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Thursday, April 28, 2011

How To Have Style And Work From Home

As a freelance writer, I do most of my work at home. Occasionally, like today, I leave the house to cover a story or event, but most of the time I'm on my couch, out on my deck, or in my office tapping away on my laptop. I don't have coworkers. Clients don't pop in to say hi during lunch. My boss isn't scrutinizing my every move. It's great. I know there are a lot of people like myself (20-somethings with limited budgets but a sense of style) who work from home doing creative jobs like writing, graphic design, web design, editing, consulting, etc.

A big obstacle when you work from home can be getting yourself in the work mindset. When you leave the house to go to a job, you know how to dress for that environment. But when you work at home and your spouse and dog (in my case) and maybe the librarian and barista down the street are the only people on a given day who will see your clothes, how do you help yourself feel pulled together, professional, and comfortable?

  • Get yourself in the right frame of mind to work. I personally can't stay in pajamas all day, even if I'm not leaving the house. When I shower and get dressed (even in jeans and a tank top) I feel an automatic shift in how I perceive the day: I'm ready to work. Lounging time is over.
  • Organize your clothes. This is something I plan to do very soon because not having my clothing organized is proving to be a problem. When you can easily see what your options are, you can make faster choices and more creative choices when getting dressed.
  • On that note-- clean out your closet. Seriously. Another thing I'm doing ASAP. If you aren't in love with a piece, haven't worn it in ages, and can't picture it being worn 3 or 4 different ways, it might be time to say goodbye and make room for something new.
  • Add accessories. I used to think it was silly to wear accessories if I was just staying at home, but since I've started doing it, I feel more in that work mindset I talked about before. It's sometimes just the simple act of putting yourself together that helps push you in the right direction. I put a little bit of makeup on everyday, too. It takes me only a couple of minutes, but again, it's the act of getting myself ready that moves me into work mode.
  •  Schedule out-of-house appointments a few times a week. I'm a regular library visitor and errand runner, and my flexible schedule makes it easy for me to leave the house when others are working still. Knowing that I have somewhere to go a few days a week (work related or not) helps me dress with more purpose. Even a coffee date or a doctor's appointment does the trick.
  • Take yourself seriously. Sometimes when you work from home, others don't understand what you do. I don't sit around watching TV and painting my nails all day. I write (for pay), seek out new jobs and clients, read blogs and articles to learn how to expand my business, and I even took an 8 week magazine writing e-class. Just because other people don't understand what it's like to work from home doesn't mean you shouldn't take yourself seriously. Dress in a way that makes you feel confident about your work and yourself; it will show others that you're stylish, hard-working, and smart.
Do you work from home? If so, how do you dress?

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