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25 Aug

working from home 101: get dressed


as of june 26, 2013, I left the office. I quit my corporate job to pursue my business, inspiralized. with that, I said goodbye to morning commutes, conference rooms, coworkers, lunch breaks and …. an office.

my office started off as my bedroom. yes, true story – for about a year and a half, I spent 90% of my life in my bedroom. I’d wake up, make the bed, wash my face, make coffee, walk Lu out the door and then go back to our bedroom, where my desk was. it was excruciating.

finally, we bought a desk at IKEA and we placed it in the living room, which is where the kitchen is. now, my office is the living room and kitchen (which makes sense, because I need to cook for my blog.)

long story short, I’m someone who works from their home. from this, I’ve adapted to this change of pace and have a few pointers for those of you who may also work from home or simply struggle with being productive when you work remotely.

my first pointer? treat your home like an office, not your home.

wake up like you’re going to an office.

when I first started working from home, my friends would say, “do you just work out of your pajamas? I’m so jealous!” and yes, I was living in my pajamas – well, black yoga pants and a tank top or ratty t-shirt, to be exact. when I was first adjusting to a work-from-home environment, it didn’t make sense to “get dressed.” what was the point? no one was going to see me, but me!

about 6 months into working from home, I was noticing odd habits starting to form. I was becoming messier, letting my workspace become cluttered and disorganized. I was pushing off meetings in person and opting for phone calls. once, I even cancelled a Skype call. why? because I didn’t feel like doing my hair and changing my outfit (well, at least the top, ha!) I also felt myself becoming lazy with work related errands – not having the “energy” to run across the street to mail a package or deposit an important check.

then it hit me: I wasn’t treating my home like my office, when that’s exactly what it is: my office.

recognizing that and making a mental shift to treat my home like my office was key in becoming a more productive, energized working professional.

would you wear your pajamas to work? no.
would you go to work without looking as polished as possible? no.

when you’re starting off in the working world, whether it’s a new position at a new company or simply an internship during your college summers, you always hear, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

well, I want to be a professional, fierce, driven business woman and a culinary star. I want to work with exciting brands and people to bring positive, inspirational content to the world.

I can’t do all that from my pajamas, now can I?

what if the director of the Food Network randomly Facetimed me for an impromptu interview for my very own cooking show? okay, that’s a little far-fetched, but you catch my drift, right?

always be ready for success – physically and mentally.

start with one physical change

first off: get dressed. I’m telling you, it makes a world of difference.

then: start with one “physical” change. I’m not saying you need to put on full makeup, stilettos and a power suit to work from home. it’s okay to reap the benefits of having the luxury to work from the comforts of our home, but there’s a fine line.

the first change I made was doing my hair and putting on mascara. while Lu showers and gets ready for work, I take about 10 minutes to “do” my hair. I have naturally curly-wavy hair, so when it’s more tamed and straight, I feel less anxious and unorganized. that’s me, so find your one physical change and make it – you’ll notice a shift in confidence and less chaos during the day.

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before you finish your first cup of coffee, make sure you’re dressed and your workspace is cleared.

whenever I get that itch to be lazy and just stay in my nightshirt all day, I tell myself this: what if my old boss was to knock on my door right now? how would I want him to find me? looking organized, composed and polished? or disheveled and sloppy?


do you struggle with working from home? or, do you have some of your own tips for working from home?

  • Sarah

    Love this! I agree-getting dressed is crucial when working from a home office. It helps replicate a "commute" from home mode to work mode. And when the work day is over? I close down my computer, turn email off on my phone, and try to disconnect. That was a problem for me when I first started working from home-my "workday" was ALL DAY. All night, early morning-all of the time. It has been great to disconnect like that. Loved this blog!

    Sat September 12 at 1:00 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci


      Sat September 12 at 4:31 pm Reply
  • Karen Siegel

    Get in your morning WORKOUT! Before you can nurture your business you must TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Start your day with a clear mind, an energized body and your creativity will follow. For like-minded professionals check out Combine that with healthy ideas from INSPIRALIZED and you’ve got a recipe for SUCCESS.

    Sat September 12 at 1:41 pm Reply
  • CPM

    As someone who slovenly works from home…I think I need to take this advice!

    Great post, but I must ask…is not capitalizing the first words in sentences going to be a standard stylistic choice? To be honest, I love the content so far and want to read more, but I find that to be a big turnoff. It just doesn’t seem to match with your sophisticated brand!

    Sat September 12 at 2:52 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Sorry to hear you’re put off by it. This blog is a creative outlet for me, so it’s a big more casual in style. Hope you understand!

      Sat September 12 at 4:30 pm Reply
      • Cathy

        I tend to agree with CPM. This is your blog, but you emphasize being professional and yet the beginning of your sentences are not capitalized. It does not quite fit with the image. The content is great!

        Sat September 12 at 5:43 pm Reply
        • Carrie

          Perhaps this blog isn’t for you then!

          Sat September 12 at 6:00 pm Reply
          • Cathy

            This is just an opinion…as I said, the content is great.

            Sat September 12 at 7:34 pm
  • M

    I should do this… I look the same everyday working from home with yoga pants and a bun on top of my head :p

    Sat September 12 at 5:31 pm Reply
  • Alexandra Kelebay

    Ali, this is fantastic! This was a very timely post for me – as a PhD student, I also work mostly from home and I can totally relate to the sloppiness/disorganized factor that tends to creep up when I let my routine slide. These are amazing tips; I think I’m going to use them to make a daily reminder list for my fridge! 🙂

    Sat September 12 at 10:21 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Happy to hear it!

      Mon September 14 at 8:29 pm Reply
  • Krista

    Hi Ali, thanks so much for this post! I just started working from home full time, and going into it, I totally thought I’d have my act together setting a daily schedule, working out in the morning, getting dressed, and then going about my day with the utmost productivity. But the total opposite has happened. After my morning workout, I immediately start working and before I know it, the kitchen table (aka my desk) is a mess and it’s 5pm. My goal for this week is to take your advice and make one physical change like putting on make up. This was my must-do before going into my office job so why change it now? Looking forward to more posts with success tips like these! Awesome work on this blog — It’s beautiful!

    Mon September 14 at 12:20 am Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      I am so glad this post helped you!

      Mon September 14 at 8:26 pm Reply
  • Lisa Espinosa

    Thank you Ali for posting this. I just bought the inspiralizer and as I was perusing your Facebook page I saw your post about this blog. So I decided to check it out and I’m so glad I did. I also work from home and I could totally relate to what you wrote. I’m a life coach so on the days I see clients I do take time dressing for work (I have a consultation space in my home so clients come here) but the other days, which are also work days (writing my newsletter, planning my workshops etc) I don’t get dressed for work. I stay in my yoga pants and raggedy shirts. UGH. This week I got so tired of it. I realized I needed to go shopping and start dressing for work every day. Not corporate style but nicer and more professional than what I have been wearing. So your blog post was very timely. It also reminded me that I am not alone in this work from home thing. Thank you! Oh and I’m excited to get my inspiralizer.

    Fri September 18 at 12:53 am Reply
  • Kristie

    Yes! This is sooooo incredibly true. I’ve been working from home for a few years now and also went through the work in my pajamas phase. (This still happens sometimes. I have a toddler.) My first physical change (beyond getting out of my pajamas) was to put on makeup. Amazing how it makes me feel more confident and put together. EVEN if the only person I’ll see other than my kid is the mail lady, at least I won’t be in my polka dot pajama pants looking like the "before" picture in some undercover makeover show. (P.S. So excited to see your lifestyle blog starting up again. LOVE your spiralizer recipes and videos.)

    Sun April 3 at 2:51 am Reply
  • Eleanor Unger

    Hey, all of the readers and Ali! I’m a student and it’s really interesting for me to follow your posts. I’m doing both studying and working from home as an editor. To save my time I often use some sites like online service. Here I can read the reviews and order a perfect essay for college. Now I can make it more for my job. Thank you for everything and please keep it up!

    Tue December 18 at 1:20 am Reply

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