Career Woman

How to stay motivated (and accountable) as a work from home creative

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There is so much joy in being able to work from home. Flexibility, working from your bed, pyjamas all day and cups of tea on demand. But, without the support from colleagues, management meetings and project deadlines, keeping motivated and accountable is hard!

So, here are some of my handy go-to tips for other creatives working from home. Yes, the struggle is real.

To-do lists.

It’s boring and they take up precious time in the day but a daily or weekly to-do list (or both) is really essential for creatives working from home. And just as important is a long-term list of non-urgent but useful tasks that you can complete when you feel like you’re at a loose end – tedious but important tasks like adding metadata to each individual product in your online store. And the upside? They are so satisfying to tick off as your week progresses.

Actually get dressed.

It sounds obvious, but for the whole first year of my working-from-home career, I did half a day’s work in my PJ’s. Every day. When I started getting dressed in a cool outfit and throwing a couple bobby pins into my hair, not only did I feel more professional, I also felt more motivated. And, as a bonus, delivery people didn’t think I was some jammy-clad jobless dud of a human!

Schedule a lunch break.

I still struggle with taking lunch breaks but I know how important they are. My usual lunchtime is a piece of toast and a task that I can do while eating toast (like sketching or responding to Instagram comments). But, when I do take a proper break and eat something nutritious, I feel much better about getting back to work for the rest of the afternoon. And no, coffee is not a meal.

Buy a plant

Heck, buy two. And place them in line of sight from your desk. Research shows that one potted plant per 10 square metres could increase your concentration, relieve stress, calm you down, make you feel happier and even improve relationships. Plus, it just makes your home work space look better!

Categorise your days by work type

This may not be possible for all creatives, but depending on the sort of work you do, you may find that you’re more productive when you group similar tasks together and do just those tasks on a certain day. For example, for Things by Bean, I have one day a month dedicated to writing blog posts for the following month; I spend every Wednesday afternoon hand-packaging a few hundred cards; I dedicate Mondays to designing (even though I’m jotting down design ideas all week long); on Monday mornings, I pay supplier invoices and follow up on overdue Things by Bean invoices. That sort of thing!

Find an honorary colleague (plants and animals don’t count!).

One of the most difficult parts of working for yourself, from home, is having no one around to bounce ideas off. So, if there’s someone in your life that you feel is on the same creative wavelength, ask them if they’d like to be your honorary colleague. If you’re working on something and you’re not sure if you’re on the right track, you can shoot it to them and their fresh eyes could pick up on the tweak it needs. Ideally, you would be able to reciprocate when they need the same advice. I have found it also can lead to collaborative projects so it can be good for you and your business!

Pay yourself.

For too long, I ran my business with no real system for paying myself. Finally, this year, I started paying myself a set amount every month and made it a non-negotiable. If you operate as a sole-trader, it might seem like a redundant thing to do, but in my experience, paying yourself is surprisingly rewarding!

About Jo Power

Jo Power is the director of the cute and cheeky card company ‘Things by Bean’. Founded in 2011, Things by Bean has since grown into a brand stocked by more than 50 retailers Australia wide and expanded into an online hub for all things party related www.thingsbybean.com.

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