It’s been estimated that over 35 million Americans move each year. I was one of these people. While I’ve moved many times before, this was a little more difficult.
Moving means taking care of all of the “moving fun,” like packing, purging, loading up items in a truck, unloading the truck, and unpacking. It can also be a complete lifestyle change. No longer living close to friends and family changes your social life, making it completely different. And, because I work from home, this move also meant finding a way to stay productive while all of this change was going on.
You will want to move as easily as possible — and still keep up with your work — by following these eight tips to stay productive when moving.
1. Time can be on your side when moving.
Unless it’s an emergency, like a natural disaster or a time-sensitive job opportunity — there’s no need to rush before, during, and after your big move. In fact, if you know well in advance about your upcoming move, prepare carefully. Understand that there’s no point in waiting until the last minute, then having to be in a mad rush at the end. Taking and planning your time wisely will help you stay productive when moving.
Around one month before you pack up and leave, create a schedule on your calendar.
Calendar when you will start boxing-up your personal belongings. Try packing up when you’re done writing for the day, and pack for an hour or so daily. Also, include packing for several hours on the weekends. I started packing the things that I wasn’t currently using. For instance, I moved just after the holidays so warm weather items — like lightweight clothing could be packed away first.
When moving into a new place, you can also take your time unpacking.
I didn’t worry about all of the light-weight clothing yet. Focus on unpacking the essentials first, like bedding and work items. Calendar how to follow the same schedule in reverse, as you did when you were packing-up in the first place. Start by taking an hour or two after work and using the weekends to unpack.
Moving isn’t the easiest of tasks for people who can’t stand the sight of boxes.
Boxes, blank walls, and wanting to feel like you’re “home,” isn’t instantaneous in a move. Rushing around doesn’t make your move any smoother. Moving in a frenzy makes things more complicated — since you’re more likely to haphazardly toss items in boxes. Then these boxes probably won’t be labeled — which also means you can’t find them when you’re unpacking.
Bonus tip: As you’re packing, purge what you no longer need. There will be a bunch of clothes that you no longer wear — so drop them off at Goodwill. That’s one less thing to worry about packing and unpacking.
2. Focus on the bare necessities.
As you begin to box-up your items, create a specific box or two that contain your essential items and keep those with you. I would even say to make sure those couple of boxes are always in sight.
These are the boxes that you pack and unpack first. Since you work from home — this first box should include items that you need for work like your computer. As for personal items, limit personal items to only your bedding, coffeemaker, and important documents. Items like these and your passport really want to ride up front with you — make them comfy up front.
If you are moving your pet with you — you’ll want a separate box that includes their pet food and supplies. You may want a quick stop at the vet at least a month before you take off. My pet needed some “anti-anxiety” something. I didn’t know this, and It would have been a rough trip without the extra help. This was last minute for me — but you’ll want to take care of this early. This was a last minute suggestion from a friend. Really — do this, take your pet to the vet and do whatever they tell you to do.
Although it won’t fit in a single box — remote workers should also make sure that one of the first things they unpack and set-up is their workspace.
You can work from the kitchen table when you first get there, and the couch is always an option. But you know from experience as a freelancer — the couch can become a habit that you don’t want to keep. This means quickly get your workspace set up. A desk, a chair. Have your chair early, and place essential work items in your new workspace, before going to bed the first night.
Focus on just the necessities. This relieves the stress of moving since you don’t have to worry about unpacking everything in one swift move. You have the essential items that you need to survive. Now you can remain productive at work — so everything else can wait to be unpacked.
3. Prepare. You cannot prepare too much.
Because you know you’ll lose a couple of days of work, or not be able to write as many articles per day — it’s essential to prepare in advance. Packing and moving take time — employ your best productivity hacks. This means cranking out as many articles before the move. Also, outline several other articles, so that after moving you can dive right back into writing, even while you are a little distracted. You can’t do this if you don’t already have something planned and outlined. You’ll be too distracted.
As a courtesy — let your clients know about the move so that they don’t you’re being lazy or blowing them off.
Besides work — line-up friends to help you move your boxes into your new place. Most friends or family have to schedule a time to get off work to help you. You may not have the help you need if you’ve waited until the last minute to ask for help.
4. Don’t freak out. Have a backup plan.
No matter how organized and prepared you are, the expected will always happen. In this case, the internet didn’t work.
It seemed that everything was up-and-running, but I just couldn’t get connected to the internet. Did I wanna freak out? Absolutely. But, you won’t freak out — you’ll take a deep breath and get over to your backup plan. All of this backup information should be on your calendar. Your calendar will have the plan — and the backup plan.
For starters, if you’re moving to the same town as a couple of friends, ask if it would be a problem if you need to work from their home — if a problem occurs. However, not having the internet connection figured out was a problem. They pointed me in the direction of a couple of nearby coffee shops where I could set-up shop.
Don’t have any local guides? Just search Google to see if they are any co-working spaces or coffee shops near your new residence.
Next, if you can’t get online yet — you can’t use your computer.
However, you can still stay productive. Maybe you can’t write — but you can use your phone to outline articles through the Drive app. In this way, you can work on tasks — like revising your to-do-lists and answering emails. Also, use this time to organize your workspace.
Also, use this time to get some errands done, like going to the grocery store, filling the fridge, find your dry cleaners, and anything else on you’ll list of things you’ll need later. Maybe hang up your favorite piece of art, even if it’s in the wrong location so that your place looks vaguely familiar to you. If you get all of your extra things done, you’ll be able to sit down and write when you’re back online.
As a freelancer — having a schedule is imperative. Otherwise, not much work will be done. Your mind may be all over the place and it can be hard to focus. Having a daily schedule ensures that you can focus on your most important priorities for the day.
When you move, unfortunately, your priorities may have to temporarily change.
Instead of waking-up, following my morning routine — and getting to work — you will have other priorities come up — like calling the internet provider. Then you’ll have to schedule with a technician to come out to your home. If you are a freelancer — you have to get back online.
Instead of writing an article in the morning, you may have to set up your workspace so that clutter doesn’t distract you. In-between articles you’ll have to change your address through the USPS. Remember your last visit to the DMV? Of course, you do — they never let you forget it.
Have this list on your calendar — update your license, while stopping at the grocery store, stock-up your home with healthy snacks.
It may throw you for a loop for a couple of days — if not a bit longer. Once you cross-off these priorities from your to-do-list — you can go back to the priorities you established prior to moving.
6. Update your schedule.
Like establishing priorities, you also need to have a set schedule so that you know exactly what you’re going to do on each day. Maybe you get a slow down about midday every day. Sometimes moving and all you have to do can be a slight adjustment. If you’re moving across time zones — you’ll have to get used to the new time. Create a new routine for when you wake up and go to bed — and you’ll likely have to make time for business and your family in the new area.
To avoid a catastrophe, I’ve had to change my schedule.
You may have to shuffle your schedule around to accommodate your new lifestyle. This can be good for you to help you get on with your life.
7. Create a workspace that you love.
Between all of the unpacking and getting your new space put together — your home will look like a disaster. This can be a serious problem when you work from home. When you have a cluttered and disorganized workspace — it’s harder to focus and remain productive. It’s also much harder to stay positive and out of depression.
Besides getting your bed together — one of the first things is that critical workspace. Cleaned out a space on the counter and neatly placed everything you need to do your work.
Have a list on your calendar — such as laptop, pens, and post-its.
Pick a specific area, possibly in front of a window, unless that will distract you too much. But determine you’ll get plenty of exposure to natural light. Studies show that both of these can increase your workplace performance.
8. Make the most of working from home.
Does working from home have its problems? Sure. There are definitely days when you’ll be more tempted to watch Netflix than write. Also, it can get pretty lonely.
At the same, you’ll love working from home. You won’t have to worry about a commute — or getting distracted from coworkers.
To make the most out of working from home, create a workspace that you truly love. I also have a balcony so I can go outside and write when it’s nice. Because I have a flexible schedule — I can take breaks in-between articles. For me, this means listening to a podcast on the beach or taking my dog for a walk through the park.
To combat loneliness, make plans for my friends to show up at your place or meet them in town. Sometimes I just go out on my own and explore. All of these preparations have let me live the entrepreneur life I’ve wanted and the freedom to make fantastic — unusual life choices.