Working from home is a change of routine for many of us right now. Humans thrive on routine and change often feels uncomfortable, especially when it catches us by surprise. Working from home can be a challenge with spouses, children, roommates, and pets distracting us. But, this post will take you through 10 vital tips and tricks to make things easier and maximize your productivity while working at home.
1. Have a “Gearing Up” Activity
Your morning commute probably used to be your gearing up for work activity. Working from home takes away that time that used to be built into our days where we mentally disconnect from our home and private lives and start to focus on our tasks at hand. Sometimes it’s daunting to have almost no buffer between our homebody-selves in our pajamas to our working role. Scheduling time in your morning routine to gear up for work by taking a walk around the block, walking a couple of laps around your yard, or writing out a quick work plan is a good way to give yourself that buffer time back. Gearing up tasks like this trigger the feelings of motivation and preparedness.
2. Ditch the To-Do List
A to-do list paired with sporadic waves of motivation is a popular yet ineffective work-from-home method. A to-do list paired with the time-blocking technique, however, is a recipe for success! On a piece of paper or in a digital notebook, write out a weekly schedule for yourself and use the time blocking method. Create a schedule that bears a resemblance to the routine you had before you began working from home. Include a block of time when you first wakeup to prepare yourself for your workday, the regular things like showering and eating. Then a short 5-20 minute “gearing up” activity. After this you should begin your work-day, starting with your most important task first. Plan your work-day for tomorrow at the end of every day so you can wake up without the ambiguous feeling of not knowing how to even begin working. Schedule in time to unwind and take care of your mind and body to avoid burning out!
3. Eat Snacks
Snacking while working or during breaks can keep our energy and focus high. A healthy snack to keep you going could be fruit, apple slices with cheese, or trail mix. A healthy lunch is important too to keep you going through the afternoon.
4. Put Away Your Phone
We have all accidentally gotten sucked into our phones for an hour when we intended to spend that time doing something else. This is especially evident during lockdown when our phones are so accessible. To prevent this situation from negatively impacting your work-day, turn your phone off and put it in a drawer before bed. When you wake up, don’t allow yourself to use your phone until the end of your work-day. If you don’t think you can go that long without checking your phone, start by not checking your phone until lunch when you’ve completed approximately half of your work-day. Be careful this doesn’t accidentally become the end of your work-day! Set a timer in your phone settings or with an app to limit your screen time at this point to be no more than half of your lunch hour – save time to eat too!
5. Optimize Your Workspace
Working from home is difficult if you don’t have the proper setup. Even if you don’t have a designated home office, you can improve the surface you’re working on to be more effective.
Tidy up. Clutter, side projects, and other items all distract us from the task at hand. Remove all unnecessary objects from your work surface and all of your favorite distractions out of the room. Out of sight, out of mind.
If possible, position yourself in front of a window. Natural light motivates us and lifts our mood. Avoid sitting directly in front of a wall or with an unnecessary screen in eyesight.
Set the mood. Try to pick a quiet space and warn your household that you’ll be working there. Put on headphones and listen to music without lyrics to stay on track. Light a candle to signify that work has begun, and blow it out when you are finished (or gone for a break).
6. Take Planned Breaks
Taking breaks from work allows you to maintain your endurance and focus the whole day. Make sure your breaks are planned with intentional timing to avoid wasting time on a “boredom break.” A popular technique is the Pomodoro method: work for 25-minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Some people struggle breaking their focus that often, try a 50-minute work span and 10-minute break ratio if that’s you. Make sure your breaks are not spent on a screen! Get up, stretch, or eat a snack to rejuvenate.
7. Don’t Forget You’re Not Alone
Working with others, or even just in their presence, makes us more feel more accountable. Working at home takes that accountability away, making work a little more challenging than usual. Try to schedule online meetings with your colleagues in the morning to bring motivation and accountability back to the team. Discuss progress and working-from-home challenges to keep collaboration high.
8. Add Variety to Your Day
Social distancing has limited our options of where we can go and what we can do. Working without the leisure options we are used to can lead to some feelings of boredom. Experiment with new cooking, a new type of exercise, or a new creative side project. Adding variety to your day will preserve your motivation to work. A current internet trend that is easy to try is dalgona coffee! Whip 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of hot water until soft peaks form. Add the whip to hot milk for a new and interesting take on coffee!
9. Go Outside
Spending time outside during a short break or your grander off-time improves your health and mood, making you ready to be as productive as possible. The stress-relief effects of spending time outdoors are especially beneficially during these trying times. Outside doesn’t have to be a secluded forest far away from home. Spending time sitting and admiring your back yard or a walk around the block will do.
10. Know When To Sign Off
At the end of the day and at the end of the week, know when to sign off. It can be tempting to work late into the night when you’re already at home. Working from home takes away the clear separation between personal and professional time. You can work through this problem by deciding your assigned work hours ahead of time. Make sure you stop answering emails and leave your laptop in your work area once the end of the day comes. It’s also important to give yourself days off. Plan your days off ahead of time to prevent burn out and compromising your later projects.
At the end of the day, you’re not in this alone and you possess the skills you need to successfully work from home. Working from home is as simple as a prepared workspace and a prepared membership manager coming together! Member365 is here to help along the way.