How to Work From Home Like a Boss

How to master the art of working from home

Before I started my current job, I hated the idea of working from home. I love being around people, and the thought of being isolated all day made me sad; plus, I didn’t want to taint my home with the stress of work. But in the past year and a half, I’ve totally changed my mind. These days, most of my meetings are on Skype (so going to the office doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll see much of my co-workers), and I’m fortunate to have a job I love that isn’t super stressful on a day-to-day basis. I typically work from home four days a week, and I’ve got it down to a fine art. Here’s what you need to do to make it awesome.

Get comfy. There are people out there who will tell you that you need to put on your biz casual best in order to really get into the workday mindset. I am not those people. I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when I’m relaxed! Obviously, this means staying in my PJs all day. (At least until I have to go out to grab lunch. But you better believe I put them back on the second I get home.)

Use a dedicated workspace. Your home may not be large enough for a true office (mine sure isn’t), but trust me, you can make room for a well-appointed desk. Having a spot that’s reserved solely for getting shit done will make ALL the difference – and it’ll keep you off the couch and away from the rabbit hole that is Netflix.

Caffeine is a must.

Create the environment you need. I prefer some white noise while I work, so I usually play music or turn on the TV – but it has to be something that easily fades into the background, like HGTV or reruns of Friends that I’ve seen a million times. If you know you can’t focus without caffeine, invest in a coffee maker (or keep the fridge stocked with cold brew). If you work best with another person sitting next to you (studies show this can be a very effective motivator!), schedule work dates with a friend who also works remotely.

Be a multitasking machine. Probably the best thing about working from home is the massive amounts of time saved. Not having to commute (or even get dressed) in the morning means a substantial amount of extra sleep time, which is glorious. But I also get a lot done at home during the day that I wouldn’t be able to do at the office, like editing blog photos on my lunch break or folding laundry while I’m on a conference call. Score!

Know when it's time for happy hour

Know when to walk away. Conversely, the toughest thing about working from home is unplugging at the end of the day; it can be hard to disconnect when there’s no real separation between home and office. It helps to schedule something that will force you to step away from your desk, whether it’s happy hour with a friend, a yoga class, or just an alarm on your phone reminding you to hit up the grocery store. This also goes for breaks during the day – try to get outside, even if it’s just to walk down the block and feel the sun on your face!

For those of you who also work from home, do you love it or hate it? Any advice to share? I’d love to hear what you think!

♥ Mil

P.S. You might also enjoy Jules’ tips for working smarter, not harder.

 

Images: 1 / 2 / 3

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Must-Have Spring Power Pieces

Spring Power PiecesSpring is here, so bring on the skirts, strappy sandals, and most importantly the brights and whites! I always find that dressing for work can be trickier during warmer months than the cooler ones. In winter I throw on a blazer over skinny jeans with a blouse and call it good. However, as temperatures warm up it can be challenging to toe the line between springtime casual and workplace professional.

Here are my three essentials for owning that lady boss style all season long.
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THE WHITE BLAZER: A white blazer is the perfect transitional piece for the season. White creates a bold pop of contrast, helping you stand out from the drab masses.

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Similar: Zara Turn-Up Sleeve Blazer, Topshop Slouchy Longline Blazer, White House Black Market Ecru Trophy Blazer, Banana Republic Seersucker Double-Breasted Blazer
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dressedfordreamslaceupheels

LACE-UP BLOCK HEELS: Sandals can be challenging to pull of at work, as they often look a little too beach ready. Lace-up block heels are the perfect in-between. The lacing evokes a gladiator-style sandal, while the block heel dresses things up with a strong edge. No dainty kitten heel here.

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Similar: Public Desire Block Heeled Sandals, Honey Babe Block Heel Lace-Up Sandals, Jeffrey Campbell Cage Sandal, Hinge Peep Toe Leather Sandal
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COORDINATING SEPARATES: Often women adopt more masculine styles in the workplace to project an air of seriousness: power suits, starched collared shirts, monochromatic outfits. While I do love a good menswear inspired outfit, I also admire women who own their femininity in the workplace. The strongest women I know embrace their womanhood. Coordinating separates are a ladylike take on a warm weather skirt suit.

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Similar: ASOS Printed Bomber in Texture Co-ordASOS Printed Prom Midi Skirt in Texture Co-ord, Eliza J Check Satin Two-Piece Dress
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On a different note, I do want to let y’all know that I’ll be taking a break from the blog for personal reasons and will be less active on social media as well. Nothing dramatic, I’m just in serious need of some extra me-time these days. Thanks for understanding.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Image sources: 1/2/3

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! It’s been a pretty quiet week around here, but that can be a good thing now and then. I caught an advance screening of Tina Fey’s new movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot the other night, which I really enjoyed. What are you up to this weekend? I have major brunch plans, and Jules will be settling into her new home (which has a pool, by the way. So much jealousy). Let’s get the weekend started with a few fun links!

Friday Favorites

1. Need some advice on jump-starting your workday? Check out the routines of these seven successful women and see how they spend their first hour at the office.

2. My birthday may be a couple of months away, but this birthday cake popcorn is calling out to me. YUM.

3. Behold, the best place for you to travel according to your zodiac sign! Apparently I should plan a trip to Spain – which is pretty legit, since I was just telling my sister how much I want to visit Barcelona.

4. Neat freak that I am, these cute bathroom organization ideas are catnip for my soul. A girl can never have too many trays, jars, or pretty baskets…especially when those baskets are filled with Lush face masks.

5. For all you bloggers out there who are also running a business (or are planning to start one), these books will inspire you.

Bonus: Netflix is looking for people to travel the world and take Instagram photos of awesome movie and tv sets. If you’ve got a killer Instagram feed and a couple of weeks to kill, check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend!

♥ Mil

Work Smarter, Not Harder

dollyparton

I am a Type-A workaholic. For most of my life, achieving in school and then my career has defined my self-worth. I take a lot of pride in the quality of my work, and have always worked extra hours at night and on the weekends to complete projects. I know this is a learned behavior picked up from my mom who regularly stays up until 1:00 am working on her side business only to get up at 6:30 am for a full day of teaching.

When Nick and I started seriously dating, he really pushed me to focus more on my relationships rather than my work. To value myself not by the quality of my work, but by the quality of my friendships and relationships. To spend my weeknights cooking dinner with him, and not finishing up some report. To prioritize weekend get-togethers with friends over clearing out my inbox.

While I still enjoy working, focusing on this mindset has helped me step away my desk after hours and has made me focus on working smarter and not harder. It’s easy to let small tasks and distractions bog you down at work; before you know it half the day is gone but nothing significant has been accomplished.

Women-get-it-right-the-first-time

Here are a few of my strategies to help me focus and increase my productivity:

1. Get in Early. My days are constantly interrupted by phone calls and people dropping by the office – and somehow everything is always an “emergency.” Getting in early allows me an hour to plan out my day and start focusing on my work before the interruptions begin.

2. Make a To-Do List With a Few Must Do Items For the Day. I don’t know about you, but at any given time I have about a dozen work projects in progress, with all the little tasks associated with each one. Every morning I start my day by listing out 3-6 tasks to get done. In the past I’ve tried listing out everything I needed to accomplish in total, but this quickly became overwhelming and it was hard to know where to start. A shorter list helps focus in my work and ensures that I complete a minimum number of tasks. I feel efficient and successful when I check everything off at the end of the day. I don’t know about you, but I love checking things off!

3. Don’t Check Your Email First Thing. I find that checking emails can turn into a rabbit hole of activities that monopolize your day. As soon as you check your emails, it’s easy to caught up in replying to messages and following up on requests. In the mornings, I start working on my tasks for the day for at least an hour before I allow myself to open up my Outlook and get sucked into my email.

4. Develop a Hobby. This may seem random, but having a hobby can help increase your efficiency. Having a fun activity after work helps me focus more throughout the day. I want to make sure I can leave on time to go for a run or to do some writing for the blog.

What tricks do you have for getting more done in less time? I’d love to know!

XOXO,
Jules

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