Working from Bed - Yay or Nay?
When I first decided to officially be a ‘freelance writer’ (whatever that means), I was working from a desk in our bedroom. However, as we have electric heating (read: expensive), when it turned colder I soon took my work and crawled into bed, seeking warmth.
Most articles written on working from home in bed advise against this practice, and I can see why. It certainly can breed lethargy and complacence. That being said, working from bed is not impossible and I do it every (work) day. Here’s how.
Routine is everything when it comes to work productivity and success, at least in my experience. The following are rules I live by and that will help you turn your dreams of working in bed into a reality.
- Establish a routine.
My routine scheduling switches up, but on a given work day, I like to include in my routine creating blog posts, infographic design, administrative duties (reading and responding to e-mails), drafting pitches, and planning other engagements I’m involved in at the time (right now, this includes bridal shower and wedding planning), and eating/snacks.
- Keep a (somewhat) strict schedule.
I draft my schedules either the night before or the morning of the day. Consistently following your schedule completely is impossible because a degree of flexibility is needed in every schedule. Regardless, I try to adhere to my schedule as much as possible.
- Don’t sleep in.
The latest I wake up at on weekdays is 8:30 a.m.
- Set working hours.
Since I generally wake up at 8:00 a.m., my working hours usually are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. I’ll do reading and research at night fairly often as well but don’t include it in my ‘active work time.’
- Get dressed.
I type this as I sit in pajamas so take this one with a grain of salt. I do plan on getting dressed (at some point) today and find if I’m feeling unproductive, simply putting on a non-pajama or sweats outfit can put me in a peppier state of mind.
- Eat regularly, and ensure you are getting good sleep.
This is important to any job out there. Working from bed though can make you forget simple things like eating or going to bed at a decent hour so pay extra attention. Research has found evidence supporting the idea that working from bed can affect levels of melatonin and may result in insomnia or other sleep problems.
- Don’t treat work days as days off, even if other people do.
People who don’t work from home sometimes think the flexibility afforded is much greater than it actually is. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have the day off so don’t feel guilty for saying no to a weekday lunch, or suggesting dinner instead.
- Have equipment and tools designated specifically for work.
Try to have a work agenda and a personal agenda (my work agenda is online, and my personal agenda is hard copy, though admittedly, they do overlap). Have work pens, and house pens. Work notebooks and home notebooks, etc. This isn’t feasible in every regard, but is a good psychological tip for creating a division of home and work.
- Sit up straight and get out of bed regularly, for the sake of your posture.
Give Yourself a Break
People may be surprised to know that work-from-home-ers are especially prone to overworking themselves. It’s hard because your office is in your home so you’re eating dinner not far from where you replied to that irritating client only 1 hour ago. It’s hard to shake the work day when you don’t even walk away from it. Here’s what I do.
- Make time to see friends and get out of the house outside of working hours.
- Take days off.
I don’t do this very often, but I’m going to try to take a work day off every 6 weeks. Because what I do overlaps so much with what my interests and hobbies are, I find myself consuming books, magazines, TV shows, outfits, etc. more for the blog or writing than for leisure or entertainment. I don’t want to burn myself out or lose passion for what I do so having a chance to recharge will prevent that.
- Take field trips every two weeks to a month, to be inspired or for something specific to write about or review.
Think shopping trips (you can justify it by making chic outfit posts), movies, art exhibits, a new restaurant, or trying out a trendy new activity in your neighborhood.
- Be proactive about finding inspiration.
When you work in the same place you live, things can get stale fast. The only way to prevent this is to keep things fresh and you have to be active about doing this. Take a walk, pick up a new photography book, get into a new blog, pair two prints together you never thought would work. Sometimes inspiration finds you, but you can’t always wait for that to happen. Go out and inspire yourself.
If being distracted is easy in even the most boring and dull of offices then it’s rampant when you work from home. It is important for every work-from-home-er to establish his/her own methods for avoiding distraction early on. Take some hints from mine.
- Put distractions out of arm’s reach.
If you find your phone or the television too distracting, put your device, or remote controller, across the room. That way, you’ll have to get up to physically get it and, in that time, will have to consider if the distraction is worth it.
- Have a separate work area if you find bed too distracting.
Don’t be ashamed if you find you can’t work as well in bed. It is the same place you rest, after all. If you can’t work from bed, find another spot. Any corner of a room is fine for a desk, or even a table. Even if you only temporarily move to a couch, it’s not as comfy as bed and it is a change of environment. Worst case scenario: try working out of a coffee shop, or house of a friend or family member for a couple of days.
- Tidy your workspace every day, preferably multiple times.
If you work from bed, you know that your workspace can get grimy, and fast. Think food wrappers, old socks, tissues, cups, and all the notebooks in the world collected on your bed and sidetable and possible overflowing onto the floor as well. It is absolutely necessary to take control of this on a regular basis.
- Avoid unneeded web-surfing, television-watching, or Pinning.
Working from bed also requires some set-up. Eric’s parents gave us from their house a rolling desk that pulls up right into the bed. I use this exclusively for working and use the laptop tray when I’m surfing for leisure.
- Antique Walnut Adjustable Laptop Cart, $71.97
- Natura Barn Multi-Functional Laptop and Reading Bamboo Stand, $92.77
- Balt Lapmaster Laptop Stand, $154.00
And, of course, office supplies.
- 8 Days a Week Planner Embossed, $18.00
- Knock Knock Paper Mousepads, $12.00
- 3-Ct. Pilot Ultra-Fine Tip G2 Gel Roller Pens, $4.09
- Personal Notebook Her Pages, $2.99
- Notebook Small 3-Pack Gold Confetti, $3.99
- Sticky Note Set - Assorted Gold, $16.00
- Botanical Notebooks, $12.95
- Large Notepad, Stroke of Genius by Kate Spade, $10.00
What are your tips & tricks from working from bed? Do you think it’s possible to conduct your career almost exclusively from bed? Tell me what you think!
(The graphic was made by me! The picture of the bed was taken from Muffet on Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks!)
This was originally posted on my lifestyle blog, Kelsey Says. For more on working from home, productivity, and work style, check it out!
Lifestyle blog: www.kelseysays.com