We get it. We know you wake up every day … and conquer the world. So we’ve reposted some helpful hints on how to streamline all of that just for you.
Ok maybe not, just for you … share it with someone who needs it just as bad as you do.
Working part-time or full-time from home is a big adjustment if you’re used to working in an office full-time. When I made the transition, my biggest challenges were keeping to a schedule, staying organized and not becoming distracted by my surroundings (laundry! dishes!). (Here are some general tips I wrote a few years ago about working from home.) I’m constantly tempted to stay in my pajamas all day. Leggings may not be a far cry from pajamas, but at least they’re not my pajamas.
In the past three years that I’ve worked full-time from home, I’ve discovered a few helpful tools and wanted to share:
- A designated office space. When I first started working from home, we turned our guest room into a guest room/office, but that guest room/office is now a nursery. We struggled about the best place to move my office—we tried a corner of the living room for a while and that was great when Isobel was a newborn. Now, though, we made a spot in the corner of our bedroom for my desk, chair and a rug and while I hate staring at our bed all day (I want to get back in it, please), I do feel like I have a designated “work" spot. When I’m sitting in my chair, I feel like I’m at work. It feels different than if I was to take my laptop and sit on the couch. It doesn’t have to be a big space or a fancy space, but it does need to be your own space.
- A headset. I sit on a lot of conference calls and like to use a USB headset in conjunction with my Google Voice account. A headset will usually have a clearer sound quality than using a phone on speaker.
- Russell + Hazel Acrylic Stapler. I originally didn’t buy a lot of standard office supplies but soon realized it was better to have them than not have them.
- Martha Stewart Home Office Accordion File. Once again—I didn’t expect I’d use/print a lot of paper at home, but I ended up needing several accordion files to keep it all organized.
- Greenroom Eco Planner. I live and die by my paper planner. I use my iPhone too, but nothing will ever truly replace a paper planner for me. When you work from home, there aren’t the typical reminders you might get an office environment (“don’t forget—meeting in 15!”), so you have to stay on top of all your shit yourself. Google Calendar is great, but I always record meetings or other items in my paper planner too. I find that the smaller the planner, the more I use it. If it’s not easily portable, I tend not to use it as religiously. That might not be true for you, but something worth mentioning!
- Martha Stewart Home Office Trays. I always find I have these little knick knacks floating around my desk and I don’t necessarily want to stick them in a drawer. Trays are good for keeping these organized and visible.
- Rifle Paper Co Journal. I keep notes two different ways: on paper and electronically (more on that later). If I’m using paper to keep notes, I prefer to use a hefty journal (in a compact size) so that I can look back and easily find notes from a call two weeks ago, for example. I date each page and write a title at the top—the name of the meeting or project. I use paper to take more general notes—ideas, who said what.
- Hello Fax. People still rely on faxes. I do not understand this. But inevitably someone, somewhere will need something faxed to them and that’s where Hello Fax comes in handy. Another great thing is the ability to sign and edit documents electronically. (Makes processing invoices or expense reports easy.)
- imo app. My office uses Gchat for internal IM and I connected my account to imo on my iPhone so I’m accessible even if I step away from my computer.
- Pencil/pen cup. I hate when I can’t find my good pens. I hate using bad pens. GOOD PENS STAY IN THE CUP.
- Simplenote. Some people swear by Evernote, but I’ve never been able to find a way to seamlessly integrate it into my workflow. Simplenote, on the other hand, is something I use all day, everyday. I use ResophNotes on my PC and Notational Velocity on my Mac and have the Simplenote app installed on my iPhone. All the notes sync across these apps and are searchable. The no-frills, minimalist appearance is really great. I use this to take the electronic notes I mentioned above. I use this for more in-depth note-taking: actual action items, to-do lists, general information I need at my finger tips to do my job effectively.
- Google Drive. Google Drive has really transformed the way I work in the past three years and I love being able to access work documents from whatever device I’m using.
- Rifle Paper Co. To-Do List. Keeping a list-type notepad around is handy. I’ll often stick one in my handbag so if I am out and about and need to take notes or get a few ideas, I can jot them down quickly. Once again, I can do this in my phone too, but sometimes paper feels best. Later I’ll either transfer my paper lists to my Google Calendar, paper planner or Simplenote—whichever is most appropriate.
- Basecamp. For more complex projects, using a collaboration tool like Basecamp can really simplify things so conference calls don’t have to happen every three days to catch people up. It’s invaluable to me as a remote employee because I can write notes, keep track of files and manage projects—and other members of the team can see these edits in real time.
- Google Voice. I don’t have a dedicated work landline phone but instead use a Google Voice number. When it rings, it also rings my cell, our home phone and Google Voice in Gmail.
- Dropbox. DO I NEED TO EXPLAIN WHY THIS IS ESSENTIAL? Dropbox is the sun, moon and stars. It is all-power and all-knowing.
Do you have any other tools (or tips) to share?