I’ve been working from home for more than three years. And for many of you, this is week one. Get ready, because it’s definitely a change and one that took me a lot of getting used to. But I’ve definitely learned some productive working from home tips; and thought it would be helpful to share them with you. Granted for you working mamas and caretakers out there, it typically doesn’t include also trying to full-time parent and home school at the same time, but we will all get through this.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is a challenging, uncertain time with the coronvirus. We can only control what we can control. So control your safety and those around you (i.e. stay home, don’t go to crowded places, wash hands often and for long enough, don’t touch your face, everything all the experts are saying).
Productive Working From Home Tips
Create a dedicated work space. It’s going to be a while. You moving your laptop from area to area or working on your bed, isn’t going to cut it in the long run. Trust me. Even if you need to pack it up each night, try your best to find a dedicated space that’s just yours where you can focus, keep your to-do list out in front of you (I live by my to-do list), your calendar or whatever else you need.
Set normal hours. This one has taken me years and likely will be more challenging, at least initially with the coronavirus and if you have kids at home, however try your best to start and end at a consistent time. You need it, and if you have clients or those who rely on you, you’re training them to know your availability. For sure, sometimes I have deadlines and head back to the computer after the kiddos are in bed, but even for my own sanity, I’ve tried to really crank it out during the set hours.
Get dressed. You’re definitely not going to do this for a few days. Trust me, I get it. The joy of working in your pajamas is a real thing. But, I have learned over the years that changing into “real clothes” or even just out of your pajamas helps shift your brain for the work day. I’d be fine for a few hours and then 11ish would hit and I’d honestly feel a slump. I immediately always regret not getting ready at the start of the day. Don’t be me.
Move your phone away. Seriously, biggest tip here! Your phone is your biggest distraction. You go to check something “real quick,” and somehow 20 minutes has gone by as you’re scrolling through Instagram or Target or remembered that Amazon order you need to make. Anyone with me? Whenever I’m on a real deadline, I keep the phone out of arms reach. It helps!
Carve out time to move and talk to others. Give yourself breaks to go to get moving (I often workout during my lunch break or at 5 pm), make quick lunch plans at your favorite fast-casual spot (not currently, but in general) or even go to a friend’s house for a quick bite, or invite someone over. Call someone or Facetime them — try doing that during lunch, like a virtual lunch date! Moving your body gives you energy, and chatting and seeing others also can pump you up and make you feel more connected.
Ignore the mess (and the kitchen). I would really struggle with this but have gotten so much better over time. Laundry or little chores only get done during breaks, not just on the way from the bathroom. Those detours can eat up chunks of time. Hitting up the kitchen for bored snacking is another tough one for me, so avoid the area all together if you can. I also keep some gum and mints on my desk, and a bottle of water so I gravitate to that before mindlessly wandering into the kitchen.
Figure out what works for you. All the advice in the world can be great, however if you do your best work in your bed with your airpods blasting crazy music, you do you. If you’re a parent and prefer to spend a chunk of time with the kiddos and can crank out your work in the evening after they’ve gone to bed, go for it. This situation is not changing anytime soon, so invest the time to really figure this out. Trust me, I waited way too long to do that and it never helped me be as productive as I would have liked.
Do you have any productive working from home tips that you’d like to share? If so, let me know in a comment below!