5 tips for working from home (in small spaces)!

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josh and i both feel pretty fortunate to be working for ourselves and also from home together over the last several years. the line of work we are in is such an interesting and new industry that i think a lot of people still don’t really even know it can be a job, and i still struggle to put in a nutshell what we do when someone we don’t know asks us! each day is not like the next when it comes to blogging and taking photos and making videos and writing and planning. a large part of the work we do with all of it is behind the scenes and requires a lot of time and organization and care. editing, prepping for trips, working on our collaborations and partnerships, maintaining the site, managing legal and accounting stuff, and the never ending email machine, it’s something we try to stay on top of since it’s just the two of us and we’re tag teaming it all day long with the kids.

we are still figuring things out, but we have learned a lot of lessons working from home. i thought it’d be helpful to share a few of the major takeaways we have found when it comes to successfully working from home, in partnership with philips hue today, because josh and i both feel like having the right light is one of the biggest factors when it comes to getting stuff done at home!

5 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY WORKING FROM HOME

1. get dressed.

it honestly sounds so easy and simple, but for ages i would work in my pj’s from bed and it would be hard to truly get into the proper mode. we both have found that getting all ready for the day goes a long way. and yes, it’s true. josh wears a tie quite often while working. it’s just the way he’s done life since his teenage years and i love him for it.

2. have dedicated working hours.

this one i am still working on daily, because it can be hard to separate work and life when i am at home and a lot of what we do is share bits and pieces of that life. i feel so lucky that “work” rarely feels like work,  but i also have found that having hours set aside to work (after which i put it all away) makes a huge difference. it’s important to me to draw this line and stick to it since i don’t go to an office space, and don’t have an office in my home. i don’t want my kids to see me on my computer too frequently during the day but i also don’t want to be up until one or two in the morning on my computer either. it’s been really helpful for josh and me to tag team and trade off spending time with the kids or getting things done throughout the day to have designated hours for each thing. helps me feel a little more sane, for sure!

3. lighting!

we have found it so helpful to have bright strong lights on during the day when we are working from home. you can try searching for a 5000K white light bulb which simulates natural daylight and can help you feel more alert and awake. we did that and then also had separate lamps with warmer softer light for early mornings and bedtimes so we could all wind down. but josh and i have switched the majority of our light bulbs out for energy-efficient philips hue smart lights which we can connect to our smart phones through the philips hue app and basically create a personalized wireless lighting system built into our tiny renter apartment! the biggest perk to this is that since we have a smaller space, we tend to use our front living room as a room for many things, from eating to relaxing to where i stretch and do yoga to spending time with the kids as well as turning it into our “office.”  having control and being able to personalize the light in that room has been gold, since there are different preset light settings for waking up, relaxing, feeling energized, concentrating, with the ability to set any color and brightness. another tip for when it comes to lighting and working from home is for if you’re working before bed (which i often do) and you don’t necessarily want bright concentrating white lights on because you won’t sleep as well and you don’t want it too soft because then you fall asleep while working. with the philips hue lights, i can set them on a timer to gradually dim to a more relaxing softer light over an hour so by the time i am winding down with the last few things i’m working on, the light is also adjusting to help me prepare my body and mind for an easier transition to sleep!

4. elevate your equipment. 

we mean this literally. since we are in a smaller space and don’t have a designated office, we have found a great way to stay organized is to still keep all of our work things in one place – about 6 feet off the ground to ensure the hard drives and cameras and anything else of great worth and value doesn’t accidentally get destroyed by our little ones! this also helps us save time in the end because we aren’t trying to find where we put the camera or a computer or battery charger, etc.

5. get out!

get out of the apartment to work occasionally, if you can! it truly is such a luxury to get to work from home but when the weather is beautiful or i want to break things up and have a change in scenery, grabbing my laptop and heading to a local coffee shop or a park bench in central park is so wonderful. if needed, you can get a hot spot on your phone so you can have a quick and reliable internet connection so you can work from anywhere! it’s always nice to change it up once in a while, especially if you’re doing a long stretch of work and haven’t really had any human interaction for quite some time (i’m always so guilty of this!)

let me know in the comments if you have any other useful tips to get the most out of working from home or from a tiny space! thank you to philips hue for sponsoring this blog post, and for helping us make the most of our space with our very own personalized lighting system!

  1. Mollie

    I have found that leaving to take breaks is definitely the most helpful for me when I’m working from home… otherwise I will go crazy! It’s nice to just get out to do anything when you are sometimes working by yourself. Love all of these great tips. Maybe next time I will actually get dressed and not wear my pjs all day :)

    xoxo Mollie
    www,molliebellezza.com

  2. As a newish blogger, this is seriously so helpful! You guys do an awesome job of making this look easy.

    Xo, brittany
    Weeekend links + steals on my blog today!
    http://Www.notablob.com

  3. Rena

    I think it is definitely essential to be dressed proper on such days! At least I do this always when working from home :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  4. Working from home is such a tough balance that I feel like after 6 years, I still haven’t mastered. But I do agree getting dressed and not working from bed makes all the difference in the world!

    Paige
    http:///thehappyfammily.com

  5. Jessica

    While my husband and I don’t work together, we do both work from home. It is so fantastic, and we both feel so fortunate that we get to do so!

    I definitely agree with getting dressed. I try always to get up, shower, and dress before the kids are up, which really helps to set the tone for my day. (I know of someone else who always wears shoes while working at home!)

    I also agree that getting out is really nice. We’re fortunate to have a dedicated office space in our home, but we still like to get out and work elsewhere several times a week. Dedicated working hours are also important! It’s easy to walk away when I’m finished since we do have a dedicated office space, but I’m not great about not checking emails on my phone But ever since one of my two-year-olds kept constantly checking his toy cell phone in the middle of his play, my husband and I are both trying to be better about it ;)

  6. Julia

    I don’t know why, but I love all of your recent post so much, and this one especially!
    It’s was really helpful for a at home-worker with the same small space “problem”.

    What’s helping me a lot is to change my working-location WITHIN the apartment once in a while during the day, especially if you have to do a lot of work in one sitting. At the beginning it was really hard for me to work on the couch during the day and find relaxtion at the same spot in the evening. So I’m moving every once in a while: From the couch to the kitchen table, to the bedroom, to the balcony etc. One might think that it’s distracting getting used to different work places during work, but it’s not, it really gives me new motivation! :)

    All the best,
    Julia

    http://www.luvterpaper.com

  7. I work from home too and it definitely is a challenge even though I don’t work for myself. Getting out is so good, sometimes it’s hard to leave my comfy home to work in a coffee shop chair but it is nice to have a change of scenery and then when i get home i feel like i can check out of work mode. :)

  8. Teresa

    These are great tips! I work from home too and having a designated place AND keeping things away from the kids has really helped me.
    Thanks for sharing
    xoxox
    Teresa

    http://www.aleandtere.com

  9. Julie

    Hi Taza, I am totally with you when it comes to not being too much in front of my computer with the little ones so when I blog I do it in the evening after they have gone to bed. Otherwise I use my phone when they are not around me. I enjoy working from home but if my blogging became more serious I would be tempted to work outside my own walls for a bit of a breathe and a change of scenery.I like the idea of using smart lights, something I never thought about. Thanks for sharing the idea, I will look into it. Have a gorgeous sunny weekend. In London, we are still waiting for the nice days to be with us…:( Julie xx

    http://www.jafinthebox.com

  10. Alexandra

    Do you have separate monitors or designated desk space? I work from home in a small city loft and struggled to get my desk set up right with a minimalist aesthetic (why are ergonomic chairs so bulky?!), I’m super curious how you would set this up in a small space.

  11. megan

    This is such great advice! Whether you are doing school work, actual work or just stuff around the house, it can be hard to work at home. Having the right lighting is definitely a pivotal part of being productive around the house! And it’s a great mood lifter as well. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I agree with geeting dressed and also going outside for breaks which helps to keep my energy levels up in the afternoon. Having background music also helps me focus and blur any noise.

    http://Www.citruslove.com

  13. Kellie

    I feel like this is a silly question, but do both of you work solely on this blog as your jobs?

  14. Sandy

    I so agree with you on lighting! Will definitely check out Philips Hue for my home! As for working all day with my husband – we’d drive each other mad!

  15. Daniela

    Love all these ideas! I have found that good email management really helps me stay on top of work, but not feel anxious when I have to put work away to spend time with the kiddos. For example, I dedicate about 10 minutes every few hours to either delete, label and archive or star emails for later. This way, I never have more than a few emails in my inbox and when I do have time to sit down and do work, I immediately know what needs my attention first!

  16. Audrey

    That is great that you can both work from home, and work as a team! I imagine it would be difficult to stay on top of everything and maintain a solid work/life balance when your family and work life are so intertwined. You both seem to make it work so well!

    https://jonandaudadventure.wordpress.com/

  17. I loved this post. I’m just now starting a blog full time with 4 kids at home. These tips are really helpful! How do you maintain a steady schedule with all the kiddos doctor appointments, play dates, school assembly’s, field trips, etc. though? I really struggle maintaining a consistent time to work since their days switch SO drastically.

  18. Irene Waltz

    Hi To You Both,
    I really love this post. I am a technology teacher and have used your travel “little films” in conjunction with teaching Google My Maps. I had the students attempt to see and hear all the various technologies. I appreciate that you write about all of the planning that goes into all of it. Thank you.

  19. This is very helpful… I like to stay in my bed only because my son is always playing on the living room/kitchen area. My bedroom is the quietest place in our apt. Unless he is sleeping, then I love the kitchen because of the light. Thank you for sharing this. Xx – Fernanda
    https://blogmeandthecity.wordpress.com/

  20. Maureen

    I’ve worked from home for more than forty years – before it was a thing – and also raised my children while doing so. You’ve hit on all of the most important tricks. Get up early. Get dressed. Maintain business hours. Don’t stay on your phone until the wee hours. Go out to lunch or take a walk every day. Use the best computers you can afford and put everything away every day. Love your work!

  21. Lucy Aiken

    Hi Naomi! I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while. I was just wondering if you are wearing extensions in these photos, and if so what kind?

  22. Amanda

    Great post! Working from home without an office space can be challenging. I’m wondering how you do it with the littles around? I know you said you switch off with Josh, but do you go into another room or have a “no bugging mommy for this amount of time” rule? Do you typically work on the couch or set up at the dining table? I always get way more done working at a table so I can sit up straight. Thanks for your ideas!

  23. Maridith Lane

    Not much to add to this post, but your hair looks SO cute! It also looks really long. Did you get extensions?

    Also – ALL THE HEART EYES with those stickers on your laptop. It’s so sweet seeing little reminders of our kiddos woven throughout every little aspect of our lives :)

  24. Great and very useful tips! Having and keeping up with a program is the key!

  25. I used to work from home until I had to get an office space to hire people, but I found that changing up my routine helped me a lot. It helps with keeping me motivated and to stay on track!

  26. Don

    Excellent tips. I no longer work from home, but when I did, surprisingly your first tip, getting dressed, was the one that most affected me. I think there’s a psychological connection with “getting dressed for work” and productivity. Its like i was telling myself that it was go time. As opposed to meandering through the morning only to eventually get started. A clean house too…thats the other biggie. Thanks again for the post.

  27. Melissa

    I’ve worked from home since I can remember and the best advice is getting dressed. Its easy to forget you’re working when you’re in your pjs and making the effort to get dressed really makes you feel more profesh! Like my husband says work is for being clothes conference is for being in your underpants!

    http://www.melodramaticadventures.com

  28. Lauren Wessler

    Naomi,

    How do you describe your job to someone who asks? Like a stranger at the playground, for example? I’d love to know!

  29. Dana

    Awesome advice! Thank you so much for sharing. Any tips on working with kids around? I find it hard to concentrate and get work done while they are awake. :/

  30. Kaitlin Taylor

    I love these tips! I don’t work from home, but I do have to bring work home sometimes. I also enjoy photography, but don’t want to spend forever staring at my computer when others are around.

    Do you have any tips for arranging your small space in general? With 3 kids in a 2 bedroom, how do you decide what to keep, how to place furniture, etc.? When I do have to rearrange, I don’t want to get rid of the piano, so I’d love any tips!

  31. Hannah

    Do you have hair extensions?!

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