Working from home is the new normal for much of the world right now. Many of you may have dreamed about this before when dragging your butts out of the apt at 8 AM to catch the crowded subway. However, suddenly, this is a not so glamorous forced reality. As someone who has spent the last year learning how to productively work from home, I wanted to pass along a few tips that have helped me. And remember, this is a process that takes time. Be kind to yourself!
1) Get your technology up and running.
First things first, we can’t work from home without our devices. Take a look at what you have and how it’s working. Do you need to download some additional programs? Get a range extender for your wifi? Clear space on your laptop so it runs more efficiently? Get your ducks in a row before you settle in. This will save time in the long run.
2) Curate a workspace.
It’s tempting but DO NOT work from your bed. I repeat DO NOT work from your bed. Make sure you have a designated workspace. I like to set up a candle, a plant, and a few other things to get the feng shui going. This does not need to be something fancy, just do what you can to create an atmosphere that promotes productivity.
3) Make a realistic schedule and stick to it.
I think a common mistake when people work from home is they don’t create a schedule. I write out everything I plan to do every day down to the half-hour. This includes lunch, when I’m going to scroll on Instagram, etc. Everyone is different, but for me the more defined my schedule is, the more likely I am to complete my daily tasks. Another thing that people do is assume that they can get more done at home because they are no longer commuting, grabbing coffee at the shop, talking to coworkers, etc. While technically this is true, there are other distractions that come with working at home. Do your best to create a realistic schedule and continue to tweak it every day based on your productivity and patterns.
4) No PJs.
You don’t need to get dressed to the nines – but at least change out of your pajamas. A lot of people say that professional dress creates the best work. Frankly, I think that defeats one of the huge perks of working from home… COMFORT!! Consider wearing leggings, a comfy sweater, or athleisure wear. The simple act of changing from your pajamas to day wear indicates to the mind and body it’s time to get to work!
5) Be mindful of what distracts you.
When you start working from home, you will get distracted. It is inevitable. For me, I would be writing an email and then all of a sudden I’d be plucking my eyebrows. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! I’d ask myself. Be kind to yourself in these moments and make note of where your weaknesses are in terms of distraction. You can watch out for these in the future, or even build them into your schedule.
6) Leave some time at the end of the day to finish things that didn’t get done.
Because it’s likely that you will get distracted, factor that into your schedule. I like to add in an additional 30 minutes at the end of my workday to wrap things up that I didn’t get to complete. This helps me end the day in a positive headspace as I check things off my to-do list.
7) A good chair will do you wonders.
Back to comfort….what are you sitting on? A mushy couch? A chair that’s too hard or the wrong height? Take some extra time to make sure you are SITTING yourself up for success 😉
8) Air circulation is key.
If you have access to windows, don’t forget to open them. Get that airflow. Even if it’s cold out, a whiff of fresh air can do wonders for mind stimulation.
9) Take a normal lunch hour.
If you can, consider eating away from your computer and workspace. I like to make lunch and do something fun like call a friend or read an article. Taking breaks is KEY.
10) Make time for yourself.
It’s not all about WORK when you work from home. This may sound contradictory but it’s true. Stop working at a certain time everyday and do things for yourself. Try meditation, a workout, or a new recipe. Do something that makes your soul sing so that when you sit down again tomorrow to work, you feel nourished and ready to go.