Whether you’re a WFH veteran or just learning how to balance working with the constant desire to pet your dog, everybody has settled on the same agreement: your success lies in having a routine. This is true across so many parts of life too, routine is key. This article will explore my ideal work from home schedule as a photographer, to work around my most productive times.
Home offices through the years
I’ve had a home office for years – though it took many different forms. My first ever home office was a beat up sideboard that had seen better days, built out of cheap MDF board and a little wobbly. But it held my papers and even a money jar of client money (before I had a business bank account) and it helped to start making my dreams come true.
Latter years saw a long custom desk in the bedroom that was never cleared off and functioned more for style than actual function. I could never find what I was looking for, and the height wasn’t right for neither a normal chair nor barstool and because it was in the bedroom, well, I ended up working in bed a lot.
Until our most recent home, where the stipulation was that I need a room for an office – and I sure got it. In the form of a tiny made-for-kids room, I found the perfect, and I mean PERFECT sized office space that I’m obsessed with today.
So remember: if you’ve been working from home for a short period of time, it may take a while to find the system that works exactly for you. But now my home office and routine have proven to be the staple in the success of my career.
So what does a day look like?
My standard pre-pandemic work from home schedule:
Though I was working from home exclusively before the pandemic, my schedule hasn’t changed too much – but I’ll share both variations. It’s important to remember this: what an ideal schedule is for me, will likely be different from yours. This simply provides insight to see that there’s different ways to write a schedule, and none of them are wrong.
- 7:30 Wake up (I set an alarm, but usually wake up a few minutes before it). Change clothes. Hit the computer for the daily crossword.
- 8:00 Begin morning work tasks (varied depending on the day!)
- 10:00 Shower, eat, play with Chaucer
- 11:15 Daily work task (changes every day from website update to bank refresh!)
- 1:00 Internet Goof-Off break (“research”, social media, pinterest, etc)
- 2:00 Finish daily tasks + write tomorrow’s to-do list
- 3:00 House break – thrifting, groceries, errands, etc
- 5:30 Dinner + Rest of evening. Potentially more projects depending on the day.
Seems pretty simple right? While I absolutely love getting up at 6/6:30, my body doesn’t naturally enjoy it – so I commit to my natural 7:30.
But how has this scheduled changed since the quarantine?
My standard pandemic work from home schedule:
- 7:30-8:00 Wake up (I wake up naturally now, with NO alarm. Typically right around 7:40) Change into office clothes (lounge pants and sweatshirt). Daily Instagram post, if applicable. Make the bed.
- 8:00 Feed Chaucer + take her outside.
- 8:30 Make food of some sort (waffles, yogurt bowl, etc). Do a quick tidy of the living spaces.
- 9:00 Begin morning work tasks (writing blog posts, updating web, emails, etc)
- 11:00 Food (usually pizza made of naan breads!). Outside break (a walk around the block, or running in the field near my house with Chaucer).
- 1:00 Back to daily work tasks. When completed, internet goof-off time
- 5:30 Shower, dinner, and rest of evening. Possibly more projects depending on the day.
The “rest of evening” often consists of a little TV, a yoga practice right before bed, and sleeping by 9:30.
Then wash, rinse, repeat.
Why this schedule works for me – and possibly not for you.
There are a lot of people who feel that getting up at 8 is waking up late – I’ve never felt that way. I had to wake up pretty dang early for jobs in the past, and yet it feels natural to me. I’ve found that waking up around this time has led to the most creativity, to the most focused brain I can possibly have, and this is especially heightened by letting my body wake up naturally.
However, if you’re somebody whose body will let them sleep in until 12, this might not be the best choice for your productivity. Or, maybe it is? If you worked 2-10 your whole life, maybe a schedule where you wake up at 12 and go to sleep at 12 is truly the best thing for you. Really, the goal here is to be so self-reflective on the effects of your habits that you can write a schedule you feel comfortable with every single day.
Also, it’s clear to note that I don’t have children running around my house – and that’s a huge game changer when it comes to what your schedule would look like. So having a very laissez-faire attitude about when you eat and go outside might be the key to keeping your sanity.
I want this to be your freedom to build a schedule that works for you. It can be overwhelming to see the amount of people who suggest “wake up early!”, “get all dolled up!” and other things that just might not work for you. Remember to take bits and pieces of advice from people, and incorporate them into what you want your day to look like.
There are some days that it’s extremely hard to focus, so I drop my whole afternoon for a lengthy walk or cleaning of the house. There are some days that I’m so focused I don’t change my clothes in the morning and wear what I slept in all day. It’s okay to have off-kilter processes some days.
How has building a work from home schedule as a photographer been for you? Start a discussion with your fellow peers below!