With the help of designer Beth Barden, Madeline Hughes was able to bring her home jewelry studio to life! Read on for Madeline’s tips for perfecting your own home office space and work routine.
When I started my jewelry business, elle + j, I knew I would be working at home. I had no idea where to start because I had only previously worked in offices with teams. The idea of working at home was exciting, but also daunting. There was no one to be sure I arrived on time, no one making sure I worked eight hours each day and met deadlines—it was all on me to make my business successful. Here are eight of the lessons I learned that helped me maximize my time working from home!
1. Have a designated workspace.
Just because you work at home, doesn’t mean you don’t need an office. When I first started my jewelry company, I worked off trays in my living room. It was a disaster. I needed my own space to create and work. Beth Barden, of Design Post Interiors, helped me with my dream office. It is a place that is all me and inspires me daily. Everything is organized and has a set place, I have no problem finding what I need. I work so much better now in my new space.
2. Set hours.
Setting normal work hours was key for me so I could stay focused. Every day I start in the office. I make my list for the day and plan what hours I need to work and what else I need to do. I try to do all of my work at once and then if I have errands, I do those later.
3. Separate home and work duties.
It’s easy to think that because I work at home I can wash dishes, do laundry or tidy the house at any time. But I don’t. I act like I am away at the office. If during a set break or lunch break I want to do those things, then I can.
4. Act like you are going to an office.
In the mornings, I take everything to my office with me that I need—my planner, water, coffee, snack, etc. This prevents multiple trips out of the office, which might cause me to get sidetracked.
5. Plan meetings.
It can get lonely and quiet while working from home. I try to plan meetings and outings (work-related) at least once a week. This may be as simple as going to one of the local boutiques that my jewelry is in and chatting with the girls who work there about how sales are doing.
6. Have a turn-off time.
Working from home and having my office just steps away makes it easy to work at any time. Even if you set hours to work, be sure you have some set no-work time, too. Sometimes I find myself in there on a Saturday night after dinner. I try to have a turn-off time and day when I walk away and say “no” to more work. I’m not answering emails, calls, texts, designing, etc.
7. Resist temptations.
It can be easy to say you’ll meet a friend at the mall or have an impromptu visit with family, but you need to be clear with family and friends about your work hours and stick to them. Since having my twins, this has been a tough one! I get tempted to sneak out of the office and play with them or go have a play date.
8. Get dressed.
I feel most productive when I do this! I may not get as dressed up as I would if I were leaving the house, but I change out of pjs, brush my teeth and hair, etc. It makes a huge difference.