By Ashley Roe, Contributing Writer
As a work from home woman, you have a unique set of challenges that others who do not work from home may not understand. I’ve been working from home for over three years so I have learned a few lessons along the way. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication as well as a ton planning and organizing to be a successful work from home woman. So I want to share with you this list of some of my top tips for you!
My Top 8 Tips for the Work from Home Woman
Invest in a good planner
A good planner is an essential tool for being a successful work at home woman. It is your way to keep track of your commitments and appointments. It also helps you to set goals and keep organized. I’m not going to say you have to use a planner exactly like I do. I know everyone has a different way they like to do things. However, I do believe that you need to have a plan or you will just flounder around from one task to the next without having any way to track your daily tasks and goals.
For a long time, I tried keeping track of things on random pieces of paper or notes in several different places. Obviously, this was a complete mess. I didn’t get much done using a system like that. I even tried multiple different planners but most of those just sat and collected dust. I got those planners for cheap or even free but none of them worked for me.
It wasn’t until I decided to invest in a quality planner that worked for my needs was I able to begin feeling more confident in my ability to successfully plan. For me, this is the iBloom Life and Business planner. I love how I can keep track of personal and business things all in one place. It also has places for goal setting and business planning which I love. Even if you don’t want to use the iBloom planner, they also have tons of other great resources for work from home women.
Maybe you need something a little different in a planner. That’s totally fine! You just need to find something that will work for you. For some ideas, check out this awesome resource by Kayse Pratt. She reviews tons of great planners so you don’t have to waste a bunch of time and money doing it yourself. I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the market for a new planner.
Keep organized digitally
Having a great planner is a useful tool but you probably won’t be able to keep track of everything using a planner alone. There are things like notes, longer to do lists and specifics of a project your working on that you’ll probably need another way to organize.
You may be a pen and paper gal but I love the ease of digital apps like Trello and Evernote. The best part of these apps for me is that I can see all my information on my phone or my computer. So if I am out somewhere without my planner or computer, I can jot a quick note on Evernote and be able to get it later on my computer at home. I also tend to have ideas when I wake up in the morning. Instead of getting out of bed to turn on my computer or find my planner then inevitably forget my idea before I have a chance to jot it down, I just pull out my phone and open one of my favorite apps.
I use Trello mostly organizing my projects. So as an example, I have a board for the current project I am working on. In that, I have a card that has checklists of the various steps in the project. Then I have another card for each step with details about what needs to be done. I love that I can easily check off things as I do them.
I use Evernote mostly for taking notes. If I get an idea for something, I will create a new note and jot it down. I also have lists for jotting down ideas down related to specific topics.
Setup a Paypal and bank account
Chances are if you work from home, you are also working for yourself. If you do have your own business, even just a blog that you hope to make some money from, it’s a good idea to have a Paypal account. Oftentimes, you will be paid through Paypal because it’s one of the easiest ways to transfer money. I get most of my payments through Paypal. I keep some money on that account and transfer what I won’t need there to a bank account specifically for business purposes.
It’s also a good idea to have a bank account separate from your personal finances because it’s easier to keep track of, especially when it comes to taxes. Plus, if you were to get audited for any reason, you don’t want business and personal accounts connected.
Track your time efficiently
If you work on an hourly wage for clients, you will need a good way to keep track of your work hours. Don’t do what I did in the beginning and just jot it down on a post it note. Trust me, you need something more efficient whether it’s a spreadsheet or app or even a specific chart you write it out in. My favorite way to track my hours is with an app called Timesheet. I can input different projects as well as rates. Then when I am ready to invoice, I just export the data. You can also pause the timer if you need to switch gears or take a break. It’s so much easier than trying to manually figure it out.
Schedule your time
Managing your time is another important part of working from home. If you have an important project, give it a deadline and plan time to work on it just as you would other appointments. Don’t be afraid to schedule specific time for working. It’s great to be flexible and I definitely recommend allowing for that especially if you have other responsibilities like a family to care for, but you are more likely to get something done if you schedule it.
This can be especially hard when you work from home because it is often assumed that since you are at home, you have tons of free time. Housework can also be a distraction to getting things done. Not that you shouldn’t do your dishes and laundry, but if you are surrounded by it all day, it’s easy to feel guilty about working instead of doing those things. One way to manage this is to set time for those things as well as your working hours.
Set up an inspiring and organized work space
Create a space where you feel motivated and inspired to work. It doesn’t have to be a dedicated room though that would be nice. It could even be a corner of your living room or a table in your kitchen. I’ve found that I get more done in a space that isn’t piled with clutter and other random things.
It’s been over a year since I’ve had a dedicated office space. When my husband and I began the process of preparing our condo for sale, one of the first things we did was get rid of everything on the wall where our desk was, including the desk. Thus eliminating my organized space. Not having this space has made it much harder for me to be productive which is why I am thrilled that we will be moving soon into a house with room for an office!!
Don’t overwork yourself
As important as it is to using planning and scheduling when you work from home, it also just as important that you don’t overwork yourself. I know it’s easy to be constantly working in between other tasks but only leads to frustration and burn out, especially if you are always working early in the morning and well into the night.
Some days you will need to push to get something done and it’s just not an option to limit your working time. Here’s some of my best tips for those days where you are feeling exhausted and need a little pick me up to get going. I use most of these to help me stay alert throughout the day whether I am going through a particularly exhausting day or not. We all have days we are exhausted but don’t make your work the consistent reason you struggle to make it through the day.
As a Christian woman, one of the most important things you can do for your business is to make it a habit to pray over it. Ask God to show you direction for how he can use you and your business to share the gospel with others. You don’t have to have a Christian blog to do this. The way you conduct your business and interact with others says a lot about what kind of person you are. Your integrity and character ultimately shows others who God is in you. You may have a customer who wonders why you don’t take dishonest shortcuts many other business owners do. Use that as a way to be a witness to others.
I hope you found some useful tips and resources to help you in your work from home journey. I would love to hear what tips you have for women who work from home.
What’s worked best for you? Let me know in the comments below!