Working From Home | Full Post

I am so thankful to be featured on Photojojo's blog about working from home! I went a little overboard when submitting my answers, so I wanted to share the full post for all of my fellow creatives who work from home! Enjoy! 

How do you stay focused on your at-home work? Do you use apps to block online distractions? 

Working from home is absolutely marvelous! Forget business casual and working 8-5, we freelancers are adaptable and work on-the-go. But what is the one downside to a creative working from home? F O C U S. There are so many distractions in our homes, whether it be social media, television, podcasts, pets, or seeing the shady, yet very desirable ice cream truck driving down the road from the window next to our picture-perfect work desk. Here are three ways I stay focused while avoiding the temptation to refresh my Facebook page every five minutes. 

1. Set a timer: Using a timer is a great and effective way to avoid distractions from your work. Work hard and efficiently to get a few items marked off your agenda until the timer goes off. Take a five minute break and browse social media, grab a snack, or stretch, then reset the timer and go back to work. 

2. Use sound-blocking headphones: Listening to music is always my go-to method for focusing while editing photographs. If you are like me, silence is distracting. My advice: get a pair of sound-blocking headphones. I use Sennheiser HD 280 pro headphones and they work like MAGIC! Every once and awhile, play a rap song, nod your head up and down, throw up the deuces, sing along, and let loose. Gazing into the computer screen can be paralyzing at times.

3. Have a designated work space: If you work off a laptop, you can basically work anywhere...especially when working from home! Even though working on my bed, couch, or in the kitchen is more comfortable, I prefer having a designated work space to maintain focus. Working on the couch makes flipping on the TV or snoozing a little very tempting. Our schedules might be more flexible, but we are still professionals. Invest in a nice desk with shelving space and large drawers to stay organized. Dress it up with your own creative edge and have a “Stay Strong” or “Keep Going” poster within close proximity of your work space. Trust me, you need that on a down day.

What's your fave perk of working from home? 

My favorite perk of working from home is wearing what I want! For me, dressing comfortably is definitely linked to being productive throughout the day. I find myself wearing jeans and a t-shirt from high school most days. Before a Skype meeting with a client, I can easily slip on professional attire and change right back into my favorite tee in a matter of minutes! 

I have always loved working from home...even while being a student. Since graduation, I have contemplated applying for jobs and putting my photography dreams on hold. On a whim, I decided to spend my summer in Niceville, FL where I knew I would be taking a serious risk of losing relationships in Springfield...and in essence, risking my entire photography business. It turns out that I have a fantastic relationship with my fellow Springfieldians and cannot wait to be back! Although, the beach is very very very nice and I would not have changed where I spent this summer for the world!  

My cousin Kara and her husband Philip were kind enough to let me stay with them for the past 10 weeks. They are blessed with two beautiful children, who I love very much. I got to experience and share precious moments such as sending Crew off to Kindergarten, picking Caia up from her first day of preschool, coloring surprise birthday cards for Kara, and seeing the priceless reaction to finding out a trampoline was being assembled in their backyard! The Lord has taught me many valuable life lessons while being away from home. He has provided for me in times where I found my faith being tested. He has taught me patience and how to love through acts of service. I pray that the Lord continues to guide me in the path of righteousness and show me how to love others how He continuously loves me. 

For those of you who are looking for a little adventure...take it! Go on a spontaneous road trip and take a few risks. Go a little outside of your comfort zone because you never know what kind of opportunities will come from that. And you will probably get to know yourself more than you ever thought you would!