in your line of focus. Try to make the lighting as even and as comfortable as possible while you work.
6. Work with Good Ventilation
As you know, I have a website and wrote a study guide for the LEED Exam, which is about green buildings and sustainable design.
Well, a major portion of LEED is understanding how to improve ventilation in buildings, which helps with air quality and in turn boosts productivity and the overall happiness of building occupants.
If you're working at home, you should really take notice of the air you're breathing. Are you stuck in a room with a closed door that's just recirculating the air you breath and the warm air coming from your computer equipment?
Open up a few windows in your house or apartment so that new, fresh air can come in and you can work in a more productive and healthy environment.
7. Get Dressed For Work at Home
For a while, especially right after I got laid off and started working from home, I did all of my work in my pajamas. It was comfortable, but often too comfortable. It was wayyyy to easy to climb back into bed, which was just one door over.
Nowadays, before I begin any work, I always dress myself. This helps because:
- It gives me the mindset to start “work-mode”; and
- It helps just in case I have a quick errand to run—I don't have to worry about changing before I leave.
One time, I had to delay an impromptu video conference call because I was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and silk bottoms (ok—not really silk bottoms, but I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and had to change really fast and do my hair).
8. Work in a Comfortable Chair
Again—this isn't really something you'll notice until it's too late and your back is killing you. Get a decent chair, ergonomic chair if possible, because more than likely you'll be in it a lot.
If you find your back is hurting when you work, see #3.
9. Try to Enjoy What You're Doing
This needs no explanation.
10. Get a Good Night's Sleep
We all know we should be sleeping 7-8 hours a day. It's the time our bodies and brains need to recharge and get ready for the next day!
I know it can be tough though, especially when working from home, because work never seems to be entirely finished. Plus, it's always tempting just to stay up a little longer to get things done.
I've learned, however, that even though you may get more things done staying up longer, you'll actually end up getting more done by sleeping and being more productive the next day.
Do you have any other uncommon, not-so-obvious things that help you when you work from home?