With the arrival of 'The Beast from the East' I'm on day three of being snowed in and working from my sofa, and it's bringing back a lot of memories.

Not long after graduating I started my first business and was self employed for the next five years, which was wonderful! However, for me working from home was definitely not a perk.

I'm very much a people person and really struggled with working alone. The two worlds of home and work intertwined with no gaps in between, and I found myself feeling 'entrepreneurs guilt' if I didn't do work constantly.

It took me a whole year to realise a few things, so to anyone who's stuck working at home because of the snow here are my top tips! 

1. The point of being self employed is to be in control of your own life and have freedom. There's no need to feel guilty for not working all hours of the day!

2. Create a routine for yourself, a time to get up, a lunch break, divide your working hours into tasks e.g. Monday 9-10am emails; 10-11am social media scheduling; 11-12pm accounts. It splits up the day and really helps with productivity.

3. Don't do 'home' tasks within your work time. I'd often find myself doing washing or cleaning the bathroom when I probably should have been at my computer. Don't kid yourself - you're just procrastinating! You wouldn't go clean the office toilet in the middle of a working day would you?

4. Pick a time to finish work for the day and stick to it. Switch off the computer and phone (the emails will be there in the morning) and don't let the guilt get you. Your home time is just as important as your work, if not more so. Commit to it.

5. Break up your week with meetings, events, and go find local co-working spaces! They're a great way to meet new people in business, a change of scenery is good for the soul (and your sanity) and more often than not there's free coffee!

I really hope these help if you're just starting out your working-from-home journey. And for my shameless plug of the day we have FREE co-working space at Sunderland Software City / Digital Catapult Centre NETV. (And not only are there free hot-desks, wifi and coffee, there's also a beer fridge and more often than not food. Probably pizza.)

If you need that change of scenery get in touch and we'll give you the guided tour on your first visit!