I’ve often heard people comment that working from home isn’t for everyone. And I agree. It’s probably the reason why self-employed freelancers are still quite a unique lot!
Numerous distractions can lure you away from your laptop when you work from home.
And no matter how hard you try, it’s almost impossible to replicate an office environment since you’re working pretty much alone. No brainstorming sessions with your teammates or coffee breaks with the colleagues.
Still, there is a bright side to working from home that we cannot ignore.
For starters, you don’t have to worry about missing your ride to work or long commutes and there’s ample flexibility to plan your day the way you want to.
Oh, and not to forget, no bosses are watching your every move!
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WORK FROM HOME EXPERIENCE
Many are averse to the idea of working remotely from home, simply because they are used to getting up, getting ready and going to work.
However, when circumstances force us to stay indoors such as the current lockdown period and there is no choice but to work remotely, how then can you ensure that you stay productive and focused, for most of your workday for the foreseeable future?
Here are some simple tips and techniques to get you organised and maximise your efficiency so you can get your best work done, at home.
(These tips are based on my 14+ years of writing experience of working from home.)
Prepare a Daily To-Do List
Considering that you’re the one wholly responsible for your discipline and productivity when you work from home, a good habit is to jot down a list of tasks you need to accomplish in a day.
When you make a schedule for yourself and set your priorities, you can easily stay on top of things without getting overwhelmed.
This way, you will be able to make time for not only your work, con-calls and zoom meetings but also figure out when to catch up on your other responsibilities at home.
And if you want to jumpstart your mornings and minimize delays, consider preparing your list the night before, so you get to your first task, nice and early.
Though there are numerous tools available online to help manage your schedule, there is nothing wrong with going back to basics.
Consider using the humble pen and paper to prepare your daily schedule or a chalkboard if that works for you.
Start Your Day Right
It’s been rightly said that well begun is half done!
To ace, your work from home life, start your day with the right frame of mind. Try to wake up at the same time every day and keep some time aside for a few stretches or light exercises.
I am a big fan of Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home, a no-fuss Walking Workout. It’s a great way to get yourself moving.
Next, take a refreshing shower, indulge in a hearty breakfast and preferably, get dressed for work.
That’s right, just because you are now working from home doesn’t mean you should lounge in your PJs all day long!
Having said that, the idea is to wear clothes that support and inspire you to do your best work, not make you feel lethargic or sleepy.
When you dress for work, you automatically put yourself in a no-nonsense ‘get-things-done’ zone, which is essential to working remotely. If you can still do this in your pyjamas, who am I tell you otherwise 🙂
Designate an Office Space
Now that you’re going to be working from home for a considerable amount of time, find a space that can double up as your workspace.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll need a spot that is bright, cheerful and relatively distraction-free so you can improve your focus and get your best work done.
Find a comfortable table and chair or convert that spare room into your temporary office. Heck, you can even work at your dining table from time to time when it’s relatively quieter.
The idea is to settle down in a space where you can sit comfortably, concentrate and get working.
Now that you have space figured out, how about finding the right sound?
The White Noise Generator is a handy app that lets you choose a background sound of your choice – raindrops, bonfire, winds, chirping birds, forest/nature, lightning — get the drift?
There’s even the sound of a moving car for those of you who are missing the feel of your car or the chitter-chatter of a coffee house if you’re craving missing your days of working while grabbing a hot coffee!
Another great way to keep your motivation up is to practice mindfulness.
The moment you feel you’re slipping into a negative frame of mind or worrying about the uncertain future, snap out of it and tell yourself, “this too shall pass.”
Take Regular Breaks
When you work from home, it is easy to lose track of time. Sitting too long in front of your laptop can cause aches and pains and inevitably reduce your productivity.
A great way to break this cycle is to take planned breaks throughout your workday with the help of the Pomodoro Timer.
During your break, get up and walk, have a healthy snack and drink some water. Stretch your arms, spend time with the family and then come back refreshed.
In these uncertain times, it is especially important to stay healthy, energetic and positive so make sure you get plenty of sleep every night.
And if you start to feel overwhelmed by your work schedule, responsibilities at home and the general discomfort that the present situation is posing, stop whatever you’re doing.
Take a few deep breaths and feel your nerves settling in.
Take a look at Daily affirmations and positive quotes by Louise Hay.
Make Time for Family and Friends
By now, you probably already know that working remotely, without a support group or team can get a bit monotonous.
Though social distancing is now the new norm for the foreseeable future, you can always keep in touch with the people who matter to you digitally.
Keep the feeling of isolation and boredom at bay; connect with your family, friends, peers and colleagues regularly.
Lend a compassionate ear to those who need it and let those you care about know that you’re there for them, albeit remotely!
And in between all the craziness that is going on, don’t forget to indulge in self-care from time to time.
Check out this infographic on how to enhance your life and time at home
Remote Working / Working from Home During the CoronaVirus Outbreak
Let’s face it; our lives have changed drastically and abruptly. And whether we like it or not, staying home and working from home is the best thing we can do to keep ourselves and others safe.
Considering that it will take several weeks, if not months for things to stabilize and get back to ‘normal’, it is time to organise your life and set a fresh routine that will help you to stay productive and make the most of working from home.
And remember, if there are days when you falter and deviate from your schedule or feel like you’re not getting everything done, don’t be hard on yourself. Just try again the next day.
I hope my recommendations above help you to stay motivated, organised and happy during these times of uncertainty.
What are you doing to make working from home, work for you? Tell me about it in the comments section below!