“There is no way I could ever live in a space that small.” I hear it all the time. 194 feet is small. My home is smaller than most offices! There are a lot of benefits of living in a tiny house (fewer expenses, the need to work less, and more mobility), but there are also concerns, primarily when you work from home. If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, here are a few tricks and tips to help you work from your tiny home without losing your sanity.
Where in your home are you going to work?
Working from home can be great, but you need to strategize to make the most of your space and not go stir crazy. Plan your area wisely. The first thing to do is carve out space where you can be productive. This can be tough if you live in 194 feet like I do. I don’t have a dedicated space for me to work, so I tend to work from three places: my kitchen table (a simple drop leaf), my daybed (my queen size bed becomes a sofa during the day), or the outside picnic table (when the weather is cooperative).
Where are you going to “store” your office?
Office supply storage can be an issue in a tiny house. Consider your vertical space. Do you have room for a fold up desk? Maybe there is space on the wall for a designated “office shelf” to store your laptop, files, books, and supplies when you are not working. I have a “home office” backpack. I store my laptop, tablet, chargers, notebooks, folders, scissors, tape, paperclips, stapler, pens….pretty much everything a small office would have. I even have a bar document scanner tucked away. I have everything I need and nothing more, all organized in one go-to tuck-away bag.
Clear Away Distractions
I am OCD, and before I even sit down to work, I make sure my tiny house is tidy and organized. I am easily distracted by any chaos. Everything needs to be in its place. Staying organized in a tiny house is essential. Putting things in their designated spot not only saves me from distraction, but it also saves me on clearing up time. One of the reasons I downsized to a tiny house was to help me manage my OCD. Having few things means fewer things to obsess about. You can read more about that here. If you have to shovel off a seat and push around stuff on a table to carve out some workspace, you may have trouble staying focused. It can also become frustrating when you can’t find something. If your work requires you to take calls or video conferences, you want your home to look presentable. You don’t want your boss and colleagues to look behind you and see the dirty dishes in the sink. If you are distracted by the neighborhood kids playing outside, invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
Set Yourself Up for Success
In preparation for work, I make sure I have everything I need to be comfortable. I make a cup of tea and put on some soft background music. I open a window for some fresh air, I make sure the temperature is comfortable but not too warm. Otherwise, I might want to nod off. I like to throw on my slippers and light a candle in my favorite fragrance.
How Do You Work Best?
Are you the most productive in the morning or the afternoon? Knowing your productivity rhythm can help you make the most of your time. I am definitely the most productive in the mornings. I have no problem plowing through the morning. However, in the afternoons, I need to break more often. One thing you might consider is the Pomodoro Technique. LifeHacker, explains the Pomodoro Technique in this way, “…when faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals (called “Pomodoros”) that are spaced out by short breaks. This trains your brain to focus for short periods and helps you stay on top of deadlines or constantly-refilling inboxes. With time it can even help improve your attention span and concentration.” Remember, working from home means you have the freedom to take breaks when you need them.
Use the Outdoors
No matter how organized our tiny houses are, it is still a small space. Sometimes we just need to get outside. Take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine. Working outside can curb the stir-craziness we sometimes feel after being holed up in a tiny space. Working outside can be that attitude adjuster we just might need. Pick a calm day (so your papers don’t fly everywhere) in a shaded area (to reduce eye strain) to set up shop. Add a portable speaker to play music.
The Benefits of Working From Home
There are a plethora of benefits of working from home. For a start, it’s easy, and I don’t have to spend time commuting, therefore saving money on gas. I don’t have to trudge out in bad weather. I tend to be more productive, and I appreciate the flexibility. I have control over my environment, my work life/home life is better balanced, and I can work from the comfort of my home when I am feeling under the weather. I don’t have to get caught up in office gossip, and I can take advantage of the sunshine on beautiful days.
I find working at home to be a blessing, but I have taken the time to make my space work for me, rather than against me. Do you live in a tiny house and work from home? What do you enjoy about it? What do you not like about it? What tricks and tips do you have? Please let me know in the comments below.
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