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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!

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How to Stay Focused While Working from Home | Business Post | Maison’s Top 3 Tips.

July 7, 2015

I often get asked various questions along the lines of: “How do you motivate yourself working from home? How do you stay focused?” OR, get comments like, “It must be SO nice working from home! I can’t imagine the freedom!!” While yes, there are so many benefits to working from home that Caleb + I really strive to be aware of + not take for granted, there are also many difficulties that can come from working for yourself/from home!! Over the past two years, I have gone through a lot of ups + downs trying to figure out how to motivate myself + stay focused on the tasks I need to get done for the day while working from home!! I feel like I have finally started to figure out what works for ME, + so today I’m sharing these top three tips with YOU in hopes that others who work from home might also find one or two of them beneficial : )

1. Listen to music that you don’t know, or without words

This might seem kind of simple and/or obvious, however, for a long time, I didn’t listen to music while editing. *Something to note is that, at times, I can spend an entire 8-10 hour day at my computer editing, answering emails, + blogging. That is a LOT of time!! When I didn’t listen to music, I think that I would find myself being constantly distracted by other sounds around me–whether someone getting home, Vivian wandering/playing, + noises outside. The past few months, however, I have been listening to playlists on Spotify with songs that either either don’t have words or have songs that I don’t know!! It’s amazing what this music does to my mind (specifically when I don’t know the words/can’t sing along)–I swear it helps me to hone in + get SO much more done as I’m focused visually on what I am doing + not distracted by other/various changing sounds!! Just try it!!

2. Take Breaks

You HAVE to schedule breaks for yourself!! Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to sit at a desk for 8-10 hours straight without getting up or doing anything else!! Breaks are important + are what get me through my big work loads. Obviously, scheduled breaks will look different for everyone based on what type of work you are doing from home, but I’m still going to give an example of what I personally do in hopes that you can tweak it to your needs!!

I definitely take a break for lunch–usually it’s an hour break where I’ll eat + get outside for a period of time. Fresh air + sunshine do miraculous things for my productivity. Aside from lunch, I’ll set goals for myself–for example: “Once you finishing editing Nick + Alexi’s ceremony + bridal party portraits, you can go help Caleb with what he is doing for 15 minutes.” OR, “Once you finish answering all of your emails, you can go get a fresh cup of coffee!” Small things like this can be SO motivating!! Especially if you force yourself to WORK + do nothing else until your task is completed + you get your break!!

3. Remove distractions

This was HUGE for me. I am so, so, SOOOO easily distracted + was finding that it was taking me FOREVER to finish tasks that I wanted accomplish. Once Caleb + I started living together, he was quick to notice that I was surrounding myself with constant distractions. 

Ding! Text message.

Beep! New email.

Buzz! Facebook notification.

When I would hear those sounds, I would immediately look at whatever was grabbing for my attention. And again, being so easily distracted, I would just have to “quick” read that email or at least see what the FB notification was, you know what I’m saying?! HA. SUCH a waste of time! I would just be getting in a groove editing + then my attention would be pulled away + my brain had to start all over again.

Caleb showed me how to turn OFF all of my social media notifications on my phone AND on my laptop so that I wouldn’t be notified when someone commented on an Instagram photo or liked a post on Facebook!! Additionally, I now schedule my email time (once in the morning + once at night), + for the rest of the day, I have my email closed out/turned off so that I do NOT know when I’m getting new emails!! Say goodbye to distractions AND the stress that sometimes comes with seeing email after email after email coming in + feeling like you have to respond right away!! Removing these distractions from my daily grind has SERIOUSLY been a game changer! I swear I can get 10x more done now than I ever was able to before!!

I hope these top three tips on how to stay focused while working from home will be a blessing to those of you who are in the same boat as Caleb + I!! If you have any other ideas, PLEASE share them in the comments below!! Would love to hear!!!!

Photos from Andra + Brent's at-home anniversary session : ) You can see it here! Photos from Andra + Brent’s at-home anniversary session : ) You can see it here!

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  1. Ashley Durhan

    July 7th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Great tips! Although, I listen to music with lyrics – perk of working at home is singing (badly and off key) and no one is there to tell you knock off! Haha!!

  2. Maison Engel

    July 7th, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Haha, LOVE it, Ashley!!

  3. Kennedy

    July 7th, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    What about things like dishes and laundry etc?

  4. Maison Engel

    July 7th, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Hey lady 🙂

    Good question!! I’m lucky over here because that is part of Caleb’s job description working from home, however I have a few ideas for you! Before that, though, I think it’s important to know that just because you are working from home doesn’t meet that you are the one that has to do all of these chores! I still think it’s just as important to split them up between the two of you! Your job is just as demanding/important, even though you are working from home 🙂

    On to practicality! Hehe 🙂 I would schedule this time in your day. So either something like:
    1. You know you have to get x + y done today–once you get x done, then you will do a load of laundry, then you work on y. Once you get y done, then you vacuum! Etc.
    2. OR, I would designate a day or day(s) of the week for your specific household chores–maybe you know that every Tuesday, you only work until 1:00 PM + the rest of the day/afternoon is for things around the home!!

    Hope that helps!! xoxo!

  5. Kim

    July 8th, 2015 at 4:12 am

    Love your tips! I’ve tried scheduling certain times of the day for work, kids time and house duties but I easily get distracted when one over powers the others. Balance…..does it really exist?

  6. Maison Engel

    July 8th, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    It’s definitely a challenge, but I think it does exist!!!

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