Tips for Working from Home
Working from home has it’s perks, though most of those perks have been diminished now that we are self-isolating all day, every day. It also has it’s challenges.
It can be hard to stay focused, ignore distractions, and get into ‘work-mode.’
It can also be hard to stick to a routine, set boundaries, and separate work and home life.
I’ve tried a lot of different strategies over the last few years, but when I stick to the following tips, I am more productive and creative at work and happier and healthier in my personal life. Win-Win.
- Get dressed in the morning – it can be tempting to roll right out of bed and stay in your pajamas all day. Getting dressed is an external cue to get into work mode. I’m honest, I usually just change into “fancier” lulu’s, but it’s the act that counts.
- Keep (or start) a morning routine – I hate mornings. I used to get up 10 minutes before I had to leave the house and spend 5 of those checking emails and social media. It can be tempting to pop open your laptop and fire off a few emails while you’re in the bathroom or wolfing down breakfast, but it’s so important to take some time for you in the morning. Go for a walk, stretch it out, eat a hearty breakfast without staring at a device. This is your time, even if it’s just a few minutes.
- Schedule your day – you typically have less structure (or at least accountability) when you’re working from home, so you need to create it. Every morning, or sometimes the day before, I plan out my day in 30-60 minute chunks. 60 minute uninterrupted time for larger, creative tasks and 30 minutes for lower-level tasks like email. My start and end times vary day to day, but once I’ve scheduled them I stick to them unless something really important comes up. Work will always fill the time you give it. It will be there for you tomorrow, or the next day.
- Create a dedicated workspace – I am lucky to have a home office, but I know many do not. Try to find a space that for this period is just for work. If you can’t, put your work stuff out of sight at the end of the day. Whatever you do, do not work from bed!
- Take breaks – you’d take breaks at the office, it’s ok to take breaks at home too. The benefit is my breaks tend to be more productive than gossiping with my coworkers. I go for a walk, cuddle with my cats, do the dishes – something that takes my mind away from work for a few minutes so I can get back feeling refreshed and focused. The key is to actually get up from your workspace (i.e don’t just open up Facebook or the news). Check out this post on managing Pain and Posture while Working From Home
What are your tips for working from home? What do you struggle with when your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder? The most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself during this transition – it’s new territory for most and can take some time to get the hang of it!