Since I’ve started working for myself people have constantly said so many interesting things to me.
How did you get started in that?
How do you get things done working from home?
What exactly do you do?
Let’s focus on the tools I use to actually get work done.
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Get A Good Desk
As a Pharmacy Technician, I felt I never had a desk, but the truth is that we did in a way.
When I started working from home, I had a writing desk (which isn’t that great for working really) but it got the job done.
My dream is to have a standing desk, but as of right now I make do and do some work, believe it or not, in the kitchen on the countertop. The years of working with counters at a pharmacy make the counters in the kitchen the perfect height for me to stand and type.
Regardless if you get a standing desk or a regular desk, it’s important that you get one that you can feel comfortable working at for hours.
Even if you do get a standing desk, I think it’s still important that you have a very comfortable office chair.
You are not going to want to stand all day, you’ll need breaks (more on that later) and for those times you’re going to want to sit down and be comfortable.
Not only that, but sitting all day can cause some serious health problems, and the better the chair is, the less those health problems will be.
Drink Lots Of Water
Earlier this year I started drinking nothing with sugar in it, which means lots and lots of water. In fact, the only thing I drink besides water right now is tea.
For me, my water has to be ice cold, and I drink quickly. So quick that while I’m out to dinner my wife tells the waiter immediately that I “drink like a fish”. So, I need not only something that can keep the water cold but is also large enough I’m not getting up every few minutes to refill it.
That’s why I love my Yeti so much, it’s large enough that I only have to fill it up roughly once an hour, and with just 1 or 2 ice cubes it can keep the water cold for a LONG time.
My yeti is the single biggest thing I miss when I travel, but my wife doesn’t want me to risk losing it so it stays home.
I also got the straw and lid to go with it because I love straws. To me, it really is a must.
Have some Flavor
When I’m not drinking water, or want a little bit of flavor, I drink tea. Not sweet tea, I drink all kinds of different teas.
I’ve recently gotten into loose leaf tea and honestly, I feel I was doing tea wrong my whole life. It doesn’t even need honey or sugar or anything and it is delicious.
It requires a little bit of preparation, and it is more expensive than the bagged tea but it is so worth it. And, if you have a local tea shop, that’s where I would go rather than just the grocery store.
Use A Smart Assistant
I have 5 smart speakers in my home and I don’t know what I would do without them.
I use the speakers to spell things I can’t think of the spelling for, I use them to do more complicated math I can’t do in my head, I use them to time how long I work or how long I’m on a break.
My favorite thing though is linking them all together and playing music or podcasts on them throughout the whole house.
Certain tasks I have to do allow me to play podcasts while I work, others (like writing this article) I can play “focus music” while writing and I’ve found that it allows me to get so much more work done than if I had any other music or silence.
We also use our smart speakers for personal things, turning lights off, turning the TV on, sending a text message, an alarm clock. After the Yeti, I miss my smart speaker when I travel.
Write Everything Down
It amazes me how many online businesses use so much paper, myself included.
There’s just something about writing your thoughts down on a piece of paper. Not only that, when you’re working on a huge project I love to take post-it notes and just write everything down, then move the post-its around to get my thoughts together on what needs to be done.
It’s a process I learned from Pat Flynn and it has helped me so many times in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
Sit Down Sometimes Too
All too often I am still working late into the night when I probably should be spending time with my wife. I don’t want to be in the office away from her, so we compromise and I work from the couch. To do this comfortably I use a lapboard.
Ok, full disclosure – I use it even when she’s not around, in fact, I’m using it right now to write this article (why not when you work from home, right?).
It’s true I get so much done working while standing, but I can also get a lot done while laying down on the couch laptop on my lapboard.
Leave the house
Something I’ve recently started doing, and wish I started a long time ago, is leaving the house to work.
I could go to a local coffee shop and work, which most coffee shops are used to. I’ve done this and got more work done in 2 hours than 6 at home, so when I have a deadline and NEED to get work done, this is where I’ll typically go to get some work done.
If I don’t need the internet, I sometimes go to the park and work. Being outside does help your mind work in a whole different way.
While I travel though I was concerned about my equipment. So, my wife a few years ago bought me the perfect laptop backpack. If you’ve seen me at a conference in the last year you have likely seen the backpack.
It carries my laptop perfectly, but can also carry my entire office in it. So whether I’m traveling for a conference, or just going down the road to the local coffee shop, I often use this backpack to get me there.
Take A break
At some point, the 16 hour days, the need to get things done, the “why did I do this to myself” moments, can all be too much.
At times like that, I think it’s time to take a break.
When I was younger I was a huge gamer, and in recent years I’ve started again. I recently purchased a Nintendo Switch and couldn’t be happier. It’s perfect for traveling it’s perfect for game nights, and it’s perfect when I need a little break in the middle of the day.
My go-to game is Mario Kart, and it’s perfect for quick breaks in the middle of the day.
You can turn the Switch on, play one round of races, and be back to work in under 30 minutes. It’s the perfect little distraction in the middle of the day.
A word of caution when it comes to breaks. Don’t take too long of a break.
I have at times turned on the TV for my lunch break to watch “one episode” and next thing I know it’s 6 hours later and I need to know how Tim got in the coma, and more importantly if he’ll ever get out.
Same is true with some games I play, I say “I’ll play for 30 minutes” and then my wife is walking in the door from work wondering what I’ve done all day.
So, just be careful when you pick what your distraction will be that it doesn’t take over and you don’t get anything done, that it remains a “quick” break.