Top 10 Work From Home Tips
I’ve been working from home for a while now. I am used to it and I know how to handle the distractions, but there might be some of you struggling to focus. Is that you? Are you having trouble staying productive at home? Do NOT worry. I have you covered in this post. I’m sharing a couple of key tips to help you stay on track!
If you missed it, I did a video here on how to deal with anxiety during this surreal time.
#1 | Keep The Same Hours
This seems like a no brainer. But when you work from home, it’s really easy for your work to bleed into your personal life. If you usually work 9am to 5pm, then keep doing that.
#2 | Stick To Routines
That being said, you have to make sure you keep up with some sort of morning AND evening routines. If you usually have coffee before you wash your face and get dressed, keep doing that. Don’t wake up at 8:55 am if you normally get to work at 9 am. Plan to start your day at the same time as you normally do. For your afternoon routine, try to designate the last 15-30 minutes of your workday to one task, and then do something immediately after. For example, answer emails for 15 minutes, sign off, and then take the dog out, do some yoga, or make yourself a snack. The key is to keep a sense of normalcy and be able to distance yourself from work.
Note: If your routine usually involves going to the gym, I shared some of my favorite at-home workout apps in this post.
#3 | Hours Of Productivity
Think about the times in the day that you are most productive and do your most daunting tasks during that time. If you’re wired right after your first cup of coffee, get to work then! Most of us are tired in the afternoons. That’s a great time to schedule any calls you may have. They’ll keep you more awake and on schedule while getting you through the lull of the day.
#4 | Other People In Your Space
You might be working from home with your spouse and/or kids. This can be really difficult. You have to set expectations with the people you’re working around now. If you work better without noise, but your spouse loves to listen to music, communicate that and come up with a way for you to both get what you like. You spouse can wear headphones, you can go into the other room, or he/she can listen to music while you’re doing things like making lunch or taking breaks.
With kids…it’s a little harder…
- You can try hanging red and green paper on the door so the kids know when they can come in (green) and cannot (red) disturb their parents. For example, red would be used if you’re on a conference call while green could be used while you’re answering emails.
- Know the power of a mute button. If you’re on a call, use that mute button so the call isn’t disrupted by kiddos in the background.
- Use nap time or school work time to your advantage (if your little ones still take naps).
- Boredom Room – You’ve probably heard them say “I’m bored” a million times. Create a place in your home that’s the boredom room or space. It should have coloring books, crafts, toys, etc. When they say they’re bored, ask them to find something to busy themselves with there.
- Try not to lose it. Understanding is key! Don’t have unrealistic expectations of having the perfect routine down with the kids.
#5 | Noise
If you’re the kind of person that likes to work with music, create a playlist that will match your tasks. When you’re trying to quickly get through a task, play some music that pumps you up and make your mind work faster! If you need to relax and really think about an issue, play something that calms you and won’t take your attention away from the task at hand. If you’re more of a white noise person, turn on the TV at a low volume with a channel that won’t distract you (think history channel versus news or reality tv shows).
#6 | Breaks
Taking breaks is so important so you don’t get burnt out or frustrated. But don’t take too many breaks or you will be easily distracted. If you can, schedule out your breaks. For example, when you’ll have your afternoon coffee, when you’ll eat lunch, when to take a walk around the block, when to have a snack, when to let the dog out, etc. If you have a short break for lunch, meal prep the night before if you can.
#7 | Plan The Day
Along the same lines, you should try to plan your day out. Knowing what you’ll be working on all day helps keep you on track. Some people enjoy time blocking. That’s when you schedule out your day hour by hour. Another great tool is this time cube. You can set it for 5, 15, 30, or 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, it’s time to move to the next thing on your to-do list.
Note: Another great way to set time for yourself is by using the laundry. It’s a built-in timer that you can use to stay on track!
#8 | Dedicated Office Space
If you’re lucky enough to have a workspace, there are a few things you can do to make it a more productive space…
- Make it your own by adding personal touches that bring you joy like a picture of your family, a little plant, etc.
- Declutter so you don’t have added distractions
- Avoid extra cushy seats that will make you too comfortable. You still want to be alert.
Note: If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, my biggest tip is to avoid working on the couch or in bed! Those are your spaces to relax and you should keep it that way!
#9 | Talk To People
Email communication is fine but we still need actual human communication. Make a point to call, Zoom or FaceTime someone…coworker, friend, family members. If you’re a manager, make sure you touch base with people on your team via Zoom or Skype calls. I have a weekly call on Mondays with my team.
#10 | Avoid Social Media
Social media is a huge distractor! My tip is to act like you’re in the office. If you were in the office, would you be on Instagram as much as you are at home? Hopefully not! Limit distractions like social media by charging your phone on the other side of the room or logging out of all social accounts on your computer. That way, you’ll have to actively and consciously make the decision to log in and scroll. If your job involves social media…ignore this tip. Just try to stay off your personal accounts.
Bonus Tip | Make The Best Of It
If you don’t normally work from home, now is the time to do something you didn’t usually have time for. If you’ve always wanted to bake fresh bread for your family, do it! Want to try that new fitness app, try it! You have more time and freedom now to do those things.
Do you have any work from home tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments!
Thank you for stopping by…