Tips & Tricks on Working from Home

For many of us, the dream job entails working from home — and on our own schedules.

Redbook Mag_Dec 2014

Speaking of which — anyone having a hard time getting back in the groove today? What a weekend…

My favorite thing about a new season is that it’s a chance for a clean slate and a fresh start — and that’s whether we’re talking about a calendar year or life in general.

When the weather is warmer, I (obviously) like to lead more of a balanced, offline lifestyle. Less time behind my computer, more time outdoors drinking wine with friends.

Speaking from experience, yes — working from home is great. The benefits of not having to battle rush hour commutes and setting your own hours is amazing, especially. But whether you’re an entrepreneur, contractor or blogger-by-night, the flexibility of working from home does run you the risk of slipping into a lazy routine.

Laundry? Necessary. A quick trip to the grocery store? Sure, why not. Catching up on Scandal? Yes, because it’s raining!

… Sound familiar? (And no, seriously. Are we all caught up Scandal?)

home office ideas inspiration

A good at-home office space dedicated to Getting Sh*t Done goes well beyond pretty pictures from Pinterest and perfectly mapped-out floor plans (which, let’s be honest — isn’t an option if you’re living in New York City).

Being productive at home certainly presents its challenges, but with the right balance and purposeful set-up (both physically and mentally), it’s a breeze to achieve your everyday ambitions.

And as a bonus, you’ll be out the door in time for a guilt-free happy hour.

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While I’m no interiors expert, I have been blogging for more than four years. One of which in a more “full-time” capacity. That said, here’s a few of the tips, tricks, sensibilities and supplies that I utilize to make the most of my small-but-mighty space:

A designated workspace.

Yes, I know you’ve heard this one before — but it does work.

I’m sure there are a handful of people who can sprawl out on the couch and plug away for hours on end, but when you’re working from home on a regular basis, you need a routine to get into the zone (and maintain your focus).

sprout-hp-workspace sprout-hp

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Storage and supplies. 

Shelves, storage bins, and magazine files are a super-simple way to make what could potentially be a cluttered mess look chic. Paper, bills and magazines pile up — and that ain’t pretty. I aim to keep my workspace clean and clear of distraction, so here’s a few things that help me stay inspired (and organized) at the moment:

*Kate Spade business card holder ($30), ‘Talk is Chic’ striped snail mail ($25), The Long List notebook ($10), ‘Break the Ice’ insulated tumbler ($18), Kate Spade storage boxes ($54), scroll above to continue shopping

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The right mindset.

Not all of us rely on a jolt or two of caffeine to get the day going (and props to you guys), but riddle me this: Have you ever woken up with a dehydration headache?

Holy smokes. It’s like a grown-up hangover, but worse. It’s awful.

smartwater

The first thing I do every single morning is drink a giant glass of water. If you’re not in this habit, make it the first thing you do tomorrow — it quite literally feels like you’re a balloon that’s being re-inflated.

Fun Fact: SoulCycle’s Physical Therapist tells us that for every class we teach (or take), we should be drinking three 16-ounce smartwaters (the brand of water sold in the studio). One before, during and after class.

More than you thought, right? (Me too!)

Whether you realize it or not, staying hydrated is really, really important. There’s truly no downside, and it’s the easiest thing you can do to stay inspired, level-headed and productive every single day. You know those days where you feel like it’s 3 p.m. and you’ve accomplished nothing? H20. Yep, seriously.

Plus, drinking lots of water helps me keep my at-my-desk snacking in-check, which is a key factor in my weight loss journey (more on this to come).

social-media-tips-for-bloggers

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Invest in the right technology. 

Last but not least, you have to invest in the right technology. Our jobs and blogs all require us to print, scan, sign and copy things at some point, and the worst city scavenger hunt you can ever embark on is the search for a scanner/copier/printer.

how to use hp sprout

The best all-in-one device I’ve been using for the past few months is the Sprout by HP (first introduced in this post about how to turn your blog into a business). The device’s touchpad technology has helped me organize my receipts, invoices, collages and contracts — it’s truly been a godsend. Most notably, I use it every single week to “sign” documents — with my fingertips.

It’s cloud-ready with PIXMA Printing Solutions (PS), which allows you to connect a printer, phone, Dropbox and so on. So for example, even if you’re away from your desk or the office (slash apartment), you can easily send items to your printer using the PS app on your phone.

The best part? In addition to its super-sleek design, this desktop computer is wireless — meaning there’s only one power cord to deal with. Amazing, right?

I could continue singing The Sprout’s praises, but you can read more about it in this post (or on their website). If you have any questions, leave ’em in the comments below!

sprout by hp

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Photos from my Instagram and via Lydia Hudgens Photography

Thanks to smartwater for partnering on this post (and keeping me hydrated). 

29 comments

  1. Greetings Hallie – “Small-But-Mighty” made my day! I’m moving soon, and to a smaller space. But I’ll get a better office set up out of it as my “dining room table where I sometimes work” has turned into my “desk where I sometimes dine.” I still go to my office, but I telecommute more, and having a functional workspace that does not involve an uncomfortable dining room chair is important. This will now be my “Small-But-Mighty” apartment! Cheers – Jennifer

  2. Working from home is such a blessing and a curse!! I so struggle with the “oh, it’s 3pm and I’ve gotten nothing done” (aka right now 😉 ) so hopefully these tips will help! Thanks again!!

  3. Your “Fun Fact” about Soul and water is SO true. I find myself craving smart water after each class.
    Also, Sprout looks SO cool!! Why use a mouse when you can legit use your hands?

  4. I loooove this post. Such a great way to integrate smartwater – I always appreciate well thought out sponsored posts!! Definitely pinning this to refer back to. xoxo

  5. These tips are great and super helpful. I don’t get to work from home for my first full-time jobs but for my two blogging jobs I do. I agree that you have to be in the right, work-mode mindset or else you just wind up wasting time. I definitely need to get better at designating a work space instead of just blogging from my bed which happens way too often 🙂
    xo,http://chicandsequined.com

  6. I need to get my home office in order. I tend to land on the couch and sometimes move into the office. I should use the office more and designate time, otherwise I’m checking social media – all. night.
    Love your posts.

  7. Great tips! I currently work from home once a week, but our workplace is evolving into a “laptop hotel” where we share a space and work from home as much as possible. I will definitely have to work on some things you listed to stay motivated and productive! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  11. Thanks for sharing your tips – so helpful and definitely agree with everything. I just started my own business this year with a high school friend and yes yes yes can I relate to what you said. I would agree that developing a routine, like working from a desk space, will keep you focused and on task. By the way, need to start watching scandal! xx

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  13. Love this! Where did you get that blue hardcover notebook that looks like a planner? with 2015 in gold on the side binding? thanks!!

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